Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

Pad Thai--Cook-Off 6

Cookoff Vegetarian

  • Please log in to reply
121 replies to this topic

#31 little ms foodie

little ms foodie
  • participating member
  • 3,063 posts
  • Location:Seattle, WA

Posted 30 March 2005 - 08:59 PM

ellencho, that looks awesome!

Well I think we will skip this particular cook off, catch up on the chicken and pick back up down the road! Thanks for the input on the peanuts all!

#32 Jason Perlow

Jason Perlow
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 13,501 posts
  • Location:FL

Posted 30 March 2005 - 09:12 PM

hmmmm....the husband is deathly allergic to peanuts, would it be complete sacrilidge to make it without?


Not sacrelige, but basically pointless, because the dish is totally out of balance without them.


so you don't think that you could sub-in say almonds for a similar effect? Or perhaps a blend of almonds & cashews? No it's not going to be exactly the same, but could it be a plausible flavor approximation once it was cooked in?

View Post


Possibly cashews or macadamia nuts, or a combination of the two. Not almonds.
Jason Perlow
Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters
offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | My Flickr photo stream

#33 Chris Amirault

Chris Amirault
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 19,628 posts
  • Location:Rhode Island

Posted 30 March 2005 - 09:26 PM

Well I think we will skip this particular cook off, catch up on the chicken and pick back up down the road! Thanks for the input on the peanuts all!

View Post

If the reason you're skipping is the peanuts, I do hope, Wendy, that you'll reconsider. I'm certainly not going to debate whether or not peanuts are essential to an authentic pad thai; instead, I'm going to assert that authenticity isn't the only goal here.

Check the previous cook-offs: while there are surely many utterly authentic gumbos and cassoulets with bonafide experts on the subject, there are also rouxs made with carb-free flours and cassoulets with ersatz beans. The cook-offs have been big tents, wherein people can debate not only truly authentic versions of dishes but also can share ideas for how to make approximations of the dish that teach them new techniques, learn from others, and have a good time.

So, Wendy, grind up a few macadamia nuts -- or, hell, mince and fry up some tofu for texture instead -- and please stay with us! We like having you around!
Chris Amirault
camirault@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics Signatory
Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

#34 johnnyd

johnnyd
  • participating member
  • 2,324 posts
  • Location:Portland, ME

Posted 31 March 2005 - 06:34 AM

Ellencho, that is one loaded plate, dude! I could have eaten it right off my screen! :raz:

I did notice a lack of peanuts here, so this one could work for lil Ms F, and I also noted that cilantro is missing. Probably not in the fridge to use up? Cilantro and lime wedges are de riguer for the house pad thai here!

Edited by johnnyd, 31 March 2005 - 06:35 AM.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II
Portland Food Map.com

#35 Chris Amirault

Chris Amirault
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 19,628 posts
  • Location:Rhode Island

Posted 31 March 2005 - 07:18 AM

Ellencho, that is one loaded plate, dude! I could have eaten it right off my screen! :raz:

I did notice a lack of peanuts here, so this one could work for lil Ms F, and I also noted that cilantro is missing.  Probably not in the fridge to use up?  Cilantro and lime wedges are de riguer for the house pad thai here!

View Post

And that house pad thai recipe is...?
Chris Amirault
camirault@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics Signatory
Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

#36 ellencho

ellencho
  • participating member
  • 581 posts

Posted 31 March 2005 - 07:20 AM

Ellencho, that is one loaded plate, dude! I could have eaten it right off my screen! :raz:

I did notice a lack of peanuts here, so this one could work for lil Ms F, and I also noted that cilantro is missing.  Probably not in the fridge to use up?  Cilantro and lime wedges are de riguer for the house pad thai here!

View Post

Oh I know! Well the lack of peanuts were on behalf of the boyfriend who only likes peanuts in butter form. I don't think nuts are 100% necessary in this recipe. It's a good "extra" IMO but if it isn't there it's not the biggest deal.

The lack of cilantro was an error on my part - I simply forgot to pick up a bunch from the market. It still tasted good though but I agree that cilantro and lime definitely brightens up the dish.
Believe me, I tied my shoes once, and it was an overrated experience - King Jaffe Joffer, ruler of Zamunda

#37 fifi

fifi
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 7,727 posts
  • Location:Houston, TX

Posted 31 March 2005 - 07:49 AM

I, for one, will be deleting the cilantro. I am one of those folks that thinks it tastes like soap, not "bright, fresh and green." Nope, gray, sludgy soap. :raz: I pick it off of my pad thai when I order it at restaurants or ask them not to put it on there in the first place.
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

#38 johnnyd

johnnyd
  • participating member
  • 2,324 posts
  • Location:Portland, ME

Posted 31 March 2005 - 08:45 AM

And that house pad thai recipe is...?


