Ahhh! The smell of Pad Thai cooking in the kitchen lab makes me reminiscent of my foodie adventures in Thailand. The reason I travel a lot is because in class I want to teach recipes that are as authentic as possible.
Our lesson was Thai cuisine and one of the dishes the students had to prepare was Pad Thai. It is stir fried rice noodles with shrimps or Pat Tai Gung Sot in Thai.
Authentic Pad Thai is light in color and uses fish sauce which is why I frown upon recipes with the dark color of soy sauce. Fish sauce is a favorite Southeast Asian condiment. It is patis to Filipinos, nuoc cham to the Viets, and it is called nam pla in Thailand.
Pad Thai is street food…so let me take you back to my wandering days in the streets of Bangkok. I tried to interview a sidewalk vendor on her secrets in making great Pad Thai. She didn’t speak much English so she signaled me to watch instead.
Ingredients: Fish sauce, palm sugar, tamarind juice, cilantro, lime or lemon wedges, dried shrimp, fresh shrimp, dried Thai chili, garlic, chopped roasted peanuts and flat rice noodles (as seen in left photo)
Procedure: Scramble an egg and set aside. Stir-fry in peanut oil minced garlic, (julienne) red onions, peeled and cleaned fresh shrimp or pre-soaked dried shrimp, and (julienne) carrots. Add tamarind concentrate in a little water, then fish sauce and palm sugar. Let it simmer a little.
An authentic Pad Thai recipes calls for the use of nam pla and tamarind juice concentrate (available in Asian groceries). Thai people also love to sprinkle their dishes with crispy fried shallots (hawm daeng).