TRADITIONAL PHUKET´S DISH: PAD THAI.
Although today we associate pad Thai sauce with tamarind, in this authentic recipe from southern Thailand, the tartness comes instead from a combination of rice vinegar and lime juice. Traditionally, pad Thai was made this way, without tamarind, and versions of this original formula can still be found in various regions of Thailand, most notably here in Phuket. They tell us that this dish was an invention from the middle of the 20th century. Pad Thai was created at the time of the dictatorship of Plaek Pibulsonggram, known as Phibun, who ruled Thailand for two periods: 1938-1944 and 1948-1957. The goal in creating it was to make Thai culture known, to make a dish that would please palates around the world. In fact, at this same time, the country had changed its name for the first time, from Siam to Prathet Thai. Later, in 1949, it was renamed as it is today, Thailand. There was a shortage of rice, so rice noodles gained more strength in various dishes, the creativity and ingenuity of various cooks resulted in Pad Thai as we know it today.
250g Thai rice noodles (or enough for 2 people)
10 to 15 medium raw shrimp (shells removed)
1 boneless chicken breast (or 1 to 2 thighs, cut into small pieces)
1.5 tbsp. soy sauce
3 to 4 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 to 2 fresh red or green chilies (to taste, finely sliced)
1 teaspoon grated ginger
4 green onions (sliced)
2 C. bean sprouts
1/3 c. dry roasted unsalted peanuts (chopped)
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 lime (sliced, to serve)
For the Pad Thai Sauce:
1/3 c. good chicken broth
3 tbsp. rice vinegar (or white vinegar)
1 tablespoon. lime juice
3 to 4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
1 tablespoon. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. Cayenne pepper
Put the minced chicken in a bowl and mix with soy sauce (1.5 tablespoons). We put it aside. Combine the ‘Pad Thai Sauce’ ingredients in a mug, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Rinse the rice noodles and cook for about 6 minutes, or until soft enough to fold easily, but still firm and a bit crisp when you try to eat them (al dente). Drain and rinse the noodles briefly under cold water to prevent sticking. Set aside. Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle oil and stir, then add the garlic, chili, and galangal/ginger. Saute for 1 minute. Add the chicken and sauté for 2 minutes.
Add shrimp, continuing to stir until pink and chicken is opaque (2 to 3 minutes). When the pan is dry, add 1 or 2 tbsp. of pad thai sauce, enough to keep ingredients well fried. Push ingredients to the side of the pan (if the pan is dry, drizzle a little oil). Crack the egg in the center and quickly sauté to stir. Add the noodles plus 3 to 4 Tbsp. of pad thai sauce. Using two utensils, lift and turn noodles with other ingredients. Continue this way, adding more sauce every minute or two, until everything has been added and the noodles are delicious and a bit sticky (8 to 10 minutes). Chop the bean sprouts and green onion. Remove from heat and taste test, adding more fish sauce until desired flavor is achieved (we usually end up adding 1 tablespoon). We serve on individual plates and add a quarter of lime as a garnish and sprinkle with a small mound of chopped peanuts.
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