13 August 2008

A birthday party and a pirate ship

After one day in his new job, T returned home for a day of rest (tough life!). Although, let it be said that he loved his first working Monday in Thailand and he was a tad disappointed to not return to the office early the next morning. Yesterday was Queen Sirikit's birthday, partnered with Mother's Day. And, what a birthday it seemed to be. The Queen was honored with a celebration that included a candlelight ceremony, in which it looked like thousands gathered after dark to sing and be together as they honored their Queen. The ceremony was followed by fireworks that exploded over BKK's high rises. Point to Bangkok. The kids are hard pressed to find something that they don't like about this place! The city seems to deliver at every new moment, even after dark. 

And, while our shipment has supposedly arrived at port, we're still awaiting its arrival at home. So, whenever there's a natural opportunity to provide entertainment for the kids, we jump on it! Which leads me to yesterday's torrential rainfall. As soon as it began, I smiled in eager anticipation of an afternoon on the decks. In case you're not following my reason for excitement, let me explain further. Our home has several great balconies, but I've been a bit squeamish to set foot on them as they are covered in unrecognizable filth. So, rain, a dash of detergent, some mops and a quick tapping into the psyche of two young children with a new found fascination for pirates makes for a surprisingly entertaining (and productive) afternoon. We now have sparkling clean decks, filth-free.

And, in honor of yesterday's birthday, here's a gift for you:

Cooking in Thailand, entry no. 2:
Pad Thai, made in traditional Thai-style*
After a day of running around town (or swabbing the decks!) this makes for a comforting, filling main dish. We, unfortunately, omit the peanuts because of family food allergies.

1 package dried rice noodles (thickly cut, about 4 oz)
2 tablespoons veggie oil
Your choice of protein (about two chicken breasts, cubed, two hand fulls of prawns, half block of tofu, cubed, or a combination) seasoned with garlic powder
3 eggs, blended with salt and pepper to your desired taste
2 cups bean sprouts
2 cups green onions, cut into approximately one-inch pieces
1/8 cup fish sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
5 teaspoons brown sugar
red pepper flakes, to taste
lime wedges, chopped cilantro sprigs, sliced white radishes and crushed peanuts, for garnish

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add rice noodles. Cook until al dente (do not overcook... they'll get mushy and ruin the dish) and drain under cold running water. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon veggie oil in a large saute pan and add choice of protein. Saute, on low heat until chicken is cooked through, prawns are opaque and/or tofu is golden (cook each item separately if doing more than one). Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon veggie oil over low heat and pour eggs into pan. Swirl around the pan and allow to set into a flat omelet. Flip, cook for 20 seconds more and remove from pan. Place onto a cutting board. When cool to the touch, slice into thin strips and set aside.

In a saucepan, heat fish sauce vinegar, brown sugar and pepper flakes to create desired heat. Bring to a rolling boil and remove from heat. In your saute pan, add noodles, sprouts, green onions and pour hot sauce over top. Stir until well combined and heat until sauce is absorbed by the noodles (should only take a few minutes). Add meat/tofu and egg, stir and pour onto serving platter. Garnish with lime, white radish, peanuts and cilantro sprigs. Serve hot.

*Thai style does not involve the use of ketchup, as most American recipes do. In addition, the egg is pre-cooked as an omelet, rather than scrambled as you'll more typically find in the States.

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