Pim and Mamster's fabulous Thai Food extravaganza of course! I've been a fan since the summer after I blew up two previous attempts using other recipes. During Maine's shrimp season, I found myself making pad thai once a week because the fresh shrimp was an excellent ingredient and their smallish size seemed perfect for the dish.
"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II
Portland Food Map.com

#39 mamster

mamster
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 2,918 posts

Posted 31 March 2005 - 09:18 AM

I should point out again that the supposed "mamster recipe" is cribbed almost exactly from that same July/Aug 2002 Cook's Illustrated.
Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"
Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

#40 snowangel

snowangel
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 8,140 posts
  • Location:Twin Cities, MN

Posted 31 March 2005 - 09:38 AM

Back to the nuts. If I were going to substitute something for peanuts, I'd be most likely to use cashews. There are a number of Thai dishes that use cashews and I don't recall ever seeing macadamias or almonds as an ingredient in Thai food.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#41 piperdown

piperdown
  • participating member
  • 162 posts

Posted 31 March 2005 - 10:00 AM

So I was looking through a few of my Thai cookbooks yesterday in preparation for this cook-off, and I came across a weird recipe. The books I have are Simply Thai by Wandee Young, Real Thai, by Nancie MacDermott, and Thai Food by David Thompson. I just got Thai Food the other day so I was looking forward to cooking from that, and it will be nice to compare it with the Simply Thai, recipe that I've done before. The weird recipe came from Real Thai...it had no Tamarind paste? Which seemed weird. The sauce seemed to only come from fish sauce, and there wasn't even much of that. Has anyone seen, or tried, a recipe without Tamarind? It just doesn't seem like Pad Thai without it.

Anyway, I think I'm going to try both Wandee's and David's recipe's and see which is better. It would be nice to nail down a final Pad Thai recipe. After that maybe I'll compare it to mamster's and see what I like. Man this is going to be a heck of a lot of Pad Thai.

#42 snowangel

snowangel
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 8,140 posts
  • Location:Twin Cities, MN

Posted 31 March 2005 - 10:14 AM

Did the Real Thai recipe have vinegar? If you don't have tamarind paste, substituting rice vinegar is perfectly acceptable.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#43 Eden

Eden
  • participating member
  • 959 posts

Posted 31 March 2005 - 10:59 AM

I should point out again that the supposed "mamster recipe" is cribbed almost exactly from that same July/Aug 2002 Cook's Illustrated.

View Post



Mamster,
What (roughly) are the variations from their recipe to yours? And why did you make those changes?
Not that I think CI is inviolate, just wondering what end result you were looking for that inspired differences...




edited for stupid typos...

Edited by Eden, 31 March 2005 - 10:59 AM.

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

#44 piperdown

piperdown
  • participating member
  • 162 posts

Posted 31 March 2005 - 05:45 PM

Did the Real Thai recipe have vinegar?  If  you don't have tamarind paste, substituting rice vinegar is perfectly acceptable.

View Post



No it doesn't. The only liquid is fish sauce. The weird thing is, she says that traditional Pad Thai has dried shrimp, pickled radish, palm sugar, tamarind etc...then proceeds to give a recipe without any of it. So much for "real Thai" Luckily that just cut down the number of recipes I want to try.

The recipe just contains garlic, shrimp, egg, fish sauce, sugar, sprouts, green onions and peanuts.

#45 tamiam

tamiam
  • participating member
  • 216 posts
  • Location:Kitsap Peninsula, WA

Posted 31 March 2005 - 08:10 PM

Dang. I love pad thai, and I have the ingredients. Sadly I am also stuck with a broken and frightening cooktop. One burner won't shut off, and one arc-welded itself to my teapot the other night. I dind't even know that was possible, but guess what? It is. I dont want any electricity going near the cursed thing. And I can't replace it because the people who are buying my house prefer cash at close to having me install a new one. Can I live like this for another 3 weeks?

OK--enough off-topic ranting.

