Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Pad See (not) Ew

I had a bit of a poxy day today, so I opted for one of my favourite comfort foods: simple Thai style noodles.

Easy to make and easy to eat, using a mix of storecupboard and cheap fresh ingredients. I do like the proper Thai flat rice noodles, but I've done this with ordinary, plain dried Asian style noodles before and it's been fine.

First things first: put the noodles in a bowl with boiling hot water to soak for 15 minutes. 

Then cut up the veg and put them to one side, I do the veg first so I can reuse the chopping board for the chicken, without having to do more than wipe it down in between.

There are three clusters of veg, the base (garlic, onion and a stick of celery if you have one) all diced, the sliced greens (spring greens, cabbage, spinach, whatever) and the sprinklings - red chilli, spring onion and coriander. 

Now move onto the chicken. Dice up a couple of chicken breasts or four thighs (off the bone) into big chunks and toss in cornflour. Sounds like a pain in the bum but it is absolutely worth it, trust me! 

Heat up a frying pan with some oil until it is hot hot hot, then lay the chicken peices in it. Don't move them, don't stir, just leave them be until the underside is properly coloured brown, then turn them over and leave them again until cooked. Then pop them on a plate to one side.

Seriously: that dusting of cornflour and hands-off cooking in a hot pan makes the difference between dry, chewy chicken and moist, juicy chicken. If you're going to spend good money buying a beautiful, good quality, happy-lifed chicken then it's definitely worth spending a few extra minutes getting the absolute best out of it. 

Around this time you probably want to drain the noodles.

So, now pop the base veg and a big fat dollop of grated ginger into the same pan and stir fry until almost fully cooked, then add the greens and a tiny spot of water (you don't want to fry the greens so they're crispy, so a half steam action is the trick). Throw in two tablespoons of light soy sauce, one of dark, a few squirts of nam pla (fish sauce) and a tablespoon of sugar. 

Once the veg is cooked add in the noodles and mix them up, then the chicken and finally the sprinklings.

Top with crushed, dry roasted peanuts, eat with a contented smile on your face and dream of being on holiday in Thailand, instead of back at work tomorrow.

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