I am a Pad Thai fanatic. Authentic Thai food is readily available; Americans have embraced this more delicate version of Asian cuisine and Thai restaurants abound in almost every state of the union. However, when confronted with a delicacy that I really enjoy, I invariably find a way to produce it on my own. So, of course, my first step was to consult the internet to find recipes to create my own Thai cuisine. Although there are numerous American versions of Pad Thai, they just didn’t seem to have the same flavor (to me, at least) as the Thai food I could buy at my local Thai restaurant. That’s when I discovered a great website which offered authentic Thai recipes, sauces, spices, noodles and tips for preparing incredible Asian dishes.
Pad Thai was my main goal. I wanted authentic rice noodles and a recipe that produced the incredible dish I have come to crave. Importfood.com is my go-to website. They sell rice noodles of various sizes, authentic sauces and spices, rice, canned goods (coconut milk, mushrooms, etc.) and ingredients for Thai, Chinese and Japanese fare. There is even fresh Thai produce that can be shipped to the U.S. to make your dish even more authentic. Not only do they offer a multitude of bona fide Thai recipes, there are numerous how-to videos of street vendors preparing these dishes on the streets of Thailand. The videos are fascinating and the recipes themselves present step-by-step photos of the preparation process. Links to the specific ingredients which are available for sale are contained in the recipes and ordering is fast and simple.
For the cook who prefers less authentic Thai fare, there are Fusion/American-Thai recipes, featuring Thai-style pot roast and Thai lemongrass spareribs. There is a vegetarian section with a Thai vegetarian coconut soup, and even instructions on how to produce your own bean sprouts. As Asian sauces have a reputation for containing a great deal of salt, more health-conscious cooks may want to dilute some ingredients with unsalted broth. However, most of the sauces indicate the ingredients contained within, so it is not that difficult to make your choices accordingly.
My favorite is, of course, the Pad Thai sauce. Though there is a recipe available with all the ingredients for making authentic Pad Thai from scratch, I prefer the short cut. The Pad Thai sauce contains all the integral ingredients for delicious Pad Thai (palm sugar, tamarind, onion, garlic, etc.), and is a very versatile sauce for creating other recipes which have spurred my creativity. With the addition of rice stick noodles, peanuts, green onions, egg, bean sprouts, lime juice, salted radish (can be ordered) and your choice of chicken or shrimp, you have incredible Pad Thai that will impress your friends and family.
I have found so many other ways to use my Pad Thai sauce, most notably in a delicious, tender baked chicken recipe that makes my mouth water just thinking about it. I slow cook either a whole chicken or a combination of breasts and thighs in the oven (about 325 degrees for 45 minutes, then lower to 300 degrees for an hour). Before cooking, sprinkle the chicken with about ¼ cup olive oil, one tablespoon of minced garlic and salt and pepper. When the temperature is lowered to 300 degrees, baste with the Pad Thai sauce (about ½ cup). Mix 2 tablespoons brown sugar with 2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar and 1/3 cup of cooking sherry and drizzle over the chicken. Bake for the additional hour uncovered, then remove from oven and cover with foil. Let sit for about 20 minutes before serving over Thai rice noodles or fluffy jasmine rice. Your family will thank you.