Hi there, it’s Tina from the Choosy Beggars acting as your host for today. When Michelle asked us if we wanted to do a guest post on TNS, my first thought was, “Of course! What fun! Absotively!!” You will note that I have immediately identified myself as the kind of person who says, “What fun” and “absotively.” In the same sentence.
Needless to say, my second thought was complete and unadulterated panic because although I’m never quite sure what insane fodder is going to come out of my mouth until it does (and I’m suddenly surrounded by silence and five pairs of blinking eyes on nonplussed faces), I’m not…well, I’m not Michelle.
I can count on one hand the sum total of cuss-words on our site. All of them from Mike, naturally, and the number would likely be doubled if he didn’t make the mistake of letting me proof his posts once in a dog’s year. There was one time that I was overwhelmed with disdain about something and wrote the word (shite). I still feel a bit guilty about that. Oh yes, that and referring to Bob Blumer as a maelstrom of douchebaggery. I certainly don’t feel guilty about *that*.
My point is that, as a guest, I am desperately afraid that I’ll spend the next three paragraphs speaking frankly and passionately about the merits of food safety when making meringue, or the subtle but important differences between a microplane and regular box grater, and you’ll all be so disillusioned by the sudden change in content that you’ll tab away and vow never to return and poor Michelle, who is truly a jewel of entertainment, will face a debilitating downward spiral of plummeting stats that eventually get so depressing she avers that her days of writing this blog are done and somehow in this awful world of failure the only thing on TV is a re-run episode of The Barefoot Contessa and my pantry is full of Vienna sausages and marshmallow fluff MIRACLE WHIP, and it’s all my fault for having pseudo-neuroses and an inability to write articles that won’t bore the bejeezus out of you. *Deep breath*
Okay, so fuck that donkey whore of a shit eating introduction and let’s get to some bitchin’ summer rolls. But before we do, can I interest you in a brief history of hand held grating devices….?
Pad Thai Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce
Serves 6-8 skinny bitches as a light lunch, or 4 drunky diddlers as a late night snack
Pad Thai Summer Rolls
- 200 g (4 small bundles) thin rice vermicelli noodles
- 1/4 cup dried tamarind + 1/4 cup boiling water
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbsp cold water
- 2 fat cloves garlic
- 2 juicy limes
- 2 tbsp + 2 tsp fish sauce, divided
- 2 tbsp soya sauce
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 – 2 tsp sriracha chili sauce *
- 1 – 1.5 lb cooked jumbo shrimp (at least 16 – 20 pieces)
- 2 cups bean sprouts
- 1 red pepper
- small bunch cilantro
- 2 green onions
- 16-20 large (8″) rice paper wrappers
- 3/4 cup unsweetened peanut butter **
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 3 tbsp soya sauce
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 3 tsp chili garlic sauce (or 1 clove garlic + 1-2 tsp sriracha, to taste)
- 1 lime (1/2 tsp zest + juice of whole)
* If you don’t have sriracha chili sauce you can use your favorite hot blooded chili sauce…even if the best you can do is Tabasco. I don’t judge. Just be sure to monitor how much you add according to how hot it tastes.
** I bought sugar-free and additive free 100% Kraft peanut butter, thinking it would be….you know, Kraft peanut butter. Instead it was the Exxon Valdez of condiments, as pure peanut butter is known to be, and Mike (who can generally go through a jar of PB in about 2 days, further convincing people that I never feed him) has been glowering balefully at the poor jar for the last four months. So, hey – no time like the present to use it up in mass quantities!
Preheat your oven to 375ºC. Pour one tablespoon of oil into an 8×8″ square baking dish and tuck it in the center of the oven to heat for at least 15 minutes while you get a start on preparing the other ingredients.
To make the peanut sauce, put the peanut butter, fish sauce, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, sugar and OJ into a smallish pot set over medium low heat. Add the zest of 1/4 lime (about a heaping half teaspoon).
Whisk the sauce regularly as it starts to heat through. There is always an uncomfortable period of time when you’re doing this, and it happens when the peanut butter is getting whisked through but has not yet combined and you’ll see greasy brown threads clotting in the sauce. Fear not and soldier on through, because when the sauce is heated and the PB liquefies all will be right in the world once more.
See? I told you it would all come out in the wash. Remember that the sauce will thicken as it cools, so if it looks a bit too thick you can whisk in a tablespoon or two of water as you see fit.
Put the dried tamarind in a smallish bowl and pour the boiling water over top. And please, spare me the side bar. I know exactly what this picture looks like, but Bill Cosby is totally going to sue your sorry ass if you keep that shit up.
(It might be worth noting, at this point, that in an effort to loosen my tongue and avoid waxing poetic about the when to use dried tamarind versus liquid tamarind pulp, I am working my way through a 20 of vodka while I write this post. I’m doing it for YOU. Mostly.)
Let the tamarind soak for 20-30 minutes or until it starts to look a little bit…I don’t know, loose. We’ve all spent a night at the home of “No Flushing After 9pm”, so I’m sure you know what I’m taking about. Now close your eyes, grit your teeth, and start to work the tamarind into the water, rubbing and squeezing, until the pulp grows thick in the water and the seeds scatter down below. Now wipe that smirk off your face and try to pretend that you didn’t enjoy doing it, even just a little bit. But please don’t look in my eye and lick your fingers afterwards, because that might be more than I can bear.
