Pad Thai – 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.
Great Pad Thai is dry and light bodied, with a fresh, complex, balanced flavor. It should be reddish and brownish in color. Not bright red and oily like I’ve seen in the US. The ingredients listed below can be somewhat intimidating but many are optional. If you would like to make authentic Pad Thai, just like in Thailand, use all the ingredients.
Pad Thai is another perfect vegetarian dish, just omit shrimp and substitute soy sauce for fish sauce.
Add more tofu if you like.
* 1 egg
* 4 teaspoons fish sauce
* 3 cloves minced garlic
* 1/2 teaspoon ground dried chili pepper
* ground pepper
* 1/2 lime
* 1 minced shallot
* 2 tablespoon sugar
* 2 tablespoon tamarind
* 1/2 package Thai rice noodles
* 1/3 cup extra firm tofu
* 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 1/2-1/4 lb shrimp Optional
* 1/2 banana flower Optional
* 1-1/3 cup bean sprouts Optional
* 1-1/2 cup Chinese chives Optional
* 2 tablespoons peanuts Optional
* 1 tablespoon preserved turnip Optional
Tips and Techniques
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 chilli pepper.
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