National Dish of Thailand Pad Thai
|dried rice noodles||12 oz.|
|distilled white vinegar||½ cup|
|fish sauce||¼ cup|
|salt||1 ½ tsp.|
|peanuts (coarsely ground)||1 cup|
|bean sprouts||2 cups|
|tamarind paste||2 tbsp.|
|vegetable oil||1 tbsp.|
|chives (chopped)||½ cup|
|boneless, skinless chicken breasts (sliced into strips)||2|
|lime (cut into wedges)||1|
|minced garlic||1 ½ tsp.|
Pad Thai is a stir-fry noodle dish that is iconic in Thai cuisine. The dish originated during World War II when a rice shortage forced the government to promote noodles as a substitute. Today, rice noodles are used in the dish. Originally, pork was not used in Pad Thai because it was considered to be Chinese meat.
Directions for Preparing Pad Thai
- Soak the rice noodles in a bowl of water for about one (1:00) hour.
- Drain and set aside.
- Add ½ cup of white sugar to a saucepan.
- Add the fish sauce, vinegar and tamarind paste to the sugar, then whisk them all together over medium heat.
- Bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat and set aside.
- Heat one tablespoon of oil in a clean wok, then add the chicken strips and cook for about seven (0:07) minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the heat when cooked and set aside.
- Heat another tablespoon of oil in the wok and sauté the minced garlic in the oil.
- Add the eggs and scramble them.
- When the eggs are cooked, add the chicken strips and rice noodles.
- Toss to combine.
- Add the tamarind sauce mixture and 1 ½ tablespoon of white sugar.
- Season the Pad Thai with salt and toss to combine once more.
- Cook for about five (0:05) minutes until the noodles are tender.
- Stir in the peanuts and cook for an additional two (0:02) minutes.
- Transfer the Pad Thai to a serving dish.
- Garnish with bean sprouts, chives, lime wedges, and paprika.
Regional cuisines and historical influences
Thai cuisine is more accurately described as five regional cuisines, corresponding to the five main regions of Thailand:
Bangkok: the cuisine of the Bangkok metropolitan area, with Teochew and Portuguese influences. In addition, as a capital city, Bangkok’s cuisine is sometimes influenced by more dedicated royal cuisine. The tastes and looks of food in Bangkok have changed somewhat over time as they have been influenced by other cuisines such as Asian, European, or Western countries.
Central Thai: cuisine of the flat and wet central rice-growing plains, site of the former Thai kingdoms of Sukhothai and Ayutthaya, and the Dvaravati culture of the Mon people from before the arrival of Siamese in the area. Coconut milk is one of the major ingredients used in Central Thai cuisine.
Isan or northeastern Thai: the cuisine of the more arid Khorat Plateau, similar in culture to Laos and also influenced by Khmer cuisine. The best-known ingredient is probably fermented fish.
Northern Thai: the cuisine of the cooler valleys and forested mountains of the Thai highlands, once ruled by the former Lanna Kingdom and home of Lannaese, the majority of northern Thailand. This cuisine shares a lot of ingredients with Isan.
Southern Thai: the cuisine of the Kra Isthmus which is bordered on two sides by tropical seas, with its many islands and including the ethnic Malay, former Sultanate of Pattani in the deep south. Some food is based on Hainanese and Cantonese influences.