Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Hair, Lunch, Tasting, Shopping, Balcony

Well I had my $15 haircut and am a happy camper once again. Then we went out to lunch - I know you won't have a clue where!! Whilst there I checked on our Christmas booking and at first they were unable to find it then they did and I had been saying 6 and it was for 6:30. No wonder they couldn't find it. I guess we will be on our own as the couple who were joining us are going away instead. They were advertising for taste testers at the beginning of the year. I would love to do that, but it was too far away. How sad.  I taste as much as I can whilst there LOL.

Then we had run out of lamb chops which we both enjoy and as we were close to Costco's who have the best lamb chops round here, we nipped in there. Nipped is not an appropriate word. At this point I have to digress and mention that we were following my favourite car in the world, a Mercedes Sports Car. Saw the first one in France when I was 18. It was a gorgeous vehicle. Anyway, back to Costco where I traipsed all the way to the back where the meat is. Why do they put it so far away??? Matt gave up and went to the car. I got myself two packs of chops and left. The cashier commented "only one item" I said wasn't she surprised to see I had got out of there with so little; her response was they didn't want to
encourage such shopping habits LOL. By this time our legs were both hurting but we headed to the grocery store and bought the place up. Earned myself 28,000 points doing so mind you but it wasn't cheap or easy on the legs. By this time, having had my hair cut, I needed some cash so I went into the drug store, bought tube of toothpaste and asked for cash back. I had to type in the amount so I did and the cashier processed it. I had typed in 30 cents!!! So, went and got another tube of toothpaste and this time got my $30. What an idiot. Should have enough toothpaste for a while. By the time I got to the car I could just about walk. We were supposed to go the library but decided to skip that for today. By the time it was all brought up and put away we were knackered.

Then, lo and behold I looked out of the window and our balconies are finished and our windows have been washed (joke) they have, but they are covered with water marks and dusty streaks, but at least the concrete and paint have gone. No, we still cannot open our door, the inspector has to come and check. But, the end is nigh. They would never earn a cent as window cleaners though.

Apparently today, Tuesday, is Pad Thai Day. Dunno why but nothing loathe I thought I would find a recipe to share. This seems to be a pretty genuine recipe but who knows if you ain't from that neck of the woods.

Pad Thai  

This Pad Thai recipe is how you actually find it in Bangkok and comes from testing hundreds of different variations from food carts all over the city. Pad Thai is the ultimate street food. While "street food" may sound bad, food cart cooks are in such a competitive situation, with such limited space, ingredients and tools they need to specialize in a dish or two just to stay in business. The best of these cooks have cooked the same dish day-after-day, year-after-year, constantly perfecting it.

Great Pad Thai is dry and light bodied, with a fresh, complex, balanced flavor. It should be reddish and brownish in color.  Not bright red and oily like I've seen in the US. The ingredients listed below can be somewhat intimidating but many are optional. If you would like to make authentic Pad Thai, just like in Thailand, use all the ingredients.

Pad Thai is another perfect vegetarian dish, just omit shrimp and substitute soy sauce for fish sauce. Add more tofu if you like.

From street carts, you can also often find an older, more traditional version of Pad Thai made with
dried shrimp.

1/2 package Thai rice noodles
1-1/3 cup bean sprouts Optional
1/2 banana flower Optional
1-1/2 cup Chinese chives Optional
2 Tbs cooking oil
2 Tbs tamarind paste
2 Tbs sugar
1 minced shallots
1 Tbs preserved turnip Optional
1/3 cup extra firm tofu
1/2 lime
2 Tbs peanuts Optional
1/2-1/4 lb shrimp Optional
ground pepper
1/2 tsp ground dried chili pepper
3 cloves minced garlic
4 tsp fish sauce
1 egg

1. Shrimp can be substituted or omitted.

2. In this recipe, pre-ground pepper, particularly pre-ground white pepper is better than fresh ground pepper. For kids, omit the ground dried chili pepper.

3. Tamarind adds some flavor and acidity, but you can substitute white vinegar.

4. The type of super firm tofu or pressed called for this recipe can be found at most oriental groceries in a plastic bag, not in water. Some might be brown from soy sauce, but some white ones are also available. Pick whatever you like.

