Easy Pad Thai pairing with Kimchi
Will you add Pad Thai to your emergency kit?
Emergency kit for Coronavirus outbreak
We would never have thought to have an emergency kit. After a week back from our vacation from Thailand in early March, Canada was on the brink of the Coronavirus outbreak. Even though the government hadn’t made a lockdown mandatory, businesses in our neighbourhood started to close and news about possible food shortage started to emerge.
Like many rational people, My boyfriend and I did not want to overreact and turn into food and toilet paper hoarders. We found a large Rubbermaid tub in our apartment and filled it with various necessities. The first thing in my mind was instant noodles. I certainly was not the first one who thought of noodles as a post-apocalyptic food. 80 years ago, Thailand played a part in another kind of global crisis. You guessed it right – World War II. This is where the story of Pad Thai begins.
How did Pad Thai save the Thais?
Like many other countries during that time, the impact of the war was imminent for Thailand- trade routes were cut, and the food supply was short. The price of rice, which had been (and still is) Thai’s main staple food, skyrocketed. The government started a campaign to shift the demand for the rice to a substitute that could be made locally – noodles. Noodles, however, were not so popular among the Thais as it was deemed to be the food for Chinese immigrants. To make noodles more palatable to local people – or more ‘Thai’- the government came up with a version of noodles containing ingredients commonly found in Thai kitchens, such as fish sauce, tamarinds, lime, peanuts etc. Pad Thai was born.
From Parliament to Kitchen
As the world was engulfed in chaos, Why was it in the government’s agenda to come up with a national dish? Other than economic reasons, the country needed to craft an identity. Having dealt with colonization threats from European powers in the 1800s, and the rising ideology of racial and cultural superiority at that time, Thailand might have been perceived as “uncivilized” or lacking a defined culture. After all, It was only in 1939 that Siam became Thailand. The need for a unified national identity was viewed as one of the ways to save the country from being occupied. But it is not easy to simply create an identity out of nowhere since it must also be widely accepted by the public. What could have been closer to people’s daily life than food? Hence, Pad Thai was created in the parliament and embraced in the kitchen. They wanted the identity of the dish to be unambiguous, so they named it after the country- Pad Thai. Most of the ingredients are shelf-stable which is perfect for wartime storage- dried noodles, fish sauce, dried shrimp, dried tofu, which can be easily rehydrated.
Kimchi and Pad Thai, why not?
Fast forward to the modern-day, most households have a refrigerator. We are no longer restricted to dry food. Kimchi is certainly one great candidate, as it has a long shelf life through the process of fermentation. It goes great with Pad Thai as the acidity contrasts with the sweetness of the sauce. Adding kimchi to Pad Thai is like squeezing a lime onto the dish but with more probiotics. This time I used Baechu Original flavour, simply because I happen to have it in my fridge.
Would you consider having Pad Thai in your emergency kit?
Easy Pad Thai pairing with Baechu Kimchi
For Pad Thai Sauce (2 servings)
2 tablespoons sour tamarind (substitution – white or rice vinegar)
1/2 cup of sugar
3-4 tablespoons of fish sauce
½ cup of warm water for soaking the tamarind
½ cup of water to make simple syrup
- Soak tamarind in warm water for 10-15 minutes.
- As the tamarind is soaking, make a simple syrup by cooking water and sugar.
- Once the syrup starts to boil, add tamarind juice. Cook until the liquid is reduced to a thick consistency. This should take around 7-10 minutes on medium heat.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add fish sauce.
- Store in an airtight container up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
For Pad Thai (1 serving)
1 serving of rice noodles (if using dry rice noodles, presoak the noodles 10 mins prior to cooking)
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots (substitution – yellow onion)
¼ cup firm tofu or fried tofu
¼ cup of shredded dried radish
2 tablespoons of dried shrimp (substitution – raw shrimp)
¼ cup of Pad Thai Sauce
¼ of stock or water
3 tablespoons cooking oil
Bean sprouts and chives to garnish
Baechu Kimchi Original Flavour as a side dish
- Heat up a wok in medium heat. Add cooking oil. Once the oil is heated, add shallots. Cook the shallots until they start to get translucent. Follow by adding dried shrimp, radish and tofu.
- Add Pad Thai sauce, and broth. Let it simmer.
- Add presoaked rice noodles. It might look like there is too much liquid in the pan but the noodles will eventually soak up all the juice.
- Push the noodles to one side of the pan. Crack an egg and scramble it. You can add a bit more oil to the pan before frying the egg to prevent it from sticking to the pan. Add chives and bean sprout.
Try it with different kind of Baechu Kimchi.
Grab a jar today!
Written by – Atidthan Sangsawang