I am interested in the tamarind part of the recipe. I've used the hard sticky paste, where you have to soak it and sieve out the really big seeds. Tasted great, but somewhat of a pain. I've also used the tamarind liquid that comes in a jar. While it requires zero effort, I though that it lost the fresh taste that the paste has, and the color of my pad thai came out brown instead of orange-red. I believe there is also a frozen version, but I've never tried it, and of course, there are the brown pods....

Does anyone have experience with the various ways you can buy tamarind, how to prepare them, and which works best?
Oil and potatoes both grow underground so french fries may have eventually invented themselves had they not been invented -- J. Esther

#46 mamster

mamster
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 2,918 posts

Posted 31 March 2005 - 08:40 PM

Hi, Tamiam. For phad thai I think it's unlikely you're going to find anything that beats the paste. You can get it seedless, though, which makes it a little easier. You do still have to strain out a bunch of solids.

The pods are more expensive, harder to deal with, and don't taste any better than the paste. The concentrate is more at home in Indian curries.

It seems like you might be able to make tamarind water with the paste and then freeze it in ice cube trays. Anyone tried this?
Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"
Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

#47 mamster

mamster
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 2,918 posts

Posted 31 March 2005 - 08:41 PM

Eden, I totally don't remember how I modified the recipe, except that I think I omitted the dried shrimp, because I can never find dried shrimp that are any good, or maybe I'm only in the mood for dried shrimp in Thailand. Something like that.
Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"
Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

#48 Chris Amirault

Chris Amirault
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 19,628 posts
  • Location:Rhode Island

Posted 31 March 2005 - 08:42 PM

What about fresh tamarind? I can find it here sometimes, but I've never used it and don't know how.
Chris Amirault
camirault@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics Signatory
Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

#49 Behemoth

Behemoth
  • participating member
  • 1,658 posts
  • Location:Athens on the Isar/Athens in the Cornfields

Posted 31 March 2005 - 08:53 PM

Here is a little shortcut for the tamarind. I have taken to using indian tamarind chutney in my pad thai sometimes. This came out of a day when I had the stuff in my fridge (self made, for a bhel puri experiment -- but store bought is usually pretty good too.) Worked great, just remember to use less sugar in your sauce since the chutney already has some.

As for the red color -- someone mentioned paprika upthread. I've gotten that red color from pad thai recipes that used ketchup (yech) and I suspect a few restuarants I've been to use that variation (yech). What I now do is put a little pile of red chili powder on the side a la david thompson. Looks really pretty. I use the Korean stuff that they package for Kimchi.

For the nuts: Roasted cashews would be a great substitution I think.

#50 tamiam

tamiam
  • participating member
  • 216 posts
  • Location:Kitsap Peninsula, WA

Posted 31 March 2005 - 09:56 PM

Here is a little shortcut for the tamarind. I have taken to using indian tamarind chutney in my pad thai sometimes. This came out of a day when I had the stuff in my fridge (self made, for a bhel puri experiment -- but store bought is usually pretty good too.) Worked great, just remember to use less sugar in your sauce since the chutney already has some.

View Post


Using chutney sounds like it might work, as long as it didn't have too much of its own flavoring. Plus, you get to have chutney in the fridge for another dish. But I have to ask, what is Bhel Puri?

And Mamster, your idea of freezing cubes of tamarind water sounds like it could work too. I may give it a try once I get settled into a new home. If you try it first, please share what you discover.

P.S. I like the flavor dried shrimp add, even though they stink to high heaven. I find they don't last unless I refrigerate them, but then they aren't a common ingredient for me. Also, it is worth looking at both Hispanic and Asian stores to find a place where the turnover is good.
Oil and potatoes both grow underground so french fries may have eventually invented themselves had they not been invented -- J. Esther

#51 Behemoth

Behemoth
  • participating member
  • 1,658 posts
  • Location:Athens on the Isar/Athens in the Cornfields

Posted 31 March 2005 - 10:01 PM

Using chutney sounds like it might work, as long as it didn't have too much of its own flavoring.  Plus, you get to have chutney in the fridge for another dish.  But I have to ask, what is Bhel Puri?


It is a great indian snack made with puffed rice, potatoes, tomatoes, onion, chili, tamarind and coriander chutney. I think there is a recipe by Survir Saran in the eGullet recipe archive, wherever that is now.

