October 23, 2020

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From the Kitchen: A taste of Thailand | Food & Dining

I went down a Thailand path a few years ago when I had the advantage of tasting Thai barbecued ribs and a Thai tomato salad at a cooking demonstration in an out-of-state Publix supermarket.

I gave those recipes here at the time. Now I have another. This one for Pad Thai.

The dish is a rice noodle stir-fry, a very popular street food in Thailand. However, you don’t have to go there to enjoy it. The excellent Thai restaurants in our area have introduced it to many of us.

I always thought the Pad might be one of those that called for fussy ingredients such as lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, Thai basil, tamarind paste and the like.

Upon closer look, I discovered the Pad Thai recipe wasn’t anything but my longtime fried rice recipe, using rice noodles instead of rice.

It called for the very same ingredients I stir-fry for my rice — carrots, onion, garlic, bell pepper, egg, and a sauce. The only exception is my use of cooked rice and teriyaki sauce. This recipe is very down-to-earth with ingredients you can pronounce and locate easily. It’s meatless, as is my fried rice, but you can add chicken, shrimp, tofu or any protein you would like.

I ditched the rice noodles and went with (close your eyes Chow Thai restaurant if you are reading this) ramen noodles.

Yes, the culinary lifeblood of a multitude of college students. Ramen. Made in three minutes.

But one note about fancy-schmancy ingredients. Southridge Walmart a couple weeks ago had in its possession fresh Thai basil, fresh lemongrass and fresh whole tamarind.

Tamarind is a brown, pod-like fruit containing a sweet and tangy pulp. It lends that just-right tart tone to many Thai recipes.

If you want to cook with tamarind, the Asian Market in South Charleston has canned tamarind concentrate at a very reasonable price.

But we aren’t going there with today’s recipe that offers a simple approach to something tasty.

A trip to your local grocery will have you in clover regarding ingredients for making this Pad Thai. By the way, the Kroger brand of Pad Thai sauce is great. You don’t have to make your own.

Tired yet of squash? I hope not because I have a creamy offering featuring yellow squash that can ride shotgun as a side to the Pad Thai.

Sour cream, heavy cream and butter transforms the squash into a blended smooth and palate-pleasing casserole. It might have everyone going back for seconds.

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