Thai Noodles

Thai Noodles (Pad Thai)

Noodles
2/3 pound dried rice stick noodles, preferably medium width
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons ground chile paste, or to taste*
6 tablespoons catsup
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce*
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup low-sodium chicken stock
3 cups bean sprouts
3 scallions, sliced into 1-inch pieces on the diagonal
1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts

* Chile paste is a thick mixture of red chiles, including seeds, ground up with vinegar and garlic. It is eaten throughout Southeast Asia. It is sold in the condiment section of Asian grocery stores.

* Fish sauce ("nuoc mam" in Vietnam and "nam pla" in Thailand)’ is the soy sauce of those countries. It adds a richness that isn’t fishy at all (although it is made from fermented anchovies). Look for it in glass bottles (denoting higher quality) in the condiment section of Asian markets.

Bring 2 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Cook noodles for 2 minutes, then rinse extremely well under cold running water. (This will ensure the noodles are clean and free of the pungent dried rice flour odor.) Drain noodles in colander and spread out to dry for at least 20 minutes. The noodles will stick together, but don’t be alarmed.

Meanwhile, heat the 2 tablespoons oil in a wok or large nonstick saucepan over moderate heat. Add garlic, shallots and chile paste and allow to sizzle until golden, about 30 seconds. Add catsup, sugar, fish sauce and salt and reduce slightly, about 1 minute. Add 2/3 cup chicken stock and reduce heat. Stirring frequently, simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove 2 tablespoons of the sauce and set aside.

Add noodles to wok and using chopsticks, gently separate the noodles. Turn often and saut? until noodles absorb all the sauce and are cooked until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add bean sprouts, scallions and peanuts and fold into the noodles. Remove from heat and set aside.

Topping
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 small yellow onion, sliced
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 pound raw medium prawns, peeled and deveined
2 cups broccoli florets, blanched, shocked in ice water and drained
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken stock

Heat the 1 tablespoon oil in another nonstick pan over moderate heat. Add yellow onion and garlic and saut? until soft and aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the prawns. Toss in pan until they turn opaque, about 2 minutes. Add broccoli, reserved sauce and the 1/3 cup chicken stock. Cover and cook until vegetables are thoroughly hot, another 2 minutes.

Garnishes
1/4 cup coarsely chopped roasted unsalted peanuts, optional
Fresh chopped cilantro
4 lemon wedges

To serve, portion noodles onto individual dinner plate and top with the prawns and broccoli stir-fry. Garnish with peanuts, cilantro and lemon wedges.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 540 calories, 16 grams fat, 84 grams carbohydrates, 17 grams protein, 81 milligrams cholesterol, 1,556 milligrams sodium, 27 percent of calories from fat