Help with making Pad Thai, please
I have a recipe for Pad Thai that I haven't used in several years, but I've dusted it off and I'm preparing it tonight. But I have a few questions. My own handwritten notes indicate I can substitute "dried, spiced tofu" for the pickled red tofu in the printed recipe. I found a package of dried tofu at my local Asian grocery, but I don't know how to reconstitute it or how to spice it.
Next question -- my recipe calls for "flat rice noodles, called 'Chantaboon noodles' from Thailand." The noodles I bought are flat rice noodles but the package is labeled "Banh Pho." Is there a difference? Did I buy the wrong noodles? My recipe says to soak the noodles in hot water for 15 minutes, or until soft; the instructions on the package I bought says to boil them for 6-8 minutes until soft. Given that I'll use the noodles I have, should I follow the instructions on the package, or should I follow the instructions in my recipe? Thanks for your help.
The noodles are fine - soak them as others suggested and don't boil. Chantaburi is a province in Eastern Thailand which is known for it's yummy rice noodles. But any thin rice noodle will work. It's usually easiest to get those Pho noodles from Viet Nam.
All the street vendors here in Bangkok don't use spiced tofu. They use what's called yellow tofu:
It doesn't have any spices that I'm aware of. It's firm - so get the extra firm kind and drain it well. If it's not that firm, you can pre-fry it to get it hard enough.
You can use the bahn Pho noodles and they will work perfectly fine for Pad Thai. The cooking instructions are for Pho, the Vietnamese soup. To use for Pad Thai, just soak the noodles in hot watter for 15 minutes, and they will soften up just fine. They will be a little "al dente" but stir frying them will soften them up even more so no worries there. As far as the tofu goes, I can't help you there. When I make mine, I go with the firmest fresh tofu I can find, and wrap it in a towel and put a weight over it to squeeze out any additional liquid. That has always worked great for me.
For spice, I stir fry my tofu with some sriracha and fish sauce, and minced garlic.
Those are the right noodles. I never have boiled them. They need only to be soaked in hot water. They should still have a little bite to them when they hit your wok, as you'll continue cooking them there.
I suspect the tofu should be spiced before drying, but I've never used dried tofu or pickled tofu in my pad thai, so I can't help, sorry.
The noodles I buy for Pad Thai are soaked in hot water so you probably got the wrong ones. Given all of the delicious flavors that go into a Pad Thai recipe, I wouldn't worry. I'm sure the noodles will be good. Doesn't the tofu have directions on the package? Just try soaking it until the consitency seems right. You'll be fine.