David asked for a pad Thai recipe - like what they serve for 20 baht at a little stand near the Tha Phae Gate in Chiang Mai (photo below). To-go orders are wrapped in banana leaf and newspaper. Here is a recipe for a classic lunch dish in Thailand.
For about two servings of pad Thai
· Fresh rice noodles or ¼” rice noodles soaked warm water 15 minutes
· 2-4 cloves garlic (crushed and chopped some
· ½ cup firm tofu cut in little strips
· 2 beaten eggs
· 2 or more T peanut oil (more oil improves taste)
· 1-2 handful bean sprouts, maybe also some finely shredded cabbage
· ½ cup water
· Green onions (3-4) cut into 1” pieces
· T fish sauce
· 2 T sugar (palm trad)
· 2 T tamarind juice or rice vinegar (tamarind better, I think)
· Some soy sauce – ideally ½ & ½ regular and sweet Indonesian
· In Thailand they often add a little or a lot little dried shrimp – I prefer fresh shrimp (6-8 ounces or more). You can also cook with pork or chicken.
· On the side: lime wedges,* sliced cucumber and shallot in cold water and vinegar with some sugar, chili powder,* crushed roasted peanut* (don’t be afraid to use more than restaurants), black pepper and lime Cambodian style, mint, basil, little "rat shit" chilis sliced in fish sauce with lime juice & maybe a little sugar,* & anything else you can think of.
* = essential
Set up all the ingredients in bowls in the order they’ll be added.
Heat oil – hot, but not smoking. Wok is best (more hot surface), but anything okay.
· Add tofu, shrimp (shrimp is done when it turns pink)
· Add noodles, then water
· Cook until noodles soft (just a minute or so)
· Add nam pla, tamarind or vinegar, sugar, soy & cook stirring for a minute or so
· Push everything to the side of the wok, add a little more oil and soft-scramble the egg & onion together and flop the other stuff on top of the egg & onion, mix it around some and serve with peanuts over (and on the side) and bean sprouts (just a few sprouts for me, thanks) and cabbage if you have it.
As you can see, it's a little complicated if you cook it once or twice, but much less so if you make it more frequently.