Phad Thai- Successfully

A few weeks ago we got together with our gourmand friends for another fabulous dinner.

This time the theme for the menu was Asian style. Our hosts had traveled extensively in Thailand and Vietnam and learned some cooking tricks they were anxious to pass on and share with us.

They had authentic recipes, ingredients, tools and methods to apply to our evening of cooking and eating.

The meal was made even more special by using a set of hand made Vietnamese pottery dinnerware.

My assignment for the evening was to make Phad Thai. My older kids and I attempted to make Phad Thai once and we failed miserably. I know now that the reason was the lack of proper cooking tools. It just did not work to make this dish in my largest skillet. It absolutely needs a wok to come out right. Thankfully our hostess had several woks.
I spent a good amount of time assembling the mise en place for the Phad Thai. The dish cooks up very quickly and it's most important to have everything measured out and ready ahead of time.

I think another reason the first attempt at Phad Thai with my kids was unsuccessful was because we did not have this....tamarind...which is an important flavor component to the dish.

My friend has a whole arsenal of Asian flavors in her kitchen.

For this dinner she sent me to a large Asian market in the big city to pick up a few things. It was my first time in an Asian market and I found it quite interesting.

I followed her instructions and used her authentic tools. The peanuts were crushed properly and not just chopped with a knife or whirred in a food processor. This was part of the fun of the whole cooking experience!

This Phad Thai was made with firm tofu but it could also be made with chicken. The whole dish was cooked in a well used wok.

I've only cooked tofu a few times in my life and this was the best result I've ever had.

Phad Thai is a great meal for anyone staying away from gluten. It is made with a rice noodle that is easy to prepare.

The sauce is cooked quickly in the wok and includes the oil left from cooking the tofu, lime juice, vinegar, tamarind juice, soy sauce, garlic and palm sugar. Then the noodles are added and cooked very quickly. The whole cooking process takes less than ten minutes.

Fresh ingredients are then tossed in, green onions, bean sprouts, cilantro and the peanuts.

I was thrilled to learn how to make this. It is so easy to make this healthy dish when you have the right things on hand. The flavors were perfect! It tasted just like any Phad Thai I've had in restaurants.

Our whole meal and evening was wonderful. It started off with a delicious Vietnamese soup followed by grilled prawns. The Phad Thai was accompanied by a delightful cashew chicken (on rice, but I like mine without) and long beans with pork.

Another adventurous dinner in which I learned something new. As soon as it was over we all started looking forward to the next one.