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Mizducky,

great pictures, it looks fabulous!

and yes that pickled radish you have is the Japanese type, I wonder how differently they taste. I have never eaten the Thai one so I can't compare them.

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Well, I think that mizducky and I can compare notes! I made the David Thompson recipe in Thai Food, adding some minced garlic with the shallots, tossing in some sauteed chicken slices, substituting scallions for the chives, and leaving out the radish (which I couldn't find at the store today).

What I did find, however, was something I'd never seen before and is pretty interesting. I bought a package of fresh noodles vacuum-sealed in this package (sorry, I thought to take the photo after I opened them to start soaking:

gallery_19804_437_5289.jpg

I soaked them only an hour in room temp water, and they turned out just the right texture.

Here's what the final dish looked like. The dried shrimp and ground chilis are off to the side; Andrea hates the shrimp and I like to add more chili than she in this dish.

gallery_19804_437_7681.jpg

It was FANTASTIC, the best pad thai I've ever made. I really think that the Thompson recipe is great. He's big on shallots, which provide a good foundation, and the balance of flavors is spot on. (I should say that I always add a full dose of chili, which makes for a different balance than, say, mizducky would get.)

Also, I have been working very hard to develop my wok's patina, and the wok hei is excellent. I usually use a propane wok cooker that I adore, but we had a rain storm warning while I was doing meez, so I used it on my stove for the first time. It worked out really well: the vegetables sauteed well, and by the time everything was waiting for the noodles, the wok was very hot.

That meant that the noodles picked up a lot of color and hei. Following Thompson's advice, I really pressed the noodles into the wok for a while before adding the sauce, and some of them darkened nicely. It's worth it to get a good wok and treat it like a member of the family, I'm telling you....

I also served a tom yum soup --

gallery_19804_437_55736.jpg

-- and a fantastic pomelo salad --

gallery_19804_437_21985.jpg

-- both of which are from Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet and both of which were also excellent.

I do want to go back and find that salted radish, though, and see if I can tweak this.

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Torakris, if you hadn't :laugh: omitted the radish, which would you have considered the better substitute for sweet pickled radish - dried radish (kiriboshi daikon) or bran-pickled radish (takuan)?

I faintly remember eating it when I worked in a Chinese shop, but so long ago...and we never thought that much about what pickles to eat, just ate them in order of breakages :huh: .

Pad thai looks like a good lunch before the school lunch schedule swings back into action!

Chrisamarault, that looks like a wonderful pomelo salad. They are so good at this time of year.

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Thanks for all the compliments, folks!

Reflecting on the experiment, I now find I have some further geeky-detail questions:

1. The eggs. The eGCI/mamster/Cook's Illustrated recipe said to stir-fry the eggs for a mere 20 seconds before adding the noodles. When I did that, the eggs were still a bit liquidy by the time I added the noodles, so that when I mixed them all together the eggs wound up as a mostly-invisible (though quite tasty) coating on the noodles. Is that the effect we're going for? Or are there supposed to be discernable bits of egg as in fried rice? If the latter, I'm probably going to have to stir-fry the eggs longer, because my wimpy electric range doesn't seem to push enough juice to make the eggs solidify in that short a time even when the burner's set to high.

2. Browner noodles: chrisamirault, I note the suggestion you got from the recipe you followed, regarding pressing the noodles into the wok to get them to pick up some color. As noted above, I'm working with a wok on a wimpy electric burner, which I know is far from ideal, but it's extremely unlikely that I'll be able to get a better heating unit for under my wok for the forseeable future (at least it's a flat-bottomed wok, with some pretty decent seasoning). Any other thoughts on how I might get my noodles browner next time (without resorting to the dreaded ketchup bowdlerization)?

(edited to fix a tyop :wink: )


Edited by mizducky (log)

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As mentioned upthread somewhere, it is not unusual to get more color on the noodles by adding some paprika to the water when you soak the noodles.

