Noodle vendors are a familiar sight in Thailand. They draw people out to buy the first meal of the day in the morning or have a quick snack in the afternoon.
Noodles of all types play an important role in Thai cuisine. Egg, rice and bean noodles are the main types used.
Pad Thai, perhaps the most famous Thai dish outside Thailand, can be made with any of type of noodle, but in the West it is usually made with 3- to 5-mm. rice noodles, sometimes called rice sticks.
Yanir Green, chef of Tiger Lilly Thai restaurants, loves Thai street food. In his restaurants he makes several kinds of Pad Thai, as well as many other delicacies from that exciting, flavorful cuisine.
For this article, he volunteered his basic recipe, saying that once you master the dish you can, and should, try to improvise, adding fish, chicken or tofu.
He also added a beef dish prepared with Thai okra, which is available in the markets in Israel. If you can’t find it, use regular okra.
Other ingredients that you may not be familiar with can be found in the Asian sections of the supermarkets or at Asian shops. There are kosher versions of almost all the sauces. Green says that although his restaurants aren’t kosher, he often prefers using the kosher substitutes rather than the fish sauces that are common in Thai cuisine.
Of course, the Thais eat their food very spicy, so much so that Westerners, even the bravest ones, simply cannot swallow it. But Green adjusts his dishes to suit our palate, and the lines of patrons outside his restaurants are a testament to his success.
TIGER LILLY PAD THAI
✔ ½ package 5-mm. rice sticks (noodles)
✔ 4 or 5 Tbsp. oil
✔ 1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
✔ 2 eggs, beaten For the sauce
✔ 4 Tbsp. good quality soy sauce
✔ 6 Tbsp. kosher fish sauce
✔ 2 Tbsp. tamarind
✔ 2 Tbsp. sugar Vegetables
✔ ½ cup carrots, thinly sliced
✔ ½ cup green onion, sliced lengthwise into 4-cm. strips
✔ ¼ cup white cabbage, shredded For the garnish
✔ Fried peanuts, crushed
✔ Bean sprouts
✔ Cilantro leaves
✔ ½ lime
Soak the noodles in warm water for 30 minutes, until they soften but not too soft, then drain.
Stir together all the sauce ingredients until the sugar dissolves.
Heat a large wok with a little oil. Add the garlic, stir once and pour the eggs in and cook until egg solidifies. Add a little more oil and vegetables, stir and add the noodles.
Continue to stir fry 1 minute.
Pour the sauce into the wok and stir fry until the sauce is soaked into the noodles.
Continue to cook 1 more minute. Transfer to a serving dish.
Sprinkle peanuts, bean sprouts and cilantro on top, place the lime on the side and serve.
THAI OKRA WITH BEEF AND WATER CHESTNUTS
✔ 4 Tbsp. oil
✔ 1 tsp. garlic, minced
✔ 200 gr. Thai okra, washed, remove the stems*
✔ 6 matchsticks of fresh ginger
✔ 3 or 4 shallots, peeled and quartered
✔ 1 bok choy, sliced into 4-cm. strips
✔ 1⁄3 fresh red hot chili, seeds removed, thinly sliced
✔ 100 gr. sirloin, cut into strips
✔ ½ cup quartered water chestnuts (fresh or canned)** For the sauce
✔ 4 Tbsp. water or chicken stock
✔ 1 Tbsp. tamarind paste**
✔ 2 Tbsp. kosher mushroom-based “oyster sauce”*
✔ 2 tsp. sriracha or other chili sauce
✔ 2 tsp. palm sugar**
✔ 1 tsp. sesame oil
✔ Pinch coriander seeds For the garnish
✔ 1 Tbsp. fried peanuts, ground
✔ Fresh cilantro leaves
Stir together all the sauce ingredients until the sugar is dissolved.
In a large wok, heat the oil, add the garlic and immediately add the rest of the ingredients.
Toss about 1 minute, add the sauce and continue stir frying until the sauce is reduced almost completely.
Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle crushed peanuts and a few cilantro leaves on top and serve with white sticky-rice.
*Note: Thai okra is slightly longer than regular okra and less “hairy.” If you can’t find it, use regular okra.
**Most of the ingredients are available in supermarket, specialty and Asian stores. If you can’t find a few of the ingredients, use similar ones.
YUM WOON SEN TOFU
For the dressing
✔ 4 Tbsp. kosher fish sauce
✔ 4 Tbsp. chili sauce
✔ 4 Tbsp. lime or lemon juice
✔ 2 Tbsp. palm sugar For the salad
✔ ¼ package bean noodles (cellophane noodles)
✔ ½ cup celery stalks, sliced
✔ ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
✔ ¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced into strips
✔ ¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
✔ ¼ cup green onion, sliced into thin rings
✔ ¼ cup mint leaves, chopped
✔ Handful fried peanuts
✔ 120 gr. soft tofu, cubed
Stir all the sauce ingredients together until the palm sugar dissolves.
Soak the noodles in warm water until they soften. Drain and cut in half.
In a mixing bowl, place the soaked noodles, vegetables, tofu and dressing. Toss well and transfer to a serving dish.SHREDDED CARROTS
Makes 2 servings
Add freshness and cleanse the palate in between hot bites with this Asian carrot salad, which is quick and easy to prepare.
✔ 1½ cups carrots, shredded
✔ 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
✔ 1 tsp. sugar
✔ Freshly ground black pepper
Toss carrots with vinegar and sugar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let marinate for several minutes while the other dishes are being prepared.
Tiger Lilly is an authentic Thai restaurant that offers a very rich menu inspired by Thai street food, including classics such as tom yam soup, sum tam salad and pad ka pao. For those who have visited the East and sampled Thai food, the mere mention of these names is enough to whet the appetite. To those less familiar with this rich cuisine, we say try it, and you’ll never look back.The recipes and photos are courtesy of Tiger Lilly and chef Yani Green.
Tiger Lilly, Ramat Hahayal, 32 Habarzel Street, Tel Aviv. Tiger Lilly Sarona Market and Tiger Lilly deliveries.