Pour the contents through a wire mesh strainer and work the pulp/seeds with a spoon to extract as much juice as possible. Don’t forget to scrape the bottom of the strainer when you’re done because that’s where the flavor is. Yes, ‘the flavor’ is stuck to the bottom of a mesh strainer and if you squint closely you will also see the outline of the Baby Jesus. True story.
Put the vermicelli noodles into a large bowl and pour super hot (but not boiling) water over top. Let the noodles steep and soak for 3-5 minutes until they are tender but not mushy or soft.
Immediately drain the noodles through a colander or mesh strainer and set them off to the side. No need to give them a cold shower for this recipe! Hygiene is for chumps anyway.
In a small saucepan heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium high heat. Mince the garlic very finely and add it to the hot pan. Let the garlic sizzle for just a minute or two (be careful that it doesn’t brown) before pouring in the rice vinegar, soya sauce, two tablespoons of fish sauce and the brown sugar. Add the chili sauce to taste (and by that I mean “add 2 tsp of sriracha, unless your name is Sally. In that case, one will do…”) and whisk it until everything is evenly combined. Squeeze in the juice of about 1.5 limes (3-4 tbsp of juice) and take the saucepan immediately off the heat.
Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss to combine. You might see the liquid pool in the bottom of the bowl like the noodles wet themselves during gym class, but that’s okay. Let them sit and soak, tossing them around every now and then, and the sodden strumpets will soak up everything you had on offer.
Now then, I’ve been neglecting the pan of hot oil in the stove. Whoops! Whisk the eggs with one tablespoon of water and the remaining two teaspoons of fish sauce. The pan has been heating in the oven for…ahem….’some time’ now, so it should be blistering hot. Pop it out and quickly pour your eggs inside, swirling to coat the bottom fully, and tuck it back in the oven in less time than it takes to say, “steam makes my faces hurt”.
Let the eggs cook for about 3 minutes, or just until they are puffy, set in the center and pulling away from the edges of the pan.
Carefully turn the thin egg fabric out onto a cutting board and slice it in half. Layer the two halves on top of one another and cut each 8 times so you have a total of 18 strips of Thai omelet. As for the rest of the ingredients, finely mince some scallions, thinly slice the red pepper into wee little strips, and lay out the bean sprouts and well cleaned fresh cilantro.
I have a nasty little cheap-ass habit of stocking up on discount frozen shrimp rings after the holiday, which means that the cooked shrimp I use tends to veer towards the scrawny side and I need to use two per roll. However, this Christmas I scavenged half of a leftover jumbo shrimp ring from the home of my future parents-in-law when they weren’t paying attention (I dare to impress), which meant that we had nice big ocean-roaches for these wraps. Aw, man! The rest of them po’ folks gonna be so jealous of my takins. If you have Big Daddy (in law) shrimp, slice them vertically in half and use two halves per roll.
Now for the assembly! This is the part where it is always fun to get your kids involved, because their tiny little fingers are just perfect for delicate piece work. And they know that if they wrap the summer rolls too loosely they’ll be flogged.
Fill a large shallow bowl with water which is as hot as you can stand it, preferably close to boiling (which is a good way to introduce your children to a possible future working the laundry service in the basement of a penitentiary. Yay for realistic job previews!!) and slip a rice paper wrapper inside. Turn it over and let it stand in the water for 5-10 seconds if it is very hot, or 20-30 seconds as the water starts to cool. Remove the rice paper as soon as it becomes pliable, because if you leave them too long they get flimsy and easily tear. When the water starts to get tepid pour it out and replace with fresh hot water.
Lay the wrapper flat on your work surface and put a single slice of egg on it. Cover the egg with a small handful (about 1/4 – 1/3 cup) of the Pad Thai seasoned noodles, a few thin slices of red pepper, a small mound of bean sprouts, a wee smattering of scallion and two shrimp (or 2 halves of 1 large shrimp). Lay a small stem of cilantro on top.
Tuck in the bottom and sides before rolling the beast up like a soggy taco. Holy jeepers, did I just say soggy taco? Because that’s just a despicablly horrible thought. And shit, I just said “holy jeepers”. I think it’s time for another cocktail.
Serve the Pad Thai summer rolls with a side of peanut sauce and tuck in.
Yup. Those sure are some Pad Thai summer rolls with peanut sauce.
This is one of those dishes that I make again and again, if only to say, “Screw y’all, I can TOO make an appetizer without cheese in it. OR GRAVY. But just this once…”
As an added bonus, you can grate an extra clove or two of garlic and a smattering of curry powder into any leftover peanut sauce, as it is delightful reused as a marinade for Thai peanut pork tenderloin the next night. Your guests will never know that you’re whistling while you serve them meat soaked in leftover dip, and you’ll never tell.
Summer rolls stuffed with Pad Thai seasoned noodles, Thai omelet, shrimp and vegetables. They won’t make you fat.