Perfect Shrimp Pad Thai

Seventy-five years ago, when Phibun decided to give Thailand’s culture a makeover by decree, pad Thai was a recipe that had yet to be introduced into the country’s cuisine. Rice with chili paste, leaves, and salt were the staple, subsistence food at the time, and Thai people bought meals from Chinese food vendors.

The exact origins of pad Thai remain disputed to this day. According to some, Plaek Phibunsongkhram announced a competition to create a new, national dish. Phibun’s son, however, went on record to say that his family prepared the dish well before Phibun ever actually made it government policy, but could not recall who specifically was responsible for its initial creation.

The dish’s roots are Chinese, and its full name is kway teow phat Thai. Translated from a Chinese dialect called Hokkein, kway teow means rice noodles. The entire name means stir-fried rice noodles Thai-style. Noodles and stir-frying are predominantly Chinese, and it was likely immigration that introduced the practice to Siam. Flavors like tamarind, palm sugar, and chilies were the Thai’s subsequent influence on the dish over time.

By publicizing the pad Thai recipe, Phibun turned one potential take on stir-fried noodles into a national dish. It was his belief that by doing so, pad Thai would improve the diet of a people who primarily lived off of rice, and that cooking pad Thai in clean pans would improve national hygiene.

More than anything, it was Phibun’s hope to unify the country by promoting a uniquely Thai dish. Despite its Chinese origins, pad Thai stood out greatly from the variety of wet or dry noodle dishes sold by Chinese vendors. It was part of Phibun’s nation-building strategy to develop “Thai-ness” and impose a “Thai Great Tradition.”

Within several years, vendors selling pad Thai filled Thailand’s streets. Phibun’s son called it “Thailand’s first fast food.”

In summary, the popularization of pad Thai was the work of a military dictator who survived multiple coups, World War II, and who believed that his political future, as well as the future of his country, were both at stake.

And now, without further ado, I give you this American’s take on a Chinese influenced Thai tradition. I put a lot of thought into this recipe, and took special care to ensure that I kept its ingredients as authentic as possible (no peanut butter or ketchup). I hope that you enjoy the final product as much as I did!


Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 23 minutes, approximately

Total Time: 1 hour, approximately

Serves: 4


Ingredients

  • 14 ounces stir-fry rice noodles (I used the Thai Kitchen brand located in the “International Foods” section of the grocery store)

  • 2 beaten eggs

  • ¼ cup fish sauce

  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar

  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • 2 tablespoons sriracha sauce

  • ¼ cup coconut milk

  • 5 ½ tablespoons toasted sesame oil

  • 12 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • 1 cup diced firm tofu

  • 1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms

  • 1 cup bean sprouts

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic

  • ¼ cup diced shallots

  • 4 fresh jalapenos, seeded and diced

  • ¼ cup unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped (I actually used walnuts)

  • ½ cup diagonally sliced green onions

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves


Directions

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Place noodles in a large pot or bowl and cover with the boiling water. Allow noodles to soak for 8 to 10 minutes or until noodles are soft but firm. Drain and rinse under cold, running water for 30 seconds. Drain well and set aside.

rice noodles

In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, sriracha, and coconut milk, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.

pad thai sauce

In a wok, heat ½ tablespoon of sesame oil over medium-high heat. Just before the oil is smoking, add the egg, stirring constantly until set. Set aside in small bowl.

Next, heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Just before the oil is smoking, add the garlic, shallots, and jalapeno and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until the shallots and jalapeno are tender, stirring frequently.

shallot mixture

In the wok, heat the remaining 4 tablespoons of sesame oil over medium-high heat. Just before the oil is smoking, add the shrimp and cook until pink, stirring constantly. Add the cooked shallot mixture, tofu, mushrooms, and bean sprouts and cook for 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms and sprouts are tender.

shrimp

Add the reserved noodles and egg and stir until all ingredients are combined. Pour the sauce mixture into the wok and toss until well distributed. Cook for approximately 5 minutes, or until the mixture begins to steam and simmer. Add the peanuts and green onions and cook an additional minute.

Remove the wok from the heat and season with the lime juice and cilantro. Serve hot.

Enjoy!

Shrimp Pad Thai

Perfect Shrimp Pad Thai

Regret

In this moment of silence

Don’t pity me my pain

It’s here in isolation

I fall on your disdain

For all that pulls me under

I know there is a Hell

There’s nothing I know better

I know it all so well

Shamed into my solitude

And left with little care

Lost within my speechless grief

My glorious despair

I had hope and I believed

But yet the sun still set

And darkness fell upon me

To bathe me in regret

Carry On

Try to find the strength you need. To calm the doubts in your belief. If you’ve the will, you know your spirit will not break.

If you have strength, then you’ve belief. If you show love, your heart still beats. You’re never quite as lost as you may think.

Though far from shores you’ve yet to reach. Without a star to cross the sea. No avenues of light to guide you to the answers you can’t see.

Seeking fortitude of heart and mind. But who can guide the lost and blind? And who but you can make in Hell yourself a Heaven?

