Pad Thai and Green Papaya Salad

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Pad thai is traditional Thai dish full of wonderful flavours. A little spicy, a little salty, a little fishy and a little sour. This is recipe comes from One World Kitchen.

Pad thai gets its wonderful aroma from fresh tamarind and fish sauce. Tamarind pods grow on tree and are harvested and used for its sweet and tangy flesh. You can buy tamarind pods in specialty stores. They can also be found in paste and block form as well. Tamarind pods take the most effort to make paste so take that into account if use them. Here is a recipe for tamarind paste http://gustotv.com/recipes/sauces/tamarind-paste/.

To work with whole tamarind pods, you would need to remove the hard brown coating. Its similar to cracking peanuts. Remove the shell and stringy veins.
20151227_155212 20151227_160515Add the flesh to a bowl and cover with hot water (use less water if you want a thicker paste). Soak the flesh for at least 10 minutes.
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Once the tamarind has softened, put it in a sieve to remove the seeds and other fibrous tissues.

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Making Pad thai is tricky. I still have problems getting the noodles the right consistency. It either gets too soggy or is too dry. Pad thai sauce is also very hard to get right. There are tons of variations online. Even in restaurants, you get ones that use ketchup in their sauce. Here is a recipe from One World Kitchen http://gustotv.com/recipes/lunch/pad-thai/ that I found really delicious.

Begin by preparing all the ingredients for the pad thai. The cooking process can go quickly and you want to focus all your attention on cooking the noodles. Mince the garlic and cut the shallot. My version of the pad thai only included tofu but you can add ingredients such as chicken and shrimp. I chose a marinated extra firm tofu for this recipe.

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Start by pan frying the tofu in a well oiled wok or frying pan. You want to make sure the tofu get a nice brown crust. This will give a fantastic texture in you pad thai. Set the tofu aside until ready.

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Although many recipes get you to cook the eggs with the noodles, I like to pre-cook the eggs so I don’t have to worry about too many things while making the pad thai. Cook the eggs to be soft-scrambled. They will cook a bit more when you add it into the pad thai.

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In a separate bowl, combine the tamarind, fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar. Add more or less fish sauce and lime juice depending on your taste. You can also serve the pad thai with fish sauce and lime for guests to adjust their own noodles. Once the sauce is ready, you can start soaking your noodles.  Noodles can be tricky to choose but I prefer the thicker rice noodles (unfortunately I used a thinner one this time but it still worked out!).20151227_172527
Soak the rice noodles in luke-warm water. To test the noodles, take a strand and twirl it around your finger. If it just starts to bend around with just a bit of resistance, it is ready. If it breaks, soak it for a bit longer. I recommend soaking it for less if it is your first time making pad thai. It is always easier to add more water to the pan to cook the noodles.

20151227_173201Drain the noodles and have them on hand when ready. To the hot pan, add oil, shallots, garlic, tofu and eggs. (My sister can’t have eggs so I left it in a bowl so others can add it in their pad thai at the table).
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Once the garlic and shallots have cooked for about 2-3 minutes, add the noodles and keep stirring it to prevent sticking. You may need to add more oil and water depending on how cooked the noodles are.

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When ready, add your pad thai sauce. Keep stirring and tossing the noodles until it is just cooked.  Serve the pad thai with red chilis, chopped cilantro and peanuts.20151227_175004

For a refreshing side dish, we decided to make a papaya salad. The recipe can be found here http://gustotv.com/recipes/sides/papaya-snake-bean-salad-thai-dressing/

Instead if snake beans, I used green beans. I also could not find green papaya so instead, I found the most unripe yellow papaya. (It was a still pretty ripe and sweet.)

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Cut the tomatoes, beans and papaya. Add them into a large bowl.

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For the sauce, add the peanuts, garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, chilli peppers and palm sugar to a mortar. (I left out the dried shrimp.) Crush the ingredients until it has become a paste.

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Add the paste to the cut ingredients and give it a good stir. Serve by topping it with peanuts.

Thai food is delicious and fun to make! It is a bit of a challenge but is definitely worth the challenge. Enjoy!!

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Check out other recipes on our blog  https://eatitnoworeatitlater.com/recipes-list/

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