Bpla Pad Phuk Gaad Dong ~ Only Slightly Corrupted

It’s time for a bit of dusting.

So without further ado, may I present…

a long-forgotten draft from April!

~~~

I love to visit Asian markets — ANY Asian market — and once inside, it seems I cannot leave without something new to try.

I found myself off an hour off early from work, so I treated myself to a visit to the biggest Asian grocery in the area — literally a supermarket. It appears to be geared mostly to Chinese and Japanese clientele.

However, there is something for everyone.

They carry an excellent selection of fresh produce (*four* types of Asian pear, for example, and numerous varieties of bok choy and the like, ash gourd, etc etc etc), including many fresh greens I don’t know the uses for (rice paddy herb, anyone?).

There are mountains of rice, yards of noodles, and aisle after aisle of interesting spices, pickles, pastes, and other condiments. There are giant bags of dried black mushrooms — imagine a bag that holds 20 lbs of rice and you’ll know the size. The refrigerated case holds all sorts of tofu, dumpling wrappers, quail eggs, and more.

For those so inclined, there is a gigantic meat/poultry section with all the unusual things you care (or maybe like me, not so much care!) to think of.

There is a large fresh fish counter ~ and I do mean *fresh*.

You can also buy myriad woks, pots and pans, utensils, chopsticks by the hundreds, and frozen goods from all over Asia.

I could spend hours gazing… πŸ™‚

In the end, I considered myself lucky to get out with just a few new things. Along with my usual pile of eggplant, I got some fresh bamboo shoots from the produce section. I also got some oh-so-sour pickled mustard greens and pickled baby eggplant from Thailand, and a bargain-sized 99 cent container of ground white pepper — good for hot and sour soup.

ingredients
all kinds of goodies for asian cooking, including fresh bamboo shoots
(right, on board) and suck-in-your-cheeks-sour pickled mustard (left on board)

Browsing around for something to do with the pickles, I came across this Thai cooking site. The stir-fried fish with sour pickled mustard caught my eye.

I changed it up a little, tossing in a bit of this and that like some sort of fusion-maniac. The end result was delicious enough that I’ve made it several times since, often with tofu in place of the fish.

Fresh young bamboo shoots are nothing like those from a can — they are softer and less fibrous, with a pleasantly bitter undertone. Pickled mustard is sour and crunchy. Tamarind adds a fruity tang that melds surprisingly well with the sour pickle, and the deep jaggery flavor complements the complex sweetness of Thai fish sauce. Soy sauce and oyster sauce add salt with character, while the ground white pepper is tingly-hot. The fish is smooth and buttery. Earthy mushrooms play well against the richness of the finished sauce, and the noodles soak up the combined goodness and tie it all together.

Of course if you prefer, you can make this vegetarian and omit the fish sauces and fish itself. It’s equally good with firm tofu.

Bpla Pad Phuk Gaad Dong
adapted from Joy’s Thai Food ~ enough for two good-sized meals

2 tsp canola oil, divided

1/4 lb thick white fish in one piece
(I used halibut)

1 c fresh mushrooms, sliced

3-4 cloves garlic, minced, or 1 TB garlic paste
2-3 green onions, sliced

1 TB good-quality thick tamarind paste
(like Swad brand — or even better, use fresh)
1-2 tsp good-quality light soy sauce (or substitute 2-3 tsp dark soy sauce)
1 TB oyster sauce (optional)
1 TB Thai fish sauce (optinal)

1-2 tsp ground white pepper or to taste
1-2 lumps jaggery

1 c fresh bamboo shoots, sliced
1/2 pkg sour pickled mustard, diced
(about 1 scant cup)

1 pkg House Foods tofu shirataki noodles, rinsed, drained, and cut
(see note below — fettucini style only!)

~~~~~

Heat 1 tsp oil in a shallow pan over med-high. Add fish and cook, turning once, about 3-4 min per side, until lightly colored. Remove and drain on paper towels.

In the same pan, add the other 1 tsp oil and when hot, add mushrooms. Stir-fry over high heat, stirring often, until they begin to brown and stick. Lower heat and add garlic and green onions. Stir-fry a minute or two, then add all the sauces: tamarind, soy, oyster and fish if using. Also add 1-2 TB water (helps prevent burning). Bring to a simmer and add white pepper and jaggery, stirring to dissolve.

Now add bamboo shoots and pickle. Mix well and simmer a minute or two, then add the noodles. Add the fish last, stirring gently to cover with sauce, and simmer 1-2 more minutes before serving.

Tastes good hot or at room temperature — even better reheated the next day.

***About tofu shirataki noodles

This my very favorite “diet” food. For anyone who craves noodles as I do, this slightly “westernized” adaptation of a Japanese staple is a life-saver, not to mention calorie saver. While I don’t think they taste great with Italian spagetti sauce, they ROCK in any Asian dish. You just have to get past the prep. And please, please don’t use the spagetti shape. Hold out for fettucini-style. As with many foods, in this case, the texture makes a big difference.

Like tofu itself, tofu shirataki noodles absorb flavors well — however, you don’t want to really COOK these noodles, or they will become rubbery. Just rinse them well in hot water and drain them well (even pat dry with paper towel if you want to get really carried away). Cut them with a knife or scissors into managable length. Then gently fold them into the dish, allowing them to warm. It’s worth all the work, I promise!!

Incidentally, if you recognize the logo of suddenly-super-popular “Hungry Girl” on the package — I can honestly say I found these years ago in Porter Square, Cambridge — too bad I didn’t develop a website about ’em! πŸ˜‰

Bpla Pad Phuk Gaad Dong
bpla pad phuk gaad dong ~ only slightly corrupted πŸ˜‰

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3 Comments »

  1. indosungod said

    Its been a while since I had any Chinese or Japanese or any other non-Indian dish for that matter.

    The noodles sounds delicious from the way you talk about them. I have to pay our Asian grocery store here a visit soon. Yours sounds more or less like the one we have here.

    ISG you’ve been eating far better than I have, all summer πŸ˜‰ Do give the tofu shirataki noodles a try — I find them at Whole Foods and other such places πŸ™‚

  2. Nupur said

    “mountains of rice, yards of noodles”

    That must be the utopia I have been dreaming about!! The noodles look wonderful πŸ™‚

    utopia, yep — that’s it Nupur! Glad you liked πŸ™‚

  3. meeso said

    Yum, sounds lovely!

    Thanks meeso πŸ™‚

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