Almost all of the work that goes into making Pad Thai is done in advance, which is why it’s a great dish to make when havi...
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Certainly not a dumb question. In fact, I had to do a little research myself to help you out and I'm still not sure. I always referred to smaller shrimp as shrimp and larger shrimp as prawns... go figure..:) - a statement that clearly highlights my own confusion. And I've cooked for 25 years professionally.
Nevertheless, I found this blog article that might (or might not help) shed some light on the issue for those of you that are curious. Note: quite long.
http://elyclarifies.blogspot.com/2005/03/shrimp-vs-prawns.html (cut and paste).
I guess it comes down to gill structure, if you can believe it.
And other than cooking time, it won't make any difference in most recipes.
Actually it is not about the size! t is about the shell and legs.
Crustaceans are Arthropods that have an ecoskeleton (like a permanent suit of armour). It's not water tight however, which differentiates them
from insects. Crustaceans also have gills and a special aquatic larval stage.
Dividing Crustaceans up gives us 6 classes. Basically, these groups cover:
* Copepods (planktonic swimmies)
* Ostrocods (small marine swimmies)
* Branchiopods (brine shrimp and Daphnia)
* Branchiurans (parastic)
* Malacostracans (lobster, crabs, woodlice etc.)
It's the Malaconstracans you've asked about, so they divide even further (a very diverse group!)
Here we have Isopods, Amphipods and Decapods. It's the Decapods (meaning 10 legs) that contain all the lobsters, crabs, shrimp and prawns.
So, Mantis shrimp, king prawns, and snapping shrimp are all Decapods (think of that classic "prawn" body plan - long slender body with lots of legs and the head at the front with all the antennae). They're all quite closely related - at least with respect to their "order". After "order", we divide organisms up into "family", then "genus" and "species".
I hope this quickly explains the Phylum Crustacea...to answer your question in one statement:
Prawns and shrimp are very closely related - belonging to the same order (Decapoda). Both can occur in marine, estuarine and freshwater environments, depending in the species in question.
If you look carefully and examine them you can see the difference if it matters to you.
Me- I prefer the sweet flavour of fresh water prawn-just had them barbecued in Bangkok-gorgeous and yummy with loads of garlic. But for Tom Yum smaller shrimp in the shell works perfectly.
I just made this & the cucumber sunimono (sp?) salad and loved them both! The only problem I had is the noodles & the eggs were sticking to my wok. I know I used plenty of oil, but both batches had the same problem. I had to scrape noodles & eggs off my wok when I cleaned my kitchen. Any suggestions?
Two things are really important to avoid sticking.
1) the wok and oil have to be very hot before adding your ingredients - just to the smoking point.
2) your wok should be well "seasoned". Seasoning a wok is a bit tricky but it is very important. You season a wok (or pan) by heating with oil for a long time. When heated, the metal expands and opens up the pores in the metal. The oil can then go into the pours to lubricate it. If your wok (or pan) is not heated through before adding the noodles, when the metal expands, it will expose non lubricated surfaces that LOVE starchy noodles and eggs.
I found some types through google:
Keep in mind, the quality of your Wok is also important. And you never want to season a non-stick wok.
I ended up buying Tamarind concentrate (didn't realize it) and added the 6 tbsp. to the sauce. Whew! Way too strong. So I threw out that batch and started over. I guessed and only used 1 tbsp. and it turned out delish! I only found M sized noodles as well. I think my next step is to find a good Asian store in Arizona!
Tamarind concentrate is much stronger than the brick of tamarind (the one you soak). Good thing you realized this before you made the Pad Thai, thanks for pointing that out...great tip.
Medium sized noodles will also work fine, if you cannot find the larger size. In fact some restaurants only use the medium size.
Finding a good Asian store in your neighborhood is also a great idea. When I really started to get into Thai food I found the ingredients hard to find, so I called all of the local Thai restaurants and asked them where they bought their ingredients. I now have several stores to choose.
The key to this smokin' recipe has to be the tamarind paste that is the foundation of the entire thing. I have now done it twice, and each time, although slightly different, got astonishing responses from some of my most experienced (read critical) and well travelled foodie friends. And do make certain you make the effort to hunt down the palm sugar - it really is different than anything more readily available out there...
