This week I cannot seem to get my fill of Thai food. I love the unique flavor blending of salty, sweet, sour and spicy in one little dynamic bite.
Pad Thai is a dish that is made to order, just the way you like it. Every person has their own standard of how sweet, salty, sour or spicy they like their pad Thai sauce and it can be adjusted to suite your personal preferences. In addition, some people like chicken, some like shrimp or some like tofu. Maybe some want extra vegetables or less vegetables. It does not stop there are then you get to pick your garnishes and what you want to top off your pad Thai. Some people like fresh limes,garlic chives, crushed peanuts, chilies, or extra raw bean sprouts or maybe nothing extra on top at all.
Did you know that this upcoming week is Buddha’s Birthday in China? It is celebrated in many different countries this upcoming week it is celebrated in Hong Kong or the eighth day of the fourth moon in Chinese calendar. However, each country celebrates in a slightly different time frame with a different name and different customs. In Thailand it is known as Wisakha Bucha or Visakah Puja (วิสาขบูชา).
In Thailand, where majority of the population are Buddhists, the nationwide festival of Vesak Day is held to pay tribute to the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha. This year Vesak Day will fall on Monday, 4 June 2012. However, celebrations can be seen for more than a week.
In Thailand, people will congregate around the Buddhist temples to pray and give thanks to the deity on the Vesak Day. Monks dressed in their robes will lead sermons and services throughout the day. In the evening, it will continue with a candlelit procession.
Of course, whenever there is family and friends gathering and long days in the temples, this can really stir up one’s appetite. What a better way to wish every one a happy Wesak’s Day then to celebrate with family and friends and some yummy food. Please continue to read along to find out how to make Pad Thai YOUR Way.
Pad Thai YOUR Way
Recipe loosely adapted from Smart Cook Thai Cookery School Lesson in Chiang Mai
Serves 4 adults or one hungry teenager
I like to make each person’s Pad Thai separately and to order so you can decide on the each individual flavors. Also cooking in small individual batches makes the cooking process in the wok easier to handle and keeps the heat even.
Pad Thai Sauce:
- 1/2 cup tamarind juice (I used dried tamarind in a block. I put the dried tamarind in warm water for one hour to dissolve then stirred and used the juice- this gives it the sour taste)
- 1/2 cup Oyster sauce
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar (If you can get your hands on palm sugar this is best or feel free to substitute sugar alternative for diabetics)
- Several dashes of fish sauce
- 2 bags dried rice noodles (soaked in cold water for 1/2 hour until much firmer than al dente as it will continue to cook when stir fried.)
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 4-6 garlic cloves minced
- 3 shallots minced
- 4-6 bird chillies sliced finely (optional)
- 1/2 cup shrimps cleaned with tail still on or 1/2 cup thinly sliced boneless skinless chicken breast or 1/2 cup diced fried tofu (Or any combination you wish)
- 1 cup spring onion cut diagonally in 1 inch slices (if you can find chinese flat leaf garlic greens use that)
- 2 cups mung bean sprouts
- 1 egg per person (optional)
- Lime wedges
- Long slices of spring onion
- crushed peanuts
- extra raw mung beans on side
- extra chilies
- handful of cilantro
Step 1: Pre- chop and dice all of your items as discussed above set aside in convenient small bowls for easy access when doing a quick stirfry.
Step 2: Presoak the rice noodles in cold water for about a half hour until still very firm. Harder than al dente as they will continue to cook when stir fried. Remove water and set aside
Step 3: Make the Pad Thai Sauce: In a small pot combine tamarind juice, oyster sauce, sugar and fish sauce to a gentle boil or just until all the sugar is dissolved. Set aside. Perform a taste test. Add more sugar if you want it more sweet, add more tamarind sauce if you want it more sour, add more fish sauce if you want it more salty.
Step 5: Place all of your Pad Thai ingredients near to you so that you have easy access during a very fast stirfry process.
Step 6: Place a little oil in your wok. Add onions and garlic and saute until aromatic. If you want it spicy then add some bird chillies for your desired heat level.
Step 7: Now here is where the decisions begin. If you want shrimp pad Thai, add a handful of shrimp. If you want chicken Pad Thai, add a handful of chicken. If you want a vegetarian option choose fried tofu as desired to the wok until just about 3/4 cooked. (I made mine with shrimp and tofu)
Step 8: Now add a handful of rice noodles and keep your skillet working fast to move the noodles about in the pan. (I use 2 spatulas or 2 sets of chopsticks to really keeps things moving in the pan)
Step 9: Add about 2-3 tablespoons of Pad Thai Sauce. This is when the dynamics of the noodles changes and you need to move quickly to prevent sticking.
Step 10: Add green handful of green onions and mung beans and give a quick stir.
Step 11: Move you noodles to the side, if you need to add a little more oil and then crack whole egg on bottom of pan let it just set up for a second or 2 then give the whole dish a quick stir fry stir and put on a serving plate.
Step 12: Garnish YOUR Pad Thai YOUR Way with any of the following ingredients; limes, peanuts, raw mung beans, cilantro or chillies.
Step 13: Enjoy your Pad Thai Your way. Consider serving with a starter of tom yum soup http://bamskitchen.com/2012/01/06/turn-up-the-heat-hot-and-sour-prawns-soup/ shrimp bundles http://bamskitchen.com/2012/04/12/shrimp-bundles-with-thai-basil-dipping-sauce/ or finishing off with a lovely sticky rice mango dessert http://bamskitchen.com/2012/01/05/sticky-rice-with-mango-khao-niao-mamuang-ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง/.