Culinary globetrotter enjoying the rice noodles of south east Asia in one of its most recognised dishes and visiting how the product is made ...
A beautiful healthy dish ..I love eating and cooking it !! I discovered this in the streets of Bangkok ..so I needed to explore how the noodles is made
This Pad Thai recipe is how you actually find it in Bangkok and comes from testing hundreds of different variations from food carts all over the city. Pad Thai is the ultimate street food. While "street food" may sound bad, food cart cooks are in such a competitive situation, with such limited space, ingredients and tools they need to specialize in a dish or two just to stay in business. The best of these cooks have cooked the same dish day-after-day, year-after-year, constantly perfecting it.
1/2 banana flower Optional
1-1/3 cup bean sprouts Optional
1-1/2 cup Chinese chives Optional
4 teaspoons fish sauce
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground dried chili pepper
2 tablespoons peanuts Optional
1 tablespoon preserved turnip Optional
1 minced shallots
1/2-1/4 lb shrimp Optional
2 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
1/2 package Thai rice noodles
1/3 cup extra firm tofu
2 tablespoon cooking oil
By far, the trickiest part is the soaked noodles. Noodles should be somewhat flexible and solid, not completely expanded and soft. When in doubt, undersoak. You can always add more water in the pan, but you can't take it out.
Shrimp can be substituted or omitted.
In this recipe, pre-ground pepper, particularly pre-ground white pepper is better than fresh ground pepper. For kids, omit the ground dried chili pepper.
Tamarind adds some flavor and acidity, but you can substitute white vinegar.
The type of super firm tofu or pressed called for this recipe can be found at most oriental groceries in a plastic bag, not in water. Some might be brown from soy sauce, but some white ones are also available. Pick whatever you like.
If you decide to include banana flower, cut lengthwise into sections (like orange sections). Rub any open cut with lime or lemon juice to prevent it from turning dark.
The original Pad Thai recipe calls for crushed roasted peanuts. Thailand is hot and humid and storage conditions are often sub-optimal, so a certain fungus can grow on peanuts. This fungus is linked to cancer, so many people in Thailand avoid eating peanuts.
One of the big challenges with Pad Thai's measurements is that the flavor densities and characteristics of the 3 core flavor ingredients: fish sauce, tamarind and lime juice vary greatly from brand to brand and purchase to purchase. Plus the salt content of your fish sauce, dried shrimp and preserved turnips will likely differ from ours. You will need to taste this as you're making it and keep the 3 flavors, salty, sweet and sour, in balance to your liking.
Photography By:Chef Nicholas Anderson for www.culinaryglobetrotter.com
Despite the common belief, there is no single "Thai chili pepper" though most candidates for the title are small in size and high in heat or pungency. There are at least 79 separate varieties of chili that have appeared from three species in Thailand. While the names of chili peppers are often "hotly" debated and therefore in a volatile state of flux the world over, some would say that there is particular confusion when the subject comes around to Thai peppers.
Prik num or "banana peppers," for instance, also resemble a New Mexican pepper, and they are also grown in Kashmir, India, and thus are also known as Kashmir peppers. Further confusion arises because the Kashmir is ALSO known as the Sriracha, a name associated with the famous sauce originally made from these peppers in the Thai seaside town of the same name.
Oddly, the peppers now featuring in the sauce known around the world as Sriracha are red Serrano peppers! At least in agricultural terms, we specify that two types of chili peppers grow for harvest in Thailand: the prik khee nu or "bird pepper" and the prik khee fah or plain "chili pepper."
Whatever the case regarding names, Thai chili peppers usually turn up ground from fresh to add heat to curry pastes for very spicy dishes and for very colorful dishes at the same time - the traditional Thai cook being as interested in presentation as the traditional Japanese cook, for instance, and therefore garnishing hot dishes with a pleasing array of hot peppers.
Thai chili peppers also appear in other Asian cuisine including that of Myanmar, where they are known as nga yut thee, frequently featuring in curries, as well as in balachuang, a spicy relish never absent from any meal. Laotian cuisine utilizes similar peppers and calls them mak phet; they appear in pastes and even end up stuffed and steamed to create spicy vegetable and fish dishes.
Related peppers are also known to be favored in Cambodia, and are widespread in Vietnam where they enliven pastes and sauces, especially those with local fish flavors, of course.
By:Chef Nicholas Anderson for www.culinaryglobetrotter.com
Coming to Thailand on a budget and want a quick meal on the cheap? I want to try something different so i skip the indoor restaurants and hotel buffet because, even though they are still cheap. I'm into exploring the food that eventually i can reproduce and bring the flavors to people that haven't experience that kind of culinary palate and standards. The traditional street stalls/mobile store will beat them every time in both price and taste.
I think my favorite part about my trip to Thailand was the street food. It was fun to go hunting the streets for a meal. My Thai is not that good and I just had to point to what I wanted and only screwed up a couple of times and got things that were not what i was expecting. I ate most of my trip on the streets and never got sick in a weeks of travel.
In the ordinary world that I meander in, one lives a meaningful life if one excelled in school, got a university degree then a high paying job, find a nice woman and marry her, have babies and devote the rest of your life to them. Because we were programmed with this thought ever since childhood, it’s natural that this was the life itinerary I had. But as is life, it has its own agenda. The road to my world’s eden didn’t happen as planned. Somewhere along the way I woke up.
But the moment the spell was broken, I began to see with a pair of new goggles and I grasped for breath. I discovered that the world is vast and life has infinite possibilities! I became different from the people around me. I developed new passions and friends. I wish I was exposed to this earlier. But I am who I am because of who I was. I’ve always been a fast learner, so I will catch up!
This is my quest for an extraordinary life.