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The St. Louis Post-Dispatch highlights today a cooking class held at Kitchen Conservatory for chefs at St. Louis Thai restaurants, presented by the Thai government. The chefs from Bangkok showed the proper way to make pad Thai: palm sugar and tamarind juice — not vinegar or ketchup.

The most unusual technique demonstrated was shredding and drying a can of tuna, then deep-frying the tuna, which resulted in a crisp, lacy cake that was wrapped up in lettuce rolls. Watch out, crab cakes, there’s competition!

Since the class and recipes were all in Thai, this translated recipe is courtesy of the writer Joe Bonwich.

Pad Thai

  • 4 ounces rice noodles, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes, then drained
  • 3 tablespoons palm sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chile paste (sambal oelek)
  • 3 tablespoons tamarind juice
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 3 ounces firm tofu, cut into very small dice
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons picked radish, chopped
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
  • 20 dried shrimp
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 10 chives, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • lime wedges for garnish

Combine the sugar, fish sauce, tamarind juice, and chile in a saucepan, bring to a boil and cook until dissolved. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok and cook the shrimp for 1 minute. Add 2 tablespoons of sauce and remove. Add the rest of the oil and cook the tofu until light brown. Add the shallots and radish. Add the noodles. Stir in the rest of the sauce. Add the peanuts and shrimp. Push everything up the sides of the wok. Add the eggs and stir-fry until cooked, then flip the noodles on top of the eggs and mix together. Stir in the shrimp, bean sprouts, and chives. Garnish with lime wedges.

Join us for a Thai cooking class led by Joe Nanthavong from Land of Smile on August 30.