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Chris Amirault

Pad Thai--Cook-Off 6

122 posts in this topic

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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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Are those fresh chili's or the dried variety?

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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:


<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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Add the heat at the table with fresh chilis. It is what I do, or Heidi wouldn't touch it!


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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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!

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

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fifi, if they are going to go south, roast them now, grind and store in the fridge.

And, yes, if you include the seeds, they will be hotter than hell. If you eliminate the seeds, they will be as hot as hell.

This is on the menu next week. I'm prepping for a big ass brisket right now. :wub:


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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I went to the local 99 Ranch and picked up all the ingredients I was missing in order to do the eGCI/Cook's Illustrated pad thai--but as 99 Ranch does not have one of those electric carts for disabled folks, and I basically had to wander all over the store to find all the little bits and pieces, my bod is now officially shot for the evening. So I guess I'm pad-thai-ing tomorrow.

Like a couple of other folks, I had some interesting moments trying to identify whether I had the correct items--specifically the tamarind paste and the preserved radish. With the first, the sign by the display clearly said "tamarind paste," and the stuff in the package looked right, but the English label on the package itself read something like "fruit candy." (!) No other English, no list of ingredients. Hmmm.

Meanwhile, I thought I was a little more up to speed on preserved radish/pickled daikon, but it seemed like all the packages of same that I found all contained sugar, or even artificial sweetener. (!) I finally settled on the one with the sweet stuff furthest down on the list of ingredients.

(Edited to fix typo--"spead"?!? Geez, I musta been tired! :biggrin: )


Edited by mizducky (log)

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I have been suffering from a case of radish confusion. I think all three of the recipes that I consulted in my books talks about salted radish. I was thinking that meant that you grated the radish, salted it, then drained it. Then I read about it in True Thai. In that book it is described as salty/sweet. Oopsy. Now I have to make a trip to Hong Kong Market. Oh well. I could make the 50 mile trek to the big one and see if they have the large granite mortar and pestle. :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

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Well, Linda, now that you are retired...

Anyway, I always use just the salted radish. Maybe I should seek out the sweetened salted radish and see what it does.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Confusion continues. Sodsook describes salted radish, hua pak kad kem, as:

Used in soups and stir-fries, these are gold-colored matchstick shreds of radish that have been sun-dried and then cured in salt. They add a salty-sweet flavor and a bit of chewy texture. You will find them packed in cellophane bags, sometimes labeled as preserved turnip.

Is this what we are talking about?

It has been a while since I got pad Thai in a restaurant but I am not remembering eating anything like that. The one or two times I have made it, it was with a friend and I don't remember it there either. We were cooking from Sodsook's book and I now notice that he says it is optional so maybe we didn't use it.


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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Just checked my package of salted radish. Imported from Bangkok.

Ingredients: radish, salt. But, I never know how much to trust those pasted in nutritional/ingredient lists on packages that have very little other english.

Sort of like the Tiparos nam pla. When I get the stuff that has the english word "Tiparos," the ingredient list includes sugar. When I get the stuff with the formal label containint nothing other than Thai, and the ingredient/nutrition label a plain white piece of seemingly photocopied paper in English, it contains no sugar.?????


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Confusion continues. Sodsok describes salted radish, hua pak kad kem, as:
Used in soups and stir-fries, these are gold-colored matchstick shreds of radish that have been sun-dried and then cured in salt. They add a salty-sweet flavor and a bit of chewy texture. You will find them packed in cellophane bags, sometimes labeled as preserved turnip.

Is this what we are talking about?

It has been a while since I got pad Thai in a restaurant but I am not remembering eating anything like that. The one or two times I have made it, it was with a friend and I don't remember it there either. We were cooking from Sodsok's book and I now notice that he says it is optional so maybe we didn't use it.

The recipe in Thai Cooking calls for salted white radish (Hua chay poa). He mentions that he buys the whole ones so they can be cut into whatever size needed. He also gives a recipe for making it yourself. It involves both salt and palm sugar, so I guess it's supposed to be salty and sweet. The process of making it seems to take 4-5 days, so hopefully I can find it at my Asian market.

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Sunday lunch

gallery_6134_119_35837.jpg

I followed the Cook's illustrated recipe, but omitted the radish (didn't have it on hand) and dried sprimp (forgot about them...)

