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Chris Amirault

Pad Thai--Cook-Off 6

122 posts in this topic

pad thai, yum!!

I have made this quite a few times and my favorite recipe so far is (gasp :shock: ) from Cook's Illustraed! July/August 2002 page 10 to be exact.

I even have almost all the ingredients in the house, I even made a tamarind extract two days ago for a Cambodian style soup. my favorite noodles are dried and about the width of linguine. CI has you soak them in hot tap water for 20 minutes, the magazine even has pictures for comparison showing ones too stiff and too soft.

I think I have found Sunday lunch.... :biggrin:

The fried chicken is being made tomorrow night!


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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Are these the sweet pickled radishes malawry's recipe called for? I use these when I want to make a steamed dish with beef or pork. Toisanese call this "ham choy". The salted ones need to be rinsed off before using. The sweet ones are actually not "sugary sweet"...just not salty. :unsure:


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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1) A couple of posts in there implied that meat/chicken pad thai is not authentic.  I'm not able to eat fish or seafood, so I was initially thinking about doing a carnivore's Pad Thai, but would it be better just to go vegetarian?  If meat is authentic, what would be the most appropriate? 

I know in Thailand that I had pad thai with chicken. I had it with pork. I had it with shrimp. I don't recall ever having it with beef.

Since Heidi horks every time she eats shrimp, I use chicken. I like bonless thighs, but boneless breasts would work, too.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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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?


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

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Hi all. I used this cook off as an excuse to use up my many leftovers in my refrigerator. The pad thai that I made tonight was loosely based on the David Thompson recipe and contains an obscene amount of protein - pork, chicken, shrimp, fried tofu and eggs.

First I soaked my noodles in water for a couple of hours.

gallery_15186_1020_11932.jpg

I then made up my sauce which consisted of fish sauce, sugar, palm sugar and tamarind pulp. I allowed the ingredients to dissolve on low heat for a couple minutes.

gallery_15186_1020_10436.jpg

Then I fried up two scrambled eggs (I don't like to mix the shallots directly into the

eggs).

gallery_15186_1020_23982.jpg

After that I softened 2 shallots and then added a bunch of oyster mushroom that I had been wanting to use up lately.

gallery_15186_1020_9900.jpg

Next I added fried tofu, and once that warmed through, an obscene amount of meat that I wanted to empty from my freezer.

gallery_15186_1020_80387.jpg

Once the meat was cooked through I added the pickled radish, sprouts, and the drained noodles and allowed them all to soften a bit.

gallery_15186_1020_14454.jpg

Then I added the sauce, sliced up snow peas, and added the eggs back in.

11122366..._1020_53682.jpg

This is my final product minus the lime wedges that I forgot to add to the photograph before we devoured this mess. The noodles were topped with the remaining bean sprouts and some scallion.

gallery_15186_1020_28957.jpg

If anyone is interested in the recipe PM me, it's really easy and once your noodles are soaked thoroughly it's quick too.


Edited by ellencho (log)

Believe me, I tied my shoes once, and it was an overrated experience - King Jaffe Joffer, ruler of Zamunda

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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?

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 | View my food photos on Instagram

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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!

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

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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 (log)

"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

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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!

And that house pad thai recipe is...?


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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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!

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

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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

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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

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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

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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"

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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.

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


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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

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 (log)

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

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

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.

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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

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