Thai Cooking Question
June 15, 2005 7:45 PM   Subscribe

I cooked Pad Thai tonight and the results weren't what I had hoped for.... The dish was tasty enough, but the rice stick noodles were very sticky/gummy.... Any cooks out there fimilar with what I may have fouled up?
posted by keep it tight to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds like perhaps you over-cooked the noodles. In most cases, they don't need to be boiled -- just set in very hot water for a little while.
posted by 5MeoCMP at 7:51 PM on June 15, 2005

Stir the noodles as soon as you put them in the water. Keep stirring here and there for the next 10 min. The method of putting oils in the water to prevent sticking is unnecessary. Stirring well has always worked for me. If you already did this or it doesn't help later, my apologies. Also, put the sauce on ASAP as to reduce the nasty coating rice noddles get when they begin to dry.
posted by Viomeda at 7:56 PM on June 15, 2005

i avoid this problem by stirring frequently, not draining all the water out, and then immediately adding the sauce. if you add oil before you add the sauce it will prevent the sauce from penetrating the noodles.
posted by paradroid at 8:05 PM on June 15, 2005

The answers to this question I asked about preparing pad thai will help out.
posted by melissa may at 8:08 PM on June 15, 2005

Another way to do it is to stop the noodles from cooking by running them under cold water, then tossing them in the sauce and veggies/chicken in a saute pan. That way everything is hot and the noodles shouldn't get gummy.

I am guessing that the stickiness has more to do with the noodles overcooking than them sticking together, and I don't think the oil will take care of that.
posted by jonah at 8:11 PM on June 15, 2005

Soak the dried noodles in cold water, not hot. It takes longer for them to soften (like a couple of hours), but they'll never stick or go gluggy. It doesn't really add to your prep time - just drop them in a bowl and cover them in the afternoon so you're ready to go come dinner time.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:37 PM on June 15, 2005

The reason most home attempts at fried rice, fried noodles or anything else stir fried turn out soggy is because consumer stoves (especially electric) are bloody feeble. Walk into the kitchen of an authentic asian restaurant and the LPG stoves will seem more like upturned jet exhausts. The massive heat allows the cook to sear the food quickly rather than boil it into a mush.

To achieve the same consistency at home with fried rice or noodles, you either:

a) fry a small batch (maybe two servings at most) at a time on maximum heat so that the SPSSHHHHHH sizzling sound never dies down. There should NEVER be water pooling in the pan, even if it looks like only a teaspoon full.

b) refrigerate cooked rice or cooked noodles the night before and throw it in after everything else is half cooked.
posted by randomstriker at 9:12 PM on June 15, 2005 [1 favorite]

Ok. I took a cooking class in Thailand and learned how to do this. What you need to do is first, remember that this is a fried dish. So, you're cooking everything together in a wok, right? Or at least a large frying pan. You're cooking the meat or tofu (if you're a veggie like me) on medium heat in oil. You toss the noodles on there dry, and add water (about 1:1, though I eyeball it more than measure). You fry the noodles until they're moist and most of the water is gone from the pan, and that's when you add sugar, tamarind and oyster sauce (or in my case, soy sauce), so that the mix can be taken up by the noodles. After that's dried out a bit, lower the heat and toss the beansprouts in. On the other side of the wok, fry the egg ("like a thin omlette" is what the coursepack/cookbook says) and then flip the noodles and everything under and around so that the egg comes out on top (takes practice).
That's how you make sure your noodles come out right.
posted by klangklangston at 10:35 PM on June 15, 2005

In general stickiness or gooiness in a pasta dish is the result of not enough water being used when the pasta is boiled. You need enough water to dilute the glutens that are released by the pasta when boiled. This is also why pasta sticks together and why oil in the water doesn't really help. The easy solution is to boil pasta in as big a pot as you have.
posted by spicynuts at 6:35 AM on June 16, 2005

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