I put the chiles on top as a garnish with the cilantro, I really liked it this way as I love the taste of fresh chiles and it also made it easier to feed the kids.

I don't know why I don't make this more often, it is really easy and everything can be prepared in the time it takes the noodles to soak.

And the kids loved it!! :biggrin:


<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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The recipe in Thai Cooking calls for salted white radish (Hua chay poa). He mentions that he buys the whole ones so they can be cut into whatever size needed. He also gives a recipe  for making it yourself. It involves both salt and palm sugar, so I guess it's supposed to be salty and sweet. The process of making it seems to take 4-5 days, so hopefully I can find it at my Asian market.

Okay, since that sounds something like the pickled radish I just got (big whole daikon, with ingredients including both salt and sugar), I'm just gonna use it and see what happens. Although in truth I think what I've got is Japanese pickled daikon ...

Meanwhile, some googling has convinced me that I got the right tamarind paste, even though the English on the label reads "fruit candy." In Thai it's labeled "me vat khong hot" -- I'm leaving out a host of diacritical marks, which may mean I've butchered it into nonsense. Still, Google did fetch up this page when I searched on that phrase even without the punctuation. So I think I'm good on that.

Oh, while I'm at it ... I'm too weary at this time of night to see if this URL's been posted by somebody else already, but I stumbled upon this online "supermarket" for Thai foods and cookware which looks pretty spiffy, and has some helpful descriptions of products ... although this listing and picture for salted radish is now adding further to my own preserved radish confusion.


Edited by mizducky (log)

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Yes, that is one of the sites I linked and is where I made my first online order when I began my Thai craze. I got my sticky rice steamer and cone basket from them. It was a helpful site for me in getting started on this Thai kick. :biggrin:

So, to add to the radish confusion... I don't think this makes a huge bit of difference, and whatever we all chose to use the Pad Thai won't be altered dramatically. In what I pictured upthread, my "salted turnip" did come chopped, and it contains sugar and salt. The "preserved radish" I have are whole and contain salt and sugar. I'm not sure yet which I'll use when I make the Pad Thai. I bought these since the last time I made it, and that time I improvised by salting and sugaring and draining fresh radishes or daikon. I can't remember which.

I'm also not sure about using something "pickled"... don't know if that would lend a desired flavor or not... Snowangel Susan??

Mizducky, I'm pretty certain you've got the right tamarind stuff, or close enough. Mine had some weird translation, too, but I can't remember what because the label came off some time ago and I threw it away. I ordered it from this same site we're discussing.


Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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The idea of adding pickled something leaves me scratching my head. I've got some books reserved at the library which I'll pick up tomorrow. I'll look for the pickled stuff in recipes. And, I'm off to my Asian market tomorrow or Tuesday and I'll take a look at all of the salted stuff they have, as well.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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well had my first whack ever at padd thai friday night and johnnybird loved it.

i got Cracking the Coconut by Su-Mei Yu from the library as well as a few other Thai cookbooks. eliminated the ones that used ketchup in the recipe :blink: and started with Padd Thai Bann Gog. i couldn't find dried baby shrimps or Tien Jing cabbage so left the shrimp out but did the substitution of salt-packed capers for the cabbage. grabbed the wrong package of nuts - thought they were dry-roasted unsalted peanuts BUT were dry-roasted unsalted mixed nuts. ate the walnut pieces but chopped the peanuts, cashews and macadamias. couldn't find fried tofu so made it myself with extra firm tofu. followed the author's recipe for roasted dried chile powder using a mix of chile de arbol and thai bird.

didn't have a problem with the noodles falling apart on me and it was great to have prepped everything first so it took me the 10 minutes or so the noodles reconstituted in lukewarm water to get everything cooked. garnished with lime wedges that rounded out the sweet/salty/hot taste.

the author also has a recipe for Padd Thai Ayuthiya which uses a sweet sour sauce made with tamarind, sugar, salt and fish sauce. i found frozen tamarind in the market so will try working with that. she also has a recipe for Woon Senn Padd Thai that she said "became the rage among Bangkokians, who found the soft and delicate texture of bean threads a refreshing change from the usual senn chan". found the noodles and will try my hand at baked tofu next.

thank you, thank you, thank you for this cookoff. :wub: more interesting things i might not have tried by myself my husand will eat.


Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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I can get fried tofu at my market very easily. Actually, they are fried cakes, so when I cut them into strips, two sides aren't fried, but I just put them in first and press the unfried sides onto the pan.

One hint for tofu in pad thai. Put the cake in a bowl and put a weight on top of it. Even with the extra firm tofu, you'd be amazed at how much water comes out.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Yes, that is one of the sites I linked and is where I made my first online order when I began my Thai craze.  I got my sticky rice steamer and cone basket from them.  It was a helpful site for me in getting started on this Thai kick.  :biggrin:

Oops. Oh well--that's what comes of me posting when I should be heading for bed. :blush::laugh:

I am right now consuming the fruits of my pad thai experiment. As I mentioned before, I used the eGCI/Cook's Illustrated recipe. This produced some darn good-tasting pad thai. None of that gloppy orange-sauced dumbed-down-for-America restaurant pad thai--the noodles are pale, but the flavor is great.

A couple pictures:

Most of the raw and/or packaged ingredients:

gallery_27785_1044_415352.jpg

Most of the mise en place:

gallery_27785_1044_373760.jpg

No shots of the actual cooking--too busy stir-frying for dear life!

The finished product:

gallery_27785_1044_504120.jpg

Notes and observations:

1. Like other asian dishes I have done, this was a whole lotta mise en place (counting peeling the damfool shrimp, I spent almost two hours mise-ing), followed by a short frenzied period of actual cooking. Knowing that now, I could now see throwing together a quick-and-dirty pad thai by using various short-cuts to make the mise more manageable (i.e. pre-cooked shrimp, prepared tamarind concentrate, etc.)

2. As I have become a wimp about hot spices in my old age, I decreased the amount of cayenne from 3/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp. That turned out to be just right for my tastes--just enough hot to let me know the cayenne is in there.

3. Damn, there's gotta be a more efficient way of peeling shrimp than what I was doing. It would have helped if I hadn't been feeling like such a cheapskate and had spring for bigger shrimp. :rolleyes:

4. I'm very happy about how the noodles came out--just the right texture, neither too springy nor too limp.

5. Only fault I could find was that the (fresh) shrimp were a bit too salty. I brined them for something like 25 minutes (the recipe said up to 30); maybe next time I'll only go for 15, or maybe not even brine them at all if I'm also including dried shrimp as I did today.

6. Damn, that made a whole lot of pad thai. I know what I'm going to be eating for the next couple of days. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. :wink:

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Oops. Oh well--that's what comes of me posting when I should be heading for bed. :blush:  :laugh:

NO problem!

I am right now consuming the fruits of my pad thai experiment. As I mentioned before, I used the eGCI/Cook's Illustrated recipe. This produced some darn good-tasting pad thai. None of that gloppy orange-sauced dumbed-down-for-America restaurant pad thai--the noodles are pale, but the flavor is great.

A couple pictures:

Most of the raw and/or packaged ingredients:

gallery_27785_1044_415352.jpg

Most of the mise en place:

gallery_27785_1044_373760.jpg

No shots of the actual cooking--too busy stir-frying for dear life!

The finished product:

gallery_27785_1044_504120.jpg

Notes and observations:

1. Like other asian dishes I have done, this was a whole lotta mise en place (counting peeling the damfool shrimp, I spent almost two hours mise-ing), followed by a short frenzied period of actual cooking. Knowing that now, I could now see throwing together a quick-and-dirty pad thai by using various short-cuts to make the mise more manageable (i.e. pre-cooked shrimp, prepared tamarind concentrate, etc.)

2. As I have become a wimp about hot spices in my old age, I decreased the amount of cayenne from 3/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp. That turned out to be just right for my tastes--just enough hot to let me know the cayenne is in there.

3. Damn, there's gotta be a more efficient way of peeling shrimp than what I was doing. It would have helped if I hadn't been feeling like such a cheapskate and had spring for bigger shrimp. :rolleyes:

4. I'm very happy about how the noodles came out--just the right texture, neither too springy nor too limp.

5. Only fault I could find was that the (fresh) shrimp were a bit too salty. I brined them for something like 25 minutes (the recipe said up to 30); maybe next time I'll only go for 15, or maybe not even brine them at all if I'm also including dried shrimp as I did today.

6. Damn, that made a whole lot of pad thai. I know what I'm going to be eating for the next couple of days. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. :wink:

Beautiful! Great job, looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing your photos, notes and everything.


Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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