Home ยป Stick to the recipe! Stick to the recipe!

Stick to the recipe! Stick to the recipe!

Not too many of my recipes are busts because 1) I can read and “always” follow recipe directions and 2) 99% of those recipes come from foodie bloggers who recommend recipes to try. I think I know what went wrong with my pad thai last night, but I was (and still am!) totally bummed. I’ve been looking forward to making this recipe as it looks DELICIOUS on Tes’ blog.

For the recipe I did try a new ingredient which I found at an Asian/Indian food store. The name of the product is tamarind. It has a very unique flavor and appearance. I tried Googling “substitutions for tamarind” to save a trip and a few bucks, but Internet foodie gurus swore that nothing could replace the flavor of tamarind.



And in paste form looks something like this:


Pad Thai slightly adapted from Tes at Home

100 gm 8 ounces rice noodle stick, uncooked
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 3 large egg, beaten
100 gm 1 block tofu, diced into bite-size pieces
10-15 1/2 lb prawns, peeled and deveined
2 tbsp tamarind paste
1 2 tsp sugar
1 tsp low sodium dark soy sauce
1 tbsp Light soy sauce (I didn’t know what this is, so I used low-sodium soy sauce)
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 cup bean sprouts
2 tbsp peanut oil
1/2 head cabbage, chopped
4 Tbsp roasted peanuts, chopped
1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
Chili flakes, optional

And I stupidly added rice vinegar after seeing a recipe call for it. I also “eye balled” the tamarind and I think I used too much. The sauce was very tart as a result.


Soak the dry noodle in warm water for 3 minutes, drain and keep aside. Cook rice noodles according to box. The variety I purchased needed 25-30 minutes of soaking time in warm water.

Heat a large wok or pan over the medium high heat. Spray with non-stick spray. Add egg and fry until cook. Cool down and slice into long strips.

Add about 1 tablespoon of oil, add tofu and fry until light brown. Remove from pan and keep aside.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to the same pan, then add garlic and stir until fragrant. Add shrimp and cook for few minutes. Add tamarind paste, sugar, dark soy sauce and light soy sauce. Add rice noodle and toss until all ingredients coated and stir fry for few minutes. Add bean sprout and fish sauce and cook further for 1 minute or until the noodle is tender and cook.

Transfer Pad Thai into the serving plate; add more bean sprout, sliced fry egg, crushed peanuts and cabbage. Squeeze lime juice over it before eating. For extra heat you can add some chili flakes. Serves 5.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 491 calories; 18.8 g. fat; 189 mg. cholesterol; 508 mg. sodium; 52.6 g. carbohydrate; 6.6 g. fiber; 27.4 g. protein

Result: Mr. Prevention went back for seconds, so I know it was edible and he liked it! Like I stated above, adding the rice vinegar and not measuring the tamarind made for a very tart sauce…and simply too much sauce. I do think I’ll be trying this recipe again, but maybe with a slightly different sauce recipe..or simply FOLLOWING the recipe!!! Pad thai is something I’m particular about; at the University of Illinois there was an authentic thai restaurant that served the BEST pad thai and I’ve never found a recipe as wonderful since.


Last night my run was BRUTAL — 4.1 miles took me nearly 44 minutes. I think this is because I need new shoes like nobody’s business and because I played my little heart out at hockey the night before and my quads were TIGHT. Whenever I get shin splints and ankle pain, I know my shoes are shot. I should really have a pair on hand to prevent running related injuries and pains, note to self!

…But at least I’m on track to complete my 70 out of 101 days running for Biz’s 101 Days of Summer Challenge! 😀

My new DSLR camera arrived yesterday (THANK YOU, AMAZON WARRANTIES!!!). So I took a few random pictures 🙂

My basil that isn’t dead yet — it’s nearly 4 weeks old! I have a tendency to KILL basil, but so far so good!

And a Lily shot..

Question: What’s the last “out of the ordinary” ingredient you purchased? Was it a hit or a bust?

P.S. Send in questions for a Q&A sometime this week or next! I realize I haven’t been holding Q&A’s as often, sorry! But I do want to answer your nutrition questions! Email me at [email protected]!

Be well,

Share With Your Friends!


  1. August 24, 2010 / 7:43 am

    I have been thinking about trying Pad Thai for a couple of weeks. I’m trying to move outside my basic cooking comfort zone. I did buy some red curry the other week, that I haven’t tried yet… I’ll let you know how it goes ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. August 24, 2010 / 7:45 am

    I’m always tempted to change up the recipe…sometimes it works, and yeah, sometimes I definitely regret it ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. August 24, 2010 / 7:54 am

    I always follow a recipe to a T (though I do skip onions and garlic when mentioned) because I know that when I get all fancy and free it just turns out bad. One day I might be able to improvise but right now my skills aren’t quite up to par.