#52 LNorman

LNorman
  • participating member
  • 63 posts

Posted 31 March 2005 - 10:38 PM

I think I'm going to try making Pad Thai from scratch. I tried years ago and it was such as mess I started buying the boxed kits from "A Taste of Thai" (better than the box kit from "Thai Kitchen").

I don't like the scrambled egg in a noodle dish so I never put one in. And since I always manage to never use up fresh cilantro and waste a lot of money, I buy cilantro from the freezer section of the grocery store that is flash frozen. It doesn't have the brightest taste but it does make a difference in the dish.

Some grocery stores that carry the box kits of pad thai also carry boxes of rice noodles. I think if you are starting to make the dish by yourself you could use these rice noodles if an Asian market is not available nearby.

#53 Dana

Dana
  • participating member
  • 918 posts
  • Location:southeast texas

Posted 01 April 2005 - 02:33 PM

this is probably a silly question, but...
Most recipes, including Malawry's, the one I'll probably try first, calls for a pound of noodles, plus a pound of meat. There are only two of us, and while I like to have leftovers for work lunches, some things don't reheat well. Is Pad Thai one of them, so should I half the recipe from the get go, or will the leftovers be wonderful, and I should dive right into the whole recipe? Thanks a lot.
Stop Family Violence

#54 Malawry

Malawry
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,400 posts
  • Location:Harpers Ferry/Shepherdstown, WV

Posted 01 April 2005 - 02:38 PM

I like leftover pad thai. But I like just about anything leftover. It's not as good as fresh, but it's usually improved by a shot of chicken stock and reheating in a pan on the stove instead of in the microwave.

#55 fifi

fifi
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 7,727 posts
  • Location:Houston, TX

Posted 01 April 2005 - 05:30 PM

What Malawry said about the leftovers. I usually bring some home from a restaurant. I made the mistake of microwaving it . . . once.
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

#56 Chris Amirault

Chris Amirault
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 19,628 posts
  • Location:Rhode Island

Posted 02 April 2005 - 12:58 PM

Can I make a pitch for folks roasting their own chili powder? Over medium heat, you toss a bunch of bird's eye or other red chilis in a skillet for a few minutes until they are changing color and starting to get that toasty smell. Dump them into a bowl to cool, and then grind them to a coarse powder. To me, this makes or breaks good pad thai.

Hoping to make it this weekend!
Chris Amirault
camirault@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics Signatory
Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

#57 piperdown

piperdown
  • participating member
  • 162 posts

Posted 02 April 2005 - 01:59 PM

Are those fresh chili's or the dried variety?

#58 torakris

torakris
  • manager
  • 11,008 posts
  • Location:Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Posted 02 April 2005 - 04:08 PM

My recipe calls for cayenne, but I think I will try roasting my own instead.

Is pad thai ever served with fresh chiles, like as a garnish instead?
I will be making this for the kids as well and just now I was thinking maybe I should add the heat at the table....

only 4 more hours to pad thai..... :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"
Manager, Membership
kwagner@egstaff.org


#59 snowangel

snowangel
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 8,140 posts
  • Location:Twin Cities, MN

Posted 02 April 2005 - 04:45 PM

Add the heat at the table with fresh chilis. It is what I do, or Heidi wouldn't touch it!
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#60 fifi

fifi
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 7,727 posts
  • Location:Houston, TX

Posted 02 April 2005 - 04:54 PM

Can I make a pitch for folks roasting their own chili powder? Over medium heat, you toss a bunch of bird's eye or other red chilis in a skillet for a few minutes until they are changing color and starting to get that toasty smell. Dump them into a bowl to cool, and then grind them to a coarse powder. To me, this makes or breaks good pad thai.

Hoping to make it this weekend!

View Post


Looking through my three Thai books, two had pictures of the serving with the ground chiles and peanuts served in a heap on the side. The couple of places that I get it here typically puts small dishes of the same on the table. One place serves a dish of some kind of chile paste instead of ground roasted. I think I will try roasting my own. I have a package of the Thai chiles in the veg drawer now. Since I may not get to making this until next week, can I do the toasting and grinding now, storing it in a glass jar in the fridge? Or should I wait and do that fresh? (I am afraid they may go south before I get to this.) And can I also assume that I should not bend down and snif/snort the contents of the roasting pan? :blink: Can I also assume that the ground chiles include the seeds and is hotter than hell? :biggrin:
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Cookoff, Vegetarian