easy pad thai and thoughts

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

I’ve recently been thinking a lot about this blog and what direction I want to take it -and my life- in. It’s the end of a very good year for P and me and I want to work hard to continue that. One thing is for sure- I want to put more bits of our daily life here so we can use this as more of a visual memory vault which was one of my original goals when I started this blog. I have lots of good ideas for 2012 and since I am going back to work full-time starting mid-January (I know, it’s about damn time but this not working pursuing creative outlets is sooo fuunnn) one of my challenges will be keeping up this blog while  immersing myself in an awesome organization, while still figuring out my life’s path. I like a challenge though and find that I am most fulfilled when I’m really busy doing several worthwhile things. One of the best decisions I’ve made (after the decision to link up fo’ life with P) is starting a blog and I intend on continuing to grow it.

Now that we live in a former British colony we get the day after Christmas off (Boxing Day…yay!). We stayed in and made the cookie sandwiches from yesterday, pad thai for lunch, and were on schedule to cook a gourmet dinner but then did something sinful/wonderful/awful and got spicy chicken sandwiches from McDonald’s drive thru instead. Then we watched Midnight in Paris which was quite good, despite my disgust for Woody. I was even going to make us cheers with our chicken burgers but it slipped my mind.

An aside about McDonald’s: I suppose a sophisticated thing to state on one’s blog is something like “Biking around Paris in the spring is incomparable” or “Weinachtsmarkts in Berlin are just to die for daahling” or “The Hammams in Istanbul just get you cleaner than anywhere else.”   Instead, I would like to solemnly and without shame proclaim that South African McDonald’s Spicy Chicken Sandwiches are more delicious than any McDonald’s chicken sandwich anywhere else. I guess the big-wigs at McD’s decided that other people JUST CAN’T HANDLE IT and when we leave here I’ll have no reason to ever go to McDonald’s again (which is a good thing, I’m fully aware).

Here is a recipe for easy pad thai that we ate yesterday. Adapted from my hero, Mark Bittman.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love


4 oz/110 grams rice stick noodles
1/4 cup peanut oil
2 to 4 tablespoons tamarind paste
1/4 cup fish sauce (nam pla)
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 African bird’s eye chili, chopped
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 eggs
3 1/2 oz or 100grams mung bean sprouts
10 oz or about 300grams pressed tofu, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup peanuts or cashews, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 limes, quartered.

First soak your rice stick noodles in really hot water until not quite completely soft. If your tap doesn’t spurt hot water then bring water to a boil, remove from heat and add noodles. It should take about 5 minutes. They don’t need to be completely soft at the end because you’re going to saute them later. Mix together the fish sauce, honey, vinegar and tamarind paste with a fork or whisk (if your tamarind paste is chunky you might want to use a food processor) and heat on low in a small sauce pan. Heat oil on big frying pan on medium high heat until shimmering, add garlic and chili and fry for one minute. Add  tofu and fry until it turns brown. I add in a few dashes of fish sauce at this point as well. It should take less than ten minutes. Add your noodles and the sauce you were heating and mix around. Crack into the two eggs, breaking them up and coating everything. Add all but a just a small bit of your scallions, cashews, and bean sprouts. Cook and taste, adding fish sauce or vinegar as necessary. Turn off heat and mix in cilantro. Serve immediately and garish with cashews, cilantro, and sprouts.

2 thoughts on “easy pad thai and thoughts

  1. Thanks for sharing. I also LOVE Mark Bittman. I am in serious need of a new edition of “how to cook everything” because it is falling to pieces. And I also love Pad Thai, one of my favorite dishes that I discovered and grew to love in Singapore.

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