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