Face your fears, and face your shame. Face the idols you have made. And raze them back unto the dust from which they came.

Be not a servant of the weak. Be the light and change you seek. Leave no stone unturned, and find the strength to carry on.

Hot and Fiery Lamb Masala

Masala is a word of Indian origin, meaning mixture of spices. For instance, the term “garam masala” literally means a “hot mixture of spices”, and is a combination of ground roasted cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cardamom, cloves, and other spices.


Prep: 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 40 Minutes

Yield: 4 Servings


Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of ghee* or 1 tablespoon of sunflower oilSunflower Oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped

Onion

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

Cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

Coriander

  • 2 bay leaves

Bay Leaves

  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns, lightly crushed

Whole Black Peppercorns

  • 3 teaspoons mild paprika

Paprika

  • 1-2 teaspoons hot chili powder

Chili Powder

  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Minced Garlic Cloves

  • 2 inch (5cm) piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped

Ginger

  • 1 x 26-28oz (750g) jar or can of crushed tomatoes or tomato purée

Crushed Tomato

  • 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Heavy Cream

  • 1/2 cup cashews, ground

Ground Cashews

  • 10oz (300g) leftover roast lamb, coarsely shredded or sliced

Roasted Lamb

  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sea Salt and Pepper


1. Heat the ghee in a large, deep frying pan over low heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until soft. Now add the cumin, coriander, bay leaves, peppercorns, paprika, and chili powder while stirring. Cook for a couple of minutes longer until fragrant.

2. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a few more seconds while stirring. Pour in the crushed or puréed tomatoes, cream and nuts. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat slightly, and add the lamb. Simmer for 25-30 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Masala

3. Serve hot over basmati rice with a crisp green salad on the side.

Masala Over Basmati

Variation: Stir in some fresh spinach or 1 cup of frozen peas, thawed, for the last 5-10 minutes of cooking.


*Ghee is clarified butter that is used in Indian cooking. You will find it in specialty Asian markets and it will give your masala an authentic touch.

Roasted Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary


Prep: 15 Minutes

Total Time: 2 Hours 40 Minutes

Yield: 8 Servings


Ingredients

  • 1 (7-pound) semi-boneless leg of lamb
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Additional Items

  • Roasting Pan
  • Meat Thermometer
    unnamed


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Pat the lamb dry and score fat by making shallow cuts all over with the tip of a sharp, small knife.
  3. Pound garlic cloves into a paste with the sea salt using a mortar and pestle or meat tenderizer. Stir together with rosemary and pepper.
  4. Put the lamb in a lightly oiled roasting pan and rub your paste all over it (top and bottom). Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.IMG_0954
  5. Roast the lamb in the middle of your oven for 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 hours until a meat thermometer inserted two (2) inches into the thickest part of the meat (be mindful not to touch the bone) registers 130°F. unnamed
  6. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand for 15 – 25 minutes before carving. For medium-rare, the internal temperature will rise to about 140°F.

* Enjoy!*

Want to know what to do with those leftovers? Take a look at my new recipe for Hot and Fiery Lamb Masala!

Double Chocolate Malted Milk Biscotti

A big favorite amongst chocolate lovers, people of all ages will go for this candy-infused version of the biscotti. 


Prep: 30 minutes

Bake: 25 minutes at 325°F + 16 minutes at 325°F

Cool: 1 hour

Makes: 36 cookies


Ingredients:

For the biscotti

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup malted milk powder (I used Nestle Ovaltine Chocolate Malt Flavored Milk Additive for this recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped malted milk balls (Whoppers)
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate pieces

For the dipping chocolate

  • 8 ounces bittersweet baking chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter

For the biscotti:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F . Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl stir together flour, cocoa powder, malted milk powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; set aside. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, sugar, melted butter, and vanilla. Add egg mixture to the flour mixture; stir until dough starts to form a ball. Stir in malted milk balls and chocolate pieces (dough will be crumbly). Knead the dough until it comes together.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a 10 inch log and place about 3 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet; flatten slightly to about 2 inches wide.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet on a wire rack for at least 1 hour. Biscotti 2 - The Cosmic Kitchen
  5. Transfer logs to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut each log diagonally into 1 inch slices. Place slices, cut sides down, on cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 8 minutes. Turn slices over; bake for 8 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack; cool. (Cookies will crisp as they cool.)

For the dipping chocolate:

  1. In a heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water, stir and melt the chocolate and butter together until combined.
  2. When the biscotti have cooled, dip the bottoms in the melted chocolate, then allow to set, lying on their sides on baking paper.

Biscotti - The Cosmic Kitchen

Here Comes the Night

Here comes the night

Like a dream, like an endless sea

I drift away, lost in an ocean of me


Don’t need to take your hand

Nothing to lose

I’ll face these fears, like I know I should


And I, I refuse to close my eyes

Traverse the hellfires of my mind

Follow my heart back to shores

I left behind


There is an end

In your dreams, where it’s always been

Where the skies can clear and hearts can mend


And I, I refuse to run and hide

Will not give up and say goodbye

I will dry these tears and find

A place that’s mine


Here comes the night