Sorry if this sound silly, but what do u mean by "never want to season a non-stick wok"?
I used a non-stick wok to cook the dish and I had also "oil-ed" the rice noodle a little bit before cooking. Anyways, me and husband love the dish and this is only my first attempt!!!
nice video. a few helpful hints, you can soak the rice noodles in warm water to soften, but not cook, the rice noodles. which in turn will reduce prep and cook time slightly.
and in the drill-down video "what is tamarind," to make the tamarind pulp a bit quicker, we usually boil it down and break it up while it is heated, and then strain it. again this is just to speed up prep time.
never used the radishes or dried shrimp myself in pad thai, but i've seen it used before. it does add body and flavor to the dish.
*I LOVE THIS SITE! and you forgot the "Sriracha sauce" condiment at the end! lol love that stuff. this dish goes especially well with spicy papaya salad.
when i made the sauce it smelt really bad, i don't know if it was the particular brand of fish sauce i used (blue dragon) or if it might be that i really dont like fish that much, even though other people in the room who do like fish agreed that something didn't smell right. anywho, is there anything else i can use instead of fish sauce, maybe a veggi version, i want to make it again, just without the pong :-) thanx
If the fish sauce you are using makes seems too fishy, you may want to try and new brand (before giving up on it all together).
Good fish sauce should have a pleasant smell of the sea, not an overwhelming smell of fish; it should also not be overly salty. Some good brands to try are “Try Chang” or “Golden Boy”, the second one is very recognizable as it has a baby boy sitting on a globe with a bottle in his arm.
There are vegetarian fish sauces available. If all else fails you could just leave the fish sauce out...did I just say that...don't tell anyone...but I do strongly encourage you to try other brands of regular fish sauce as it really adds unique and wonderful flavors to these types of dishes - and they wouldn't be quite the same without it.
Hope this helps! Good luck
You could definitely use chicken instead of shrimp or prawns. I would still highly recommend the fish sauce and even the dried shrimp but you can easily use the some diced chicken. In fact I quite like it with chicken and have eaten this way a few times.
Like I said, I would use diced chicken (not too big) and stir fry it first and then just continue on with the recipe...tofu (if using) etc.
Just have all of your mise en place ready before you get going and have fun with it.
Hope this helps!
Thank you so much. I've having Pad Thai and never know the "mystery" of adding the chiken stock. My dish is a little bit dry after adding the eggs and it doesnt create thin strips like a normal restaurant dish so I didnt add it in. In my opinion, the fresh noodle does make a difference, it make the dish a little bit chewy, not too soft as the dried ones. Just my personal reference though.
This is the first time I try and everyone loves it. So wonderful, thank you.
Hey, does anybody, for any reason at all, have a good recipe for Thai Sizzling Spinach?!?
There is a small Thai restaurant in my area that is run by a man and his two daughters, and none of them speak particularly good English! His recipe is AMAZING and I REALLY wish that I could recreate it, in some way.
In case you don't know quite what to look for, it's spinach leaves wilted in a thai peanut sauce with cashews, peanuts, and a choice of proteins or veggies.
If you find a recipe online, please post a link to this page.
When I was first outfitting my kitchen, I invested in a very heavy stainless steel wok from Calphalon. I'm realizing now this was a poor choice because it is very hard to keep food from sticking. Any tips on salvaging this expensive piece of equipment or should I just suck it up and buy a lightweight wok from the Asian market?
You might want to contact Calphalon and see if they might be able to give you some tips. Also, I am not sure what their return policy is but it's worth it to check because if you are really not happy with it perhaps they will take it back. Cheers!
I don't have a wok, would my cast iron 12 inch pan work ok? Also I have an electric stove, I hear that a flat surface pan works better in this instance as the electric heat surface does not heat up a wok as well as a flame. What do you suggest?
Yes, when trying to cook a stir fry over electric heat, woks are not ideal as they don't heat up well enough. Traditional woks sit inside a round opening with a flame directly underneath. This makes the bottom and sides of the wok extremely hot. Even a gas stove doesn't compare, but you can still obtain good results.
Woks on electric stoves don't heat up well enough, so it is best to use a stainless-steel fry pan with a large surface area so the food cooks quickly. Make to get the pan nice and hot before you start cooking. Cheers!