Posted by Sarah Lemon
Friday, April 13th, 2007
I’m sure all home cooks have been with me on this one. You stumble across something relatively simple and wonder why you weren’t doing it all along.
More than once over the past few months, I’ve given myself a mental tongue-lashing over pad Thai sauce. Why did I ever think a bottled sauce would suffice? I don’t typically buy bottled vinaigrette, preferring to make my own.
With a few tips from a friend and co-worker, some authentic products and a little experimentation, I feel like I’ve mastered the perfect peanut sauce. All-natural peanut butter, like Adams brand, is the key. I substituted peanut butter for some of the fish sauce listed in a recipe from a favorite cookbook. The fish sauce remains an absolute essential and can be purchased at many local grocery stores or Medford’s Asia Grocery Market in the Winco shopping plaza.
My recipe combines 11/2 tablespoons peanut butter (all-natural), 2 tablespoons fish sauce, 1 tablespoon each: rice-wine vinegar, oyster or Thai chili sauce and light-brown sugar; juice of 1 lime, 1/2 teaspoon jarred, minced ginger, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1/8 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder. Whisk well and pour over sauteed vegetables and rice noodles that have been soaked in boiling water.
Last night, I used collard greens, leeks, bean sprouts and Chinese black mushrooms in my pad Thai. This recipe makes about a half-cup of sauce, enough for two servings. If you like more sauce, consider doubling it. Note that most packages of rice noodles will make four servings.
I’m not touting this as a stand-in for local restaurant versions of pad Thai. But it works for my taste buds. Try it and tell me what you think.