CHIANG MAI, THAILAND :: PART 3 BAAN THAI COOKING SCHOOL // first course, pad thai, thin flat rice noodles with vegetables, chinese origins

Kasma of Thai Food and Travel says, “I don’t really know how Pad Thai became the most famous Thai dish in America. To me, it is but one of many quick fast foods from small, nondescript mom-and-pop noodle shops, rather than fine restaurants, in the cities and towns of Thailand. I always find it amusing when restaurant reviewers judge the quality of a Thai restaurant by the quality of its Pad Thai, as noodles can hardly take claim as the heart of my country’s cuisine.”

She also went on and explained that Pad Thai is actually the Thai version of Chinese Stir Fry Noodles… so can you say wake up call??

Before visiting Thailand, I was totally one of those people who thought a good Pad Thai meant a good Thai restaurant… but now we ALL know better, don’t we??

Pad Thai ingredients are simple. It’s made with thin flat rice noodles, chicken, oil, scallion, sugar, fish sauce, oyster sauce, egg, chopped garlic, tofu, water and beansprouts.

Stoked to be cooking this as the first dish, we prepped our ingredients and then we headed outside to a row of gas burners (electric stove tops).

And yes, that was our chef uniform- bandana and apron.

Once outside we were told that our instructor would start us off with a demonstration, and then we would replicate it with verbal assistance.

In my mind that translated to: photograph EVERY SINGLE MOVE in order to replicate the dish properly (i.e. Step 1: Turn on fire… yeah I went there)…

As soon as the wok hit the fire I was snapping away.

But once he started cooking, I noticed that he was just throwing the ingredients in ONE-AT-A-TIME…

And when he was done with one ingredient, he just pushed it aside with the rest of the other cooked ingredients!

Can you say easy-peasy? Swirl, push, swirl, push, swirl, push.

And after he gave it one more swirl, and one more push, he just transfered it onto a plate and added some peanuts.

Confident that I could complete this dish, I turned on my gas burner, listened to the instructions, threw in the ingredients, gave a swirl, gave a push, referenced my camera if I got confused, kept listening for instructions and after one more swirl and one more push, I created this masterpiece.

It probably took a total of 5 minutes and Pad Thai never tasted this good.

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