This is another dish that won’t make it into the next “Small Foods” book. I can’t think of anyway to make it in a ramekin.
We Love Pad Thai, the Thai rice noodle dish which can be made with chicken, tofu or shrimp, or all of these. But we’re very wary of the big carbohydrate load that rice noodles carry. So we try not to have it very often. A friend of ours made a salad once with sliced zucchini in it and it gave me the idea of replacing the noodles with zucchini. The trick is to cook them at the end of the dish and very quickly. If you cook them too long they just turn to mush instead of noodles. I like to add some chicken broth at the end and one of those chicken broth flavor boost packets. The flavor boost is like super chicken, well worth searching for in your grocery store. This contains both peanuts and soy (tofu) so beware if you are allergic.
1 medium zucchini
1 Pkg. Super Firm Tofu cubed or cut into 1″ cubes.
10 or so Jumbo Shrimp shelled, deviened and tails pulled off, chopped bite size and/or 1/2 lb. chopped chicken breast.
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup red and green pepper
1 8 0z.can of bean sprouts or a cup of fresh
1 8 oz. can bamboo shoots
1 packet of sugar or Splenda (about a level Tsp.)
4 Tbs. Fish Sauce
3 Tbs. Lime Juice
1 clove Garlic chrushed
1 large pat of butter
Red Pepper Flakes
Ground Black Pepper
1/2 cup Chicken stock and Chicken boost
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup Dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup or so of chopped fresh cilantro leaves.
1 precooked rice bowl (about 2/3rds of a cup) or make a cup or two of rice ahead.
Press the tofu between a few sheets of paper towel to remove all of the water. Do the same for the shrimp.
Heat a large fry pan and cover. Put all but about a tablespoon of oil into the pan and wait a few minutes for it to heat up. Add butter and 1/2 of the garlic and whisk it around with a spoon. Then add the Tofu, shrimp and chicken. Cook on high heat stirring until everything starts to brown on both sides. Use the cover so the oil doesn’t splatter every where. Remove the Tofu, shrimp and chicken and set aside. Pour out the remaining oil and wipe the pan with a paper towel.
Remove the skin from the zucchini using a vegetable peeler. Using the vegetable peeler remove long thin strips from the zucchini until you reach the seeds. Turn the zucchini and do it again, until you have removed all of the meat. leaving the seeds. You should wind up with a good handful of zucchini (1/2 cup or so) per person. If not you need more zucchini!
Put the pan back on the stove add the remaining oil and heat it up. Scramble the egg in the oil. Add the remaining garlic, the peppers, onion and bamboo shoots. Cook until the peppers soften. Add back the meat and tofu. Then the fish sauce, lime juice, white wine and chicken stock. Add a couple of shakes of red pepper and a few shakes of black pepper. No salt, there’s tons in the fish sauce. Now add the bean sprouts, cook for a few minutes, then add the zucchini, stir and cook for a few minutes. Heat up the rice cup.
Put a tablespoon or two of rice on a plate. Place a serving of the pad thai on top, sprinkle some peanut and cilantro on top. Put a little salad on the side and serve.
This goes well with a full bodied white white like white zinfandel or a good white Burgundy. Enjoy!