Chef John Guinivere prepares this delicious dish: Nouvelle Pad Thai
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Chef John Guinivere
Nouvelle Pad Thai
The first thing about Pad Thai that’s so different is the noodles you use. You don’t want to boil these noodles, you want to soak them. You want to soak them in hot water. If you try to boil them you’re going to have a big old glob of gluck, which is no fun in the eating world. So get some nice hot water going, and we’ll soak the noodles and by the time we have everything else ready, the noodles should be ready to go in to our dish. And just like the rice, some supermarkets carry the Pad Thai noodles with the rice sticks. I haven’t seen it in a lot of stores but definitely the Asian markets have it. I can say I have one brand; well of course, this one makes a good Pad Thai.
And by no means, doing the traditional Pad Thai, mine will be a little bit different than I’ve probably had. I want to do a little bit of, some of my vegetables on the side, I going to saut? it over here and then I’m going to make my sauce over here. And my sauce is not truly traditional, but it has the essence of the flavors that we’re looking for.
This is a Japanese eggplant. And use some oil. So that’s how I take very traditional dishes and you play with them. You do something different, add different ingredients. I wish I had a little bit more oil in the eggplant. Eggplant has the tendency to just soak up the oil. Put a little bit of water in there as well. It’ll cook it a little faster for us. Eggplant is really one of those things you want—it’s not an al dente vegetable. It’s not a vegetable but it is good cooked. It’s almost better when, the more you cook an eggplant, the better it seems to be, to me.
Turn the flamer on, take out this one. Put oil on this. Turn the heat down, it’s getting cooked fairly quickly now, that’s my main concern. I’m not really concerned about any or other vegetables being undercooked. In fact I like everything else sort of on the crunchy side, so most of the other vegetables will cook on the very last second.
Very often, this dish in Thai Restaurants is served with Jasmine rice. It’s a little bit funny to serve rice with a little rice but, I love rice. Some of that cabbage, I don’t like the center of that so I’m just going to take some of the outside leaves.
Okay I’m going to peanut butter in my saut? sauce. Turn it down a little bit. Add some garlic. I haven’t put garlic on anything. The main reason I don’t do Burmese Desserts is I can’t put garlic in it, plus, I hate to measure. I don’t need I think I won’t make any cup, add some ketchup, just open. I'm going to flame down a bit. Let’s turn that off for a second, check our noodles, they’re just—we’re getting there huh? Another minute or two, they’ll be right where we want them. Just like anything else, you don’t want it to get to gloopy. And a little bit of zucchini here as well. This is a vegetarian version, I figured out after some fish and some pork, cook it a little bit lighter but by all means, Pad Thai is served with everything. Vegetables, meat, very often they’ll put chicken and shrimp and a pork or beef in the same dish. Light up a little bit, we’ll add our Savoy Cabbage, red bell peppers, we don’t want to put for too long. And also in the vegetables, very often I’ll do everything in one pot. I’m still going for two flavors here, one in the noodles and then in vegetables being a sort of a second flavor. And usually in Pad Thai, there’s something like bean sprouts or a little bit of crunch at the end, some nuts. I usually put a little cilantro on it. Cilantro I’m going to do, my renditions going to be toasted pine nuts instead. And my sauce is actually now a little bit too thick, and the only other thing I probably have to do, I’m not going to make it spicy today but, Thai food can definitely get very, very, very hot. If you like it that way, but I feel it’s better to tone it down and add a few more to spice things up and more seasonings to add than to take away.
This one’s looking pretty good. I’ll go ahead and turn on my sauce for the Pad Thai. One thing I didn’t—if you want some sweet, sugar or a little bit of honey there as well. It’s okay if you—so the water gets dragged into there because by the time this heats up, and the noodles start soaking up the sauce, it should be just right. Full heat, and these ones are pretty much the way I like them. This is about the point you want to start tossing your noodles on the sauce, so, as the noodles soften, you’ve got sauce on everything. So they're starting to get a lot softer right now. They do have the tendency to stick, so you’ve got to watch these guys. A little bit more water in there and I want a touch of oyster sauce, temperature down, and let’s toss here. Just about soft now, you can start to feel them as you toss the noodles they start sticking and become very clumpy. This is not really supposed to be a saucy dish. It’s more of a coated noodle, is what you’re looking for. And if I go any further I’ll probably going to start tangling my noodles here. Put garnish and for color, green onions, cilantro is pretty much the necessity in this dish. And aim for the center and let the vegetables fall where they may and let some of that juice that’s in the vegetables and get onto the Pad Thai, garnish with some nuts and some cilantro to get the admirable looking pieces and few onions. And there you go.