5. If you decide to include banana flower, cut lengthwise into sections (like orange sections). Rub any open cut with lime or lemon juice to prevent it from turning dark.

6. The original Pad Thai recipe calls for crushed roasted peanuts. Thailand is hot and humid and storage conditions are often sub-optimal, so a certain fungus can grow on peanuts. This fungus is linked to cancer, so many people in Thailand avoid eating peanuts.

7. 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.

8. Prepping

9. Start with soaking the dry noodles in lukewarm or room temperature water while preparing the other ingredients. Getting the noodles just right is the trickiest part of making Pad Thai. Make sure that the noodles are submerged in plenty of water. Check out Tips and Substitutions for in depth explanations. By the time you are ready to put ingredients in the pan, the noodles should be flexible but not mushy. Julienne tofu and cut into 1 inch long matchsticks. When cut, the super firm tofu/pressed tofu should have a mozzarella cheese consistency. You can fry the tofu separately until golden brown and hard, or you can fry with other ingredients below.

10. Cut the Chinese chives into 1 inch long pieces. Set aside a few fresh chives for a garnish. Rinse the bean sprouts and save half for serving fresh. Mince shallot and garlic together.

11. Cooking

12. Use a wok. If you do not have a wok, any big pot will do. Heat it up on high heat and pour oil in the wok. Fry the peanuts until toasted and remove them from the wok. The peanuts can be toasted in the pan without oil as well. Add shallot, preserved turnip, garlic and tofu and stir them until they start to brown. The noodles should be flexible but not expanded at this point.

13. Drain the noodles and add to the wok. Stir quickly to keep things from sticking. Add tamarind, sugar, fish sauce and chili pepper. Stir. The heat should remain high. If your wok is not hot enough, you will see a lot of juice in the wok at this point. Turn up the heat, if it is the case.

14. Make room for the egg by pushing all noodles to the side of the wok. Crack the egg onto the wok and scramble it until it is almost all cooked. Fold the egg into the noodles. The noodles should soft and chewy. Pull a strand out and taste. If the noodles are too hard (not cooked), add a little bit of water. When you get the right taste, add shrimp and stir. Sprinkle white pepper around. Add bean sprouts and chives. Stir a few more times. The noodles should be soft, dry and very tangled.

15. Pour onto the serving plate and sprinkle with ground pepper and peanuts. Serve hot with the banana flower slice, a wedge of lime on the side, raw Chinese chives and raw bean sprouts on top.

16. As always, in Thailand, condiments such as sugar, chili pepper, vinegar and fish sauce are available at your table for your personal taste. Some people add more chili pepper or sugar at the table.

Servings: 2 to 3


Have a great day


  1. I love Pad Thai.
    You'll have your balcony back soon!
    We don't have a Costco or Sam's membership. We'd be those people coming in for just one item and membership isn't worth it.

    1. Won't that be wonderful Alex.

      Used to belong to Sam's in New Bern. I love Costco for meat but you don't eat a lot of beef. Mind you their chicken is good too.

  2. I went grocery shopping yesterday too! Great minds think alike. I got home and no one else was there, so I had a trunk full of bags and had to carry them all in myself. I should have brought in the perishables and left the rest for the men, but I decided I spend most of the day on my bum (avoiding the American butt word), so a little extra exercise wouldn't kill me.

    1. I know but it is hard work Liz. We have to bring it up 5 floors, of of course we have elevators and a cart but it is still a lot. Yesterday it took 3 trips to bring it all up. Told you I bought the store.

  3. Walking all the way to the back of the store is a lot more steps though. I count steps on an app on my phone (my husband has a Fit Bit) and I don't mind wandering around a store because it will get me more steps.

    1. That's OK for the young and fit like you Diane, for me it can be somewhat painful unfortunately. Some days more than others of course.

  4. I'd be pooped from your day, as well. I think they put the meat in the back because that makes the folks walk all the way back there - hoping to catch the costumer eye, to maybe buy other things. Not sure if that's true, but it feels like it.

    1. I am sure that's the reason Ivy. Same as pharmacies are always at the back of the drug store.