Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The American Girl Cooks Phad Thai

I finally made phad thai from scratch last night.

It was an interesting experience.

Not only did it take close to an hour to find the ingredients in Cold Storage, but the cooking portion was quite "colorful" too.

First off, while shopping for the ingredients, we had to ask an employee to help us because we couldn't find anything other than the bean sprouts.

Lesson learned: Palm sugar is "gula malaka" and tamarind is "asam paste". Thank goodness that guy could understand our American accent. It seems that the Malay word is always preferred over the English word when labeling foods in Singapore supermarkets. (Also to note, I've never seen "Bok Choy" in Singapore. They have it, but I have no idea what the Malay word is that they use to label it. I'm also not worried enough to Google it.)

It makes sense to use the Malay words, in retrospect, considering a large number of the population here is from Malaysia. I just wish I'd thought to look up those words before we left.

Eh well.

To figure out how to cook this dish, I found a very helpful YouTube video that teaches Westerners how to make it at home. However, some of the ingredients in the video were a little different than the ones we found.

It wasn't a big deal though.

You know what was a big deal?

The stench that cooking phad thai produces in your kitchen.

It smelled of things that I can't even discuss on a family friendly blog such as this.

And it was totally the fish sauce's fault.

I now totally get why they don't have air conditioning in kitchens in Singapore. After cooking with something like that, you have to open a window to keep from gagging.

Or dying.

It smells something retched and dead.

On a more positive note, the finished phad thai tasted really good despite the nose-killing fog in the kitchen. Once it was finished and removed from that area, it didn't stink at all. It even tasted very close to the yumminess we had in Thailand.

It was surprisingly good, even considering that some American chick made it.


I don't know if I can handle a kitchen that smells like that. If I had people over for dinner and they smelled that, they'd run and hide. This may just have to be one of those dishes that we order in.

Please God, let there be somewhat decent phad thai in Kansas.


The Reiersons said...

ha ha; your posting reminded me why in the past I've always let my husband attempt to tackle any Asian cooking in our kitchen. Thanks for reminding me before I attempted it in our kitchen that doesn't have windows here in SG :)

mae said...

correction though, we're not from Malaysia. not the large number of us. the majority of the race here is Chinese. but the country started off as a Malay fishing village (the original people). we're Malays but we're Singaporean Malays. Not Malaysian Malays. =)

ok just needed to clarify that. lol.

Mitja said...

Today's NY Times has a recipe for pad thai. Looks about the same as all the others, includes fish sauce.

Megan said...

Oh niiiice. This one looks like it has a much greater depth of flavor than the one I made the other night. I will definitely give this one a shot. I really like that they added cilantro and rice vinegar. Thanks so much.

Meghan said...

Scarlet Orchid in Lawrence:)