When I lived in Bangkok, sometimes the egg bits were more discernable, sometimes less.

Since we had pad thai about 2 days before this cookoff, I'm going to wait until later in the week to do it. In fact, I think over the course of the next couple of weeks, I might do it twice -- to compare fresh vs. dried rice noodles.

In the meantime, we'll work on the leftovers from my big ass brisket.

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Torakris, if you hadn't  :laugh: omitted the radish, which would you have considered the better substitute for sweet pickled radish - dried radish (kiriboshi daikon) or bran-pickled radish (takuan)?

Helen,

I am not sure. I have never tasted the Thai radish so I am unsure of the best substitute for it. I have never looked for the Thai style here so honestly I don't even know what it looks like...

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A very sweet eG-er gave me a little butane burner to get me through my no stovetop dilemma, so I pad thai'd too. Glad I did because it was great. I modified the CI recipe, by increasing the cayenne to 1 tsp (which was perfect for my taste, the 3/4 t in their recipe went mostly unnoticed), and using a fresh herb mix that included cilantro and some kind of Asian mint because that is what I had on hand.

I take back what I said earlier about the tamarind paste being a pain. That might be because I got seedless this time around, so there was more tamarind pulp in my mix, or because I used a smaller sieve that was easier to work with. In any case it was not a problem at all, and is WAY better than the tamarind concentrate, which tastes all overcooked.

That was a really good dish!!

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My first thoughts: To echo Suzi's remark, "thank you, thank you, thank you for this cookoff"! This was by far better Pad Thai than I made before. Everyone's discussion helped so much.

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To start with, a Jason-style photo of the finished product

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I was not confident that the end result was going to turn out looking as pretty as the condiments and the prepared ingredients sitting at stove-side did, so I took lots of shots of those. This is one of the pictures of the condiments.

gallery_13038_837_112348.jpg

The Table at Eating Time

I will be up for more discussion later, but for now I am trying to give the condensed version of the story. I mostly followed the Hot Sour Salty Sweet recipe for the directions, with the exception that everything took longer stir-fry, pressing, and turning time because our electric stove is not-so-hot (both figurativly and literally speaking) and because my volume of some ingredients was significantly larger.

I used about 3 ounces of fresh pork slivers and a pound of fresh local shrimp, in addition to about a tablespoon of the dried shrimp. I used all the ingredients called for in the Hot Sour Salty Sweet recipe, and also some shallots in with the bean sprouts mixture and some extra condiments. I did use the salted radish, and my tamarind was ready-to-use concentrate.

The photos make the condiments obvious. To go with it, I made Stir-Fried Napa Cabbage with Garlic and Yellow Bean Sauce from True Thai, and a typical spicy cucumber relish. We ate family-style instead of plating.

We enjoyed a Reisling with it. It was a hit with Russ, and also my Danish son who is visiting and said that Thai food is quite popular in Denmark.

Any questions about something I failed to mention, please feel free to ask. I am pleasantly full, but tired, and we have yet to clean up!

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That looks, gorgeous, Susan!

Totally off-topic ... my dad was a neighbor of yours (Ormond Beach) up until he passed away this past December. Lovely area you live in, there (I mean, when it's not being smished by hurricanes, I guess! :smile: )

Back on-topic: now that I've got this stock of leftover ingredients of various sorts, I've got questions about storage. I'm assuming the tamarind paste needs to be kept refrigerated, right? I've got it in the fridge wrapped in plastic wrap right now. How long does it keep? How about the open bottle of fish sauce? Fridge or cupboard?

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I've never fridged fish sauce or tamarind paste. Cupboard for both.

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I've never fridged fish sauce or tamarind paste.  Cupboard for both.

I've always put fish sauce (and soy sauce) back in the fridge, but I think snow angel is right, it's not needed. I mean the stuff is made form fermented fish guts and stuff, so what could possibly go off in it....it's already off.

Of course I have more space in my fridge then cupboard, so I'll probably just keep it there.

