Sunday, October 3, 2010

Intrepid International Marketgoing and Practically Perfect Pad Thai

The finished product!  Find out how I got here...
On another great suggestion from Shannon (thanks again!), I found myself in one of Winnipeg’s unique local marketplaces.  This time, I went to Young’s Asian Market in search of ingredients for what stated would be perfect authentic Pad Thai, minus the plane ticket to the former Siam.

Now, I’ve been to asian markets before for things like fish sauce, red bean paste, and those delicious lotus root steamed buns.  Mmm.  Every time, though, I feel like I’m rubbernecking as I walk up and down each aisle.  Everything is so different, so brightly packaged, and covered in characters I don’t recognize… it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed!!  Luckily, I knew exactly what I needed: fish sauce, tamarind paste, rice noodles, and cilantro (yes, I bought the fresh stuff).  

Noodles galore!
Despite the crowded shelves and jam-packed aisles, I found everything I needed in short order.  I also bought a small package of udon noodles to try out… I love their thick, soft, doughy texture.  I also grabbed a package of adorable Thai chilies… sometimes a squirt of sriracha just isn’t the same as slicing up one of these puppies and tossing it in a dish.  Overall I was super-pleased with my purchases and the pleasantness of the staff.  I really wish I was better at recognizing spoken Asian languages, or else I could have practiced what little I know with my cheerful cashier.

The spoils!!
Back at home, I tackled this recipe from  I’ve made homemade pad thai before, under the tutelage of my half Thai, half Laotian former college roommate.  However, her (admittedly delicious) family recipe did not involve tamarind.  I know this to be the key to authentic pad thai, and thanks to Young’s, I could now forge ahead.  

The recipe was fantastic, and amazingly simple to follow.  I deviated in that I put the chicken in the marinade several hours prior, before going out for the rest of the ingredients.  Also, neither Young’s nor Superstore had any bean sprouts, so I just doubled the amount of green onion and sautéed the white and light-green sliced portions along with the chicken.  Lastly, since I only used one chicken breast, I tossed in a handful of frozen shrimp during the chicken-cooking stage.  Everything else was followed quite closely, with a stunningly delicious result and enough leftovers for a lunch!

I strongly suggest giving this pad thai a shot.  For a recipe that serves two, it comes out WAY cheaper than ordering in.  Last note: if any of my fellow coworkers is reading and wants to try this recipe out, let me know… I’d be happy to bequeath you some tamarind paste and/or fish sauce.  I have tons now, and few other recipes to use it in!!

Thaan aahaan hâi aràwi ná khá! (Enjoy your meal!)

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