Visitors have descended on Desolationville, so I don't have a lot of computer time, but they just went out to see if any of the gas station convenience stores carry reading glasses and Baby Girl is asleep, so I thought I'd slip in a quick post. Without visuals, unfortunately.
I finally got tired of being Thai food deprived and decided to re-embark on a quest to make a decent Pad Thai.
Sometimes, a girl needs noodles.
I had most of the necessary ingredients, but I was missing tamarind paste and it really does add a lot. Then I noticed some Mexican tamarind chewy candies at one of the above-mentioned convenience stores and, for 89 cents for a bag of them, I thought, why not? They have sugar and chile, two ingredients I'd be adding to the Pad Thai anyway, so I auditioned them for the role. They work perfectly. They dissolve reasonably well when mixed with a little vinegar and microwaved, they add the tang, and you don't have to mess with the sticky mess that is a block of actual tamarind paste.
I'm a complete convert. I recently bought some real tamarind paste and using it was the usual sticky job and I decided that unless the flavor was significantly better, I'd stick with my candies. The truth is that I couldn't taste the difference in the final product. That's good enough for me.
So the sauce (enough for 7 - 8 ounces of rice noodles) for my Pad Thai looks more or less like this now:
3 Tamarindo candies dissolved in 1 TBS of white vinegar and 1 TBS water
2 TBS fish sauce
1 TBS soy sauce
2 TBS palm (or brown, in a pinch) sugar
I know it's not all that authentic, but it IS tasty.