  4. August 24, 2010 / 8:19 am

    I’m sorry your pad thai didn’t turn out well! I’ve actually never made it (you’ve reminded me to put it on my list!). I think its difficult because you’re right, its about the perfect balance of the sauces and spices. You should for sure try it again!

  5. August 24, 2010 / 9:11 am

    I’ve had that lesson plenty of times. Whenever I stray from a recipe it rarely turns out good. ๐Ÿ™

  6. August 24, 2010 / 9:22 am

    I usually stick to recipes pretty exactly because I’m still a little unsure of my skills in the kitchen. The last “new” ingredient I bought was Chinese 5-Spice Powder, but I followed a recipe that featured it exactly and it turned out pretty well!

  7. August 24, 2010 / 9:29 am

    I love pad Thai and I need to make some since I have the noodles. My dad also sent me some sauce so I do not have to work so hard to enjoy it.

    The last out of the ordinary ingredient I bought was a spice mix for cooking in the tajine, both of which I picked up in Morocco. I also bought mustards in France…Dijon of course! Otherwise, around here, some things are out of the ordinary just because we live overseas.

  8. August 24, 2010 / 10:03 am

    I can’t stick to recipes for the life of me. It’s kind of an illness. =O

    Sorry the recipe didn’t turn out well! ๐Ÿ™

  9. August 24, 2010 / 10:26 am

    Maybe you should head to Thailand for authentic pad thai and stop in Singapore along the way ;).

    Have a good Tuesday.

  10. August 24, 2010 / 12:07 pm

    I love pad thai! But I’m pretty particular about it too. Tamarind paste is sooo strong. Very expensive, but it should last awhile. A drop of that stuff goes a pretty long way!

  11. August 24, 2010 / 12:22 pm

    I had to get new kicks too for running … I can’t wait to try them out!

    Yums that recipe looks delish…

    ((((((HI LILY)))))))

  12. August 24, 2010 / 12:28 pm

    Your basil looks great! I’m not very good at sticking to recipes… I like to heather-ify them a lot. sometimes good, sometimes bad.

    So far I like being an examiner. I posted my second article this morning and hope to get in a groove of 3 a week. Send me the link to your articles I’d love to check them out.

  13. Michelle
    August 24, 2010 / 1:09 pm

    Mmmm now you have me craving YMCA Thai food….

  14. August 24, 2010 / 2:59 pm

    I love pad thai! I’ve never been able to make it properly. I should really give it another shot.

    I rarely buy out of the ordinary ingredients, the craziest thing I’ve bought lately was ginger. I NEVER cook with ginger. Its still sitting in my kitchen waiting patiently to be used.

  15. August 24, 2010 / 3:33 pm

    My pad thai never turns out quite right, in part i think using a wok on a crappy electric stove doesnt’ help it ๐Ÿ˜› I bought lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves recently for a thai coconut soup, turned out great. Love the Lily shot.

  16. August 24, 2010 / 8:31 pm

    What’s the deal with our men liking out “ruined recipes”?? I made cookies last night but used too much baking soda, not enough oats, and forgot to buy eggs so had to use flaxseed…… Nick LOVED them!! haha, so weird. They did taste pretty good, actually, so I guess it wasn’t such a flop. Sounds like the same situation with this pad thai. Well I hope you try it again, because pad thai is amazing! And, aside from the garli cin the recipe, I could eat this!! Wow, that’s fabulous.

  17. August 24, 2010 / 8:49 pm

    I bought Chia seeds because I have been seeing them all over the blog world but I don’t really use them. I made muffins that were good but that’s about it so far.

  18. August 24, 2010 / 9:26 pm

    That is possibly the most adorable picture of Lily that I’ve seen so far.

    I love basil — the flavor, smell, everything about it…

    Way to go on the running and hockey.

  19. August 24, 2010 / 9:52 pm

    The dish looks great Nicole! I actually made Pad Thai at my cooking class tonight and we had “issues” with the sauce at first and had to add a few things to make it taste legit. When it comes to cooking things like ethnic food, I always always always have to follow the recipe, otherwise I like to wing things!

  20. August 25, 2010 / 9:06 pm

    I bought bok choy last night. Not sure if that’s exotic or not, but it was good.

  21. September 7, 2010 / 7:31 pm

    I was just perusing your blog and saw you mention that you had a favorite Thai restaurant at the U of I. I grew up in Champaign and went to grad school at the U of I so now I’m curious as to which Thai place you compare all other Thai food to! My favorite was always Nitaya in downtown Champaign. It’s where my husband took me for my very first taste of Thai food ๐Ÿ™‚

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