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2 Thumbs Up for Pad Thai in Bangkok Streets - Recipe Included

Pad thai is one of the most common dish not only in Thailand but in the world, this is probably the grandeur of Thai food, perhaps second only to Tom Yum Goong. My wife and Bayaning Boyet (our exceptional tour guide and a friend) tried the authentic one in Rambuttri area runs parallel to Khao San. It’s was a quick street food delight, a little sweet, a little spicy and absolutely sensational!
Looking at the vendor, seems like very easy to prepare but it’s not. Making our own at home needs careful attention, from ingredients, preparation and cooking.  Pad thai deserves to be the best in respect to its history, by all means do not put ketchup on it!


Ready to Cook?   Here’s a grab recipe from traditional Thai Cooking

Ingredients
1/2 quartered banana flower
2 cups bean sprouts
5-6 cut Chinese chives - green
1/3 cup dried shrimp
1 egg
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground dried chili pepper ground pepper
1 lime
2 tablespoons toasted and crushed peanuts
2 tablespoons chopped preserved turnip
1 chopped shallots
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
1/2 packet Thai rice noodles
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1/3 cup julienne

Pressed Tofu Tips and Techniques
One of the big challenges with Pad Thai's measurements is that the flavor densities and characteristics of the 3 core flavor ingredients: fish sauce, tamarind and lime juice vary greatly from brand to brand and purchase to purchase. Plus the salt content of your fish sauce, dried shrimp and preserved turnips will likely differ from ours. You will need to taste this as you're making it and keep the 3 flavors, salty, sweet and sour, in balance to your liking. Substitute paprika for ground dried chili pepper, if you don't like hot food.

Prepping
Soak noodles in lukewarm water for 15 minutes while prepping. When it is ready it should be flexible but not soft. Toast peanuts in a pan until lightly brown, about 3 minutes on low heat. Coarsely grind peanuts with pestle and mortar. Chop garlic, shallot and preserved turnip (if it's not already chopped). Cut the Chinese chives tips off leaving 6 inch of the chives whole for garnish. Cut the rest into 1-inch pieces for cooking. Quarter banana flower lengthwise and immediately rub the cut with lime juice to prevent it from turning dark. 

Cooking
Use a wok or a large pot for easy stirring. Heat up your wok. You want good heat to the wok, but not necessarily extreme heat like other dishes. Add oil to the wok. Drop the chopped shallots and garlic in. Stir for half a minute then drop tofu and preserved turnip in. Let the tofu brown, about 1 minute. Add the drained noodles and ground dried chili pepper. Stir to separate the strands. If your noodles are ready, you will see that they will cook easily and become soft and chewy. However, if your noodles are still hard and inflexible, they have not been soaked long enough. Add more water in wok, a tablespoon at a time. It is not a bad idea when you make pad Thai for the first time, to have your noodles under-soaked. You'll have more time to correct the flavors. If your noodles are over-soaked, you won't be able to keep on cooking and stirring while making the adjustments; your noodles will turn mushy. When the noodles are ready, add the seasonings, ground chili pepper, fish sauce, sugar and tamarind. Stir to mix them well. Add dried shrimp. Keep the noodles turning to get the seasonings in. Taste to see if you need more seasonings. Add them now.

Remember that the noodles should have strong flavors because they will be diluted by egg, bean sprouts and Chinese chives at the end. But also remember that, it's a personal choice to add more sugar, fish sauce, lime or chili pepper at the table. When the noodles are cooked and chewy with desired seasonings, push the noodles aside to make room for egg. Crack and drop the egg in. Scramble the egg into the noodles.When the egg is cooked, add half of the bean sprouts (save the other half for garnish) and Chinese chives. Stir quickly to preserve the crunchiness of bean sprouts and green color of the Chinese chives. Pour the pad Thai onto a serving plate. Garnishing: Sprinkle with ground pepper and chopped peanuts. Garnish with banana flower, beansprouts, Chinese chives and a wedge of lime. Serve with condiments: sugar, fish sauce and dried ground pepper.

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