And, while we're on the subject of cotton candy... One thing I love about interacting with the expat population occurs in the moments that require a pause in conversation. The moments, that although a friend and I are both speaking English, we don't understand what the other is saying. Such moments have occurred regularly over the communication of 'cotton candy'. Apparently, the sweet (fave of mine!) confection goes by the terms 'fairy floss' and 'candy floss' as well! Who knew?!
After throwing the fairy floss (forget cotton candy... I'm loving the new term!) in my bag, he and I continued on to discover a few treasures and partake in the atmosphere of the giant outdoor extravaganza. My seven-week-old enjoyed his third trip to Chatuchak's Weekend Market this morning. I carry him everywhere in a baby sling and his usual habit is to nestle in and fall deep asleep. So, per usual, he slept for the entire (short) commute on the skytrain. As we zipped into our destination's station, he woke. Honestly, my first thought was not and excited 'He can enjoy the market with me now!' Instead, I thought 'Bummer-- this is not going to be easy! He's going to want to do the things newborns like to do when they are not sleeping... eat, diaper change, eat, diaper change, and repeat, repeat, repeat.' But, he popped those little eyes wide open, grabbed hold of the sling material and wrapped it a bit tighter around his face. Then, proceeded to enjoy the sights and sounds of Chatuchak with me. In fact, he politely peered from the folds of material at every person who acknowledged him and even carried on in a few newborn squawks as he watched a vendor string twinkle lights in front of his face. I smiled, wandered the market and chatted with my slinged companion for the duration of the trip. Sweet moments.
After Chatuchak, it was lunch time and I was anxious to get home to spend the afternoon with my other kids. So, I stopped by a Pad Thai stand on a street near our home. I had never taken the time to stop at this particular stand before. It's usually packed around the lunch hour and I got lucky with a very short line. The vendor was so enthusiastic that there was a baby to stare at. She made the noodles to order and was happy to allow me to watch closely. In contrast to the other versions of Pad Thai I've eaten before, this one prominently featured caramelized onions, creating a very unique taste. Sweet mouthful.
Cooking in Thailand, entry no.
Sweet Street Pad Thai
The trick, as I learned from my mini street side cooking lesson today, to this version of Pad Thai is to slice everything to mimic the shape of the noodles. This version has a very unique sweet flavor-- thanks in large part to the generous amount of caramelized onions, the addition of toasted coconut and a sprinkling of brown sugar.
Rice noodles, about 8 ounces
1 tablespoon veggie oil
A pitcher of water
1/2 of a carrot, cut into match sticks
1/2 block of firm tofu, cut into match sticks
1/4 cup lightly toasted coconut
1 hand full of cilantro
4 green onions
1 cup of bean sprouts
5 tablespoons ketchup
1/8 cup soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
5 tablespoons brown sugar
crushed red chili pepper, as desired
In a large mixing bowl, submerge the noodles in warm water. Set aside.
Peel the onions. Cut them in half and then chop finely into strips. In a wok, heat the veggie oil and add the onions. Keep the pitcher of water nearby. As the onions cook, add a bit of water and allow to evaporate. Continue this way and cook the onions until they are a dark rich caramel color. Add approximately 1/2 cup of water and add the tofu, ketchup, soy sauce, black pepper and a bit of chili pepper if desired. Toss the tofu and cook for approximately 2 minutes. Add the carrots. Drain the noodles, reserving the soaking liquid. Add the noodles to the wok. Toss to coat and add a cup of cooking liquid at a time. Allow the liquid to coat the noodles and evaporate before adding more. The noodles should be al dente. When the noodles are the desired texture, add the sugar, bean sprouts, green onions, cilantro and coconut. Toss to coat. Add more red chili peppers as desired.