HOW TO MAKE AUTHENTIC PAD THAI & TOM KHA GAI
Amongst my many days spent soaking up the sun, dipping in the infinity pool and opting for yet another Thai massage I found myself feeling, well, HUNGRY. Obviously that comes at no surprise, seeing as this IS in fact a food blog focused and centred around the most important thing in our daily life…MEALS! Having been traveling with my lovely parents, (whom I had not see for the last 8 months… translation SPOILED) we found ourselves staying at what may have been the most luxurious hotel (private villa) I have ever stayed in. Yes the location was all fine and dandy, but come on everyone knows that it’s the food that makes or breaks a resort…All I can say is, well done Pavilions, you really outdid yourself on this one. From tropical “juice of the day” features to proper banana pancakes and tremendous Thai food, there really was no going wrong… Like ever. Now all praise aside, I made an opening in my VERY busy vacation schedule (right between lounging and turning over) when our fav restaurant (where we had been dining all week) was offering a traditional Thai cooking class.
Long story short, dieters, y’all should be thanking me for skipping my daily massage and opting for something a little more Dim Sum Diet approved! Yet again, The Pavilions provided nothing short of perfection, not to mention a few AMAZING recipes for the books!
During the cooking class we learned how to prepare Tom Kha Gai which is a chicken and coconut soup. The flavours were absolutely amazing! With fresh lemongrass, cilantro root (or coriander root for you non-North Americans) combined with the coconut milk and citrusy lemon juice, you will seriously be licking the bowl dry! Now this soup does have big chunks of galangal (a Thai type of ginger) along with a whole cilantro root to flavour the broth! You may not want to eat these strong herbs, but the Thai’s have no problem with it! They believe that eating all of the fresh herbs and garnishes promotes good health! So really it’s up to you! The broth is to die for, but try a few of the fragrant herbs, it might be just what you’re looking for.
We also learned how to make traditional Pad Thai. I know I know, no one is mad about that. First off, it was AMAZING. Second off, it was actually really easy! Once you have all the ingredients prepped you can whip this dish up fast!
So up first!
Tom Kha Gai (coconut soup)
- 1 Chicken Breast
- 1 Cup Coconut Milk
- 1/2 Cup Chicken Stock
- 1 Tbs Galangal Sliced (Thai ginger)
- 3 Kaffir Lime Leafs
- 1 Tbs Lemongrass (sliced thinly)
- Handful of Straw Mushrooms
- Handful Cherry Tomatoes (sliced)
- 1 Piece Shallot (sliced)
- 1 Piece Birds eye Chili (sliced in half with seeds removed)
- 1 Cilantro root (smashed to help release the flavour)
- 1 Tbs Lemon Juice
- 1-2 Tsp Tamarind Juice
- 2 Tbs Fish Sauce
- (Garnish with Chili oil, fresh cilantro leaves and dried chillies)
SO first things first… Prepare your ingredients!
Now in order to make Tamarind juice place Tamarind paste in a pot and simmer until it thickens into a syrupy consistency. (Below on the left is Tamarind paste and above it is the finished Tamarind juice)
In prepping your cilantro root, simply place the root on a hard surface and hit it with something heavy to help release the juices. You will place the full root into your bubbling broth!
First bring coconut milk and chicken stock to a simmer. Add chicken, galangal, cilantro root, straw mushrooms, shallots, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a slow simmer until chicken is fully cooked (4-5 minutes).
Next add birds eye child (season to your taste) and cherry tomatoes then season to taste with fish sauce, tamarind sauce and lemon juice.
Finally place your tasty soup in a bowl and garnish it with chilli oil, cilantro leaves and dried chillies. And thats it! You are finished!
Now for the Pad Thai!
Phad Thai Goong (aka pad thai)
- 150 grams Rice Noodles (make sure they are the slightly softer ones)
- 100 grams Shrimp
- 50 grams Yellow Bean Curd
- 1 Tbs Sliced Shallot
- 1.5 Tbs Tamarind Sauce
- 15 grams Chinese Chives
- 1 Tbs Roasted Peanuts (crushed)
- 3 Tbs Vegetable Oil
- 1/2 Cup Vegetable Stock
- 1 Egg
- Handful of Bean Sprouts
Again, start by preparing your ingredients! Pad Thai is a quick dish cooked at a high heat so you will need to have everything ready to roll before starting.
In a large wok add the vegetable oil (add as much or as little as you want to use but make sure the bottom of the pan is properly coated otherwise you may have to add more as you go), let the oil heat up. Once oil is heated, start by pan frying the shrimp until almost cooked through then add shallots. Add in the beancurd with 1 Tbs of additional oil.
Next mix in one egg until everything blends together. Add the raw rice noodles and toss in the wok slowly adding vegetable stock to cook the noodles.
Wok fry for 1-2 minutes. Coat noodles with the tamarind sauce, and let cook for another minute.
Add in crushed peanuts, bean sprouts and Chinese chives. Garnish with a Banana Blossom (definitely not necessary but VERY cool), bean sprouts and half a lime.
If desired Serve with traditional Pad Thai condiments of white vinegar, red chillies, red chilli flakes, and sugar (I ate it without the condiments and it was still divine!).
And there you have it Dieters! Authentic Thai eats from none other than Thailand itself! So even though you weren’t in paradise (chez moi), you can at least have a taste of it!
So Hong Kong, you stay hungry!
And remember… Your diet starts tomorrow!