Thursday, April 29, 2010

#CAFB Food Blogger Project Day 4: "Sort Of" Pad Thai

So a few days ago, Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon from the Austin American Statesman paid us a visit to talk to us about the food blogger project, just in time to sample one of our more, um, daring recipes we made this week.

Jorge interviewed us on camera and took some shots of us cooking our dish for the night, which was probably your average run of the mill day for him, but for us it was pretty exciting and somewhat nerve-
wracking. The final cut of the video should be out early next week and we will definitely be posting in on the site. (Everyone should check out my mad knife skills, courtesy of the knife skills class Han got me for my birthday...)

Well so far all of our recipes have stayed pretty true to the original dishes, mainly because we were able to get key ingredients that we needed from our stash, such as rice and flour. Today, we posed a question of what happens when you don't get everything you need and you need to make some rather drastic substitutions?

Case in point: families who receive supplements from the Capital Area Food Bank gene
rally don't get any rice noodles (although understandably so...). So what's a recently-immigrated Asian family to do if they want some pad thai?

We looked at the ingredient list and thought that, while some suspension of disbelief might be necessary, we just might be able to make a half-decent pad thai dish out of everything.

  • 1/2 package of Spaghetti (cooked)
  • 1 can of mixed vegetables
  • 1 can of mushrooms
  • 2 eggs
  • Oyster sauce
  • Fish sauce
  • Sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 10 leaves basil (from our garden)
  • 1 tbsp Canola oil
  • 1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, crushed
At this point, I'd like to make a quick note that oyster sauce and fish sauce are both very common Thai ingredients and we are working under the assumption that these are ingredients a recently-immigrated family would keep stocked.

Anyways, the first step we did was to heat the canola oil in a wok for a minute or so. Break the eggs into the wok and scramble lightly until mostly cooked. Add the minced garlic and mix. Mix in the spaghetti and stir fry until the egg is mixed in well. Add in the mushrooms and
vegetables and keep mixing!

Next comes the actual seasoning. Many Thai dishes have three common ingredients, each with its own distinct flavor - sugar (sweet), oyster sauce (savory), and fish sauce (umami??)

Together they combine to make the distinctly "Thai" flavor that you may recognize, and the ratio of the three can really make a big difference in the way the dish tastes. Try and experiment til you find a combination you like!

As for us, we generally like it heavy on the fish sauce, with about 3 or 4 "globs" of oyster sauce, and about a tablespoon of sugar. Just dump the ingredients right on the dish and keep stir-frying until it's dissolved.

Lastly, tear up the basil leaves and mix in to the pad thai. If you happen to have some bean sprouts lying around, you can add them here too. Sprinkle the crushed peanuts on the dish and you're ready to serve.

The result? Something that looks absolutely nothing like pad thai! But in total honesty it tasted pretty good. For sure the spaghetti in place of rice noodles was pretty weird, and of course our distaste for canned vegetables has already been well documented, but the mushrooms were actually pretty good, and if we had added some chicken or shrimp, I think this definitely could have been something.

Check back soon for our final post for the project!


Austin Epicurean said...

Very Nice! As everyone knows, I love me some pad thai . . . and this is a great example of how simple cooking can be.

Anonymous said...