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after reading about everyone's PadThai for days, today I really really had to have some, even if I couldn't get all the right ingredients in my supermarket.

I used the recipe from the Thai course on EGullet, with some cheating: I used ready boiled shrimp, onion instead of shallot, and no salted radish.

Here's what it looked like:

gallery_21505_358_126701.jpg

When we started to eat, we both felt it was lacking something in flavor, but as we kept eating, it sort of grew on us.. Then my husband said that "maybe this is the kind of food that tastes better when it's cooled off a bit" and I actually think he made a very good point there! In the end we finished the entire bowl.

We added some sambal (indonesian chilipaste) at the table, for some heat and more intense flavor.

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I made Malawry's recipe for Pad Thai today, and it looked very much like Chufi's, and I was pleased. I would recommend for anyone using the whole pound of noodles to use a deep wok or a 14 inch skillet. I used a 12 inch and tossing the noodles was a bit trying. It tasted nice and spicy, and so much lighter than American noodle dishes. Most of them seem to be covered in some sort of sauce or gravy. This was refreshing. As a fish sauce virgin, I was almost scared to add the NASTY smelling stuff, but I plowed on, and sure enough, couldn't taste it specifically, but I won't be afraid to use it again.

What else can I use the 'sweeten radish' for? How long will it keep? I put the unused portion in the fridge, but since the recipe only calls for a small amount, that package will last a loooonnnggg time.

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Late as usual....((in my best Eeyore's voice)). I loved looking at all the various styles; they all look so delicious.

Just made this following a recipe from a local magazine. I didn't add any pickled radish...don't like it in my noodles. I used glass noodles because we have the flat noodles cooked chinese style all the time. I also don't like my eggs scrambled in so I made an omelette out of the 4 eggs and cut into strips. The other yellow strips are yellow flat tofu.

gallery_12248_1065_65379.jpg


Edited by Tepee (log)

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I made this for Friday night dinner, which has to be made fast for 2 boys hungry after swimming, and it's a busy work day for me usually.

No question of photos! The boys ate it so fast I had a job reserving one serving for my husband before they were back for seconds! It was quick and tasty without being oppressive.

The peanuts and pickled radish definitely contributed a lot to my kids' enjoyment of the dish. We made ours using pork and shrimp, to cater for fussy shrimp-haters in the family. I cooked the egg around 40 seconds before adding the noodles, so it was half cooked, with just enough moisture to cling to the noodles.

I thought the rice sticks might disintegrate completely before my husband ate his serving, but for a noodle dish, this one survived the delay in good shape.

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Chris,

I soak the noodles for 20 minutes. Drain. Frying glass noodles is every bit as tricky as frying the pad thai noodles. I held a 1.5-foot long pair of wooden chopsticks in my left hand and the metal frying spatula in the other. Before that, I had made around 1.5 litres of stock from the prawn shells and added half of this to the noodles at the beginning. Do not allow the noodles to get too dry or they'll stick and lump together. Keep adding the stock as you cook.

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Chris,

I soak the noodles for 20 minutes. Drain. Frying glass noodles is every bit as tricky as frying the pad thai noodles. I held a 1.5-foot long pair of wooden chopsticks in my left hand and the metal frying spatula in the other. Before that, I had made around 1.5 litres of stock from the prawn shells and added half of this to the noodles at the beginning. Do not allow the noodles to get too dry or they'll stick and lump together. Keep adding the stock as you cook.

Those are great tips. I hadn't heard the one about adding stock as you cook, sorta like risotto or polenta. Makes a great deal of sense, and might actually get me to use those glass noodles, which scare me a bit (and if you read below you can see what scary ingredients do!).

Thanks!

