Text by Daeha Ko
Photos by Casey Kelbaugh and Daeha Ko
Natalie Croker, our adventurous new Slideluck intern, journeyed on a quest by bicycle into NYC’s Chinatown today, looking for the ingredients to make David Abraham’s “Famous Golden Mount Pad Thai”. Along the way she survived trucks barreling through narrow streets, taxi doors swinging into bike lanes, and ornery NYC cyclists.
At first, all there seemed to be were souvenir shops, hocking the usual variety of waving cats, baby buddha statues, and other plastic things you will probably never need. After a few inquiries about peeled shrimp and scallions with the bemused store owners, we were directed to Mulberry Street with its abundance of markets.
Inside New Hai Cang Sea Food the search began in earnest and Natalie quickly knocked items off the list- Thai rice noodles, tamarind juice and dried shrimp. Some things are easy to find at your local Asian supermarket!
After a quick break of refreshing coconut water, we continued to hunt for the last ingredient, dried salted turnips. This proved to be more difficult than anticipated, as shopkeepers didn’t understand what we were asking for. Perhaps given time, everyone would have come to a happy understanding- but with the clock ticking and a hungry Slideluck staff waiting, Natalie decided to make do without and bicycled back to the Slideluck office.
Back in the Slideluck kitchen, Natalie assuming the role of head chef, directing fellow staffers over the preparation of all ingredients. A flurry of chopping, boiling, frying, roasting, soaking, mixing commenced as our bellies grumbled and wonderful aromas began to fill the Slideluck office- roasted peanuts, sauted garlic, fresh and dried shrimp. A garnish of lime and cilantro later, it was done. Though exhausted, everyone involved felt a sense of pride over David’s Golden Mount Pad Thai!
The Slideluck staff feasted on our tasty rewards out on the office balcony, enjoying the warmth of a beautiful spring afternoon. All compliments to our wonderful chef! The feast concluded with a surprise birthday party for Global Producer Suchan Vodoor, celebrated with waffle cookies topped with mint chip, ginger and hazelnut ice cream. Golden indeed!
David Abraham’s Famous Golden Mount Pad Thai
1/2 lb rice noodles
1-2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
2-3 tablespoons shallots or scallion base
1/2 teaspoons ground dried chili peppers
5-6 tablespoons tamarind juice
5 tablespoons coarsely ground peanuts (get unsalted, but roasted or roast yourself)
2-3 tablespoons sugar (white, brown, or coconut)
2-3 tablespoons dried salted turnip (optional, but recommended)
12-14 fresh shrimp (optional)
12-16 ounces of cubed firm tofu
2 cups bean sprouts
4 teaspoons fish sauce
1-2 cups scallions or leak
1/4-1/2 cup oil
3 lime wedges
3 sprigs coriander (optional, but pretty)
2 tablespoons dried shrimp (optional)
1) Soak noodles in warm water for about 8-10 minutes (should not be hot water i.e. boiling, but still warm)
2) Clean and peel shrimp
3) Cut tofu into centimeter cubes and fry till light brown
4) Rinse dried shrimp and fry till brown
5) If you have tamarind juice great; if not you will likely have to use a brick of dried tamarind paste. Pour about half cup of hot water on square inch piece of paste. make juice by stirring o mashing the paste in water; discard pulp
6) Soak bean sprouts in cold water
7) Cut scallions into one inch pieces (use the green portions)
8) Chop peanuts (roast them if they are not roasted–I would recommend roasting your own in the toaster’d1they take about 5-10 minutes, but they can go from white to brown quickly)
1) Heat oil on high in wok
2) Add garlic and shallots and stir constantly till browned, don’t burn
3) Add tofu, all shrimp (if cook shrimp add later with eggs), fried tofu, then stir for one to two minutes
4) Add fish sauce, chili peppers, sugar, dried salted turnip and stir for about minute
5) Add noodles, tamarind juice a little water to cook the noodles a touch, stir and then cover for about 1-2 minutes till noodles are done
6) Move noodles aside add a little oil and cook egg (optional method: cook eggs earlier in another bowl–beat eggs and then pour them into a hot skillet until it coats the pan like a crepe. Flip to cook on both sides. Two eggs makes about two crepes depending on size of pan. Slice cooked egg crepe into small pieces and add to pad thai at this stage)
7) Add bean sprouts and scallions after eggs are done, stir until mixed.
8) Add fish sauce and sugar to taste
9) Place on serving plate and garnish with peanuts, coriander and lime. Serves three.