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pad thai #2 was dinner (for john) last night - unfortunately he didn't get hungry until about 9 which was wayyyyyyy too late for me to eat.

i had prepped most everything beforehand so it was a matter of putting things together. made the Padd Thai Ayuthiya so had made a sauce of tamarind, fish sauce, granualated sugar and brown sugar earlier in the day. a tin of small shrimp was opened and they were well rinsed as were capers. i did add minced flat-leaf parsleyand finished with lime wedges. the color was wonderful and the extra taste it added to the sauce was very unique. john really preferred this one to the Padd Thai Bang Gog i made earlier. served it with a small salad of mixed greens, thin sliced radishes and a dressing made with lime juice and enova oil.

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Jason is busy channing our Pad Thai after I did most of the prep for him. Ours contains:

  • thin bean thread noodle
    shrimp: dried and fresh
    fried tofu strips
    egg
    beef: leftover beef skewers from Chinese takeout :)
    scallion
    shallot
    carrots
    mushrooms: shitaki and black fungus
    crushed peanuts
    Pad Thai Sauce

The pad thai sauce consists of a store bought pad thai sauce, that we both felt was too sweet last time we used it. So, we doctored it up with some sriratcha, fish sauce, lime juice and tamarind. I bought tamarind in the form of pure tamarind candy (just the deseeded pulp) from a Phillapino store. I'd never had straight tamarind before, yum.

Well, dinner smells like it's almost ready, so pictures after we eat!

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Being that most people here seemed to be using rice stick noodles, I decided that we should do an alternative style of pad thai, which uses bean thread noodles.

gallery_2_4_6509.jpg

The mise-en-place

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Finished product in wok

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The plated noodles, topped with fresh bean sprouts, chopped peanuts and fried shallots.

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That was one of the best pad thais we'd ever made. The tamarind really added something to the sauce. Thanks for the inspiration, all.

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Wow, I can't say I was that thrilled about hearing pad thai being the next cookoff subject, I'm not really a fan of noodle dishes, but this thread has really gotten my attention, I will have to try. I do have some questions though.

I have never had pad thai noodles, so I know nothing of their texture. My two noodle options are either Shirataki or Yuba sheet noodles (tofu skin noodles). I'm sort of leaning towards the shirataki because they look more like the noodles everyone is using, and the yuba noodles are very chewy.

I have never seen picked radishes in the asian markets I frequent, but one that I really like just got in these jars (from thailand) of either pickled or fermented cabbage (not like kimchee) would this be a good addition?

Are these chile pastes made from dried or fresh chiles? I can pick up some bird chiles this weekend when the farmers market opens again, or I could get dried bird chiles at the co-op tomorrow. Do you use either the paste or fresh chiles, or can you use both? What about Huy Fong Chile Garlic Paste (basically Sriracha without the sugar)? I am thinking I might want to add some powdered dried bird chiles, make a paste from some fresh roasted chiles as a condiment, and top it off with some fresh unroasted serranos and bird chiles. I also might want to throw in just like a tablespoon of the chile paste for good measure.

I would love to add tamarind, but all of the tamarind I can find is loaded with sugar, is it just a naturally sugar-laden fruit or do the manufacturers add extra? To give it that sour tang what would I want to use instead of tamarind, just vinegar?

As for the fried tofu: I can't seem to find that either. Would I get the same effect just from draining some extra firm tofu and frying it up?

I am assuming the bean sprouts mentioned are mung bean sprouts, I can find those fresh I think, and they are pretty tasty, so that sound slike a good addition. Is there ever any greenery other than the cilantro though? I guess this is not the type of dish to toss in some bok-choy as it cooks?

I've taken to using pickled ginger I get at an Indian grocer for most of my ginger needs, and my intuitions says this would be OK for this, or would fresh be more the style? I could order dried galangal, but I have never seen it fresh anywhere around here. I suppose I should also get some fresh fish sauce while I'm at it, I've had the same bottle in the fridge for over a year now, not that I know if the stuff can even go bad...

What about the peanut factor, is it always just whole peanuts, or should I Grind some up or add some natural peanut butter too? What about coconut milk?

I am a total asian-food newbie here, I know I have lots of questions, just not sure where to even start with this one.

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