Remember this classic scene from Seinfeld?

Well, thanks to Mr. N we now know that this would be illegal in Thailand. Yep. That’s right – there’s no going commando in this part of the world. You see, as promised, Mr. N is going to share little facts about each of the countries we visit through our culinary adventures. First we learned that three common ingredients in Thai food are green onions, cilantro and lime. Thai ingredients

And thanks to his new book from Friend Sue, we also learned that leaving the house without underwear is in fact illegal in the Land of Smiles. As you can imagine this made for a nice little chuckle around the dinner table. Not only did it raise the question, how do they know if you aren’t wearing underwear, it also reminded us of little Mr. N.

You see back when he was just three years old and learning to count he would often forget the number 15. He would go from 14 to 16 without fail, no matter how many times we tried again. It also just so happened, that around this time, Mr. N was learning to dress himself each morning. Well, without fail he would forget his underwear. He’d have shorts, t-shirt (usually backwards), and socks. So it became a little inside joke that Mr. N’s underwear were “fifteens.” So every morning we’d remind him, “Mr. N, don’t forget your fifteens!” Not only did this make him chuckle, but he started to remember every article of clothing! It was fortunate for him that this wasn’t illegal in Minnesota.

Needless to say, we had some fun conversations around the dinner table with our first recipe from Thailand. And what did we opt to go with first? The decision was easy – at least as far as Mike was concerned. He’s been waiting for this dish since we began our adventures – a Shrimp Pad Thai. Now with every new cuisine we add all kinds of different ingredients to our kitchen, and while cilantro, lime and green onions aren’t really newcomers, these next few ingredients certainly were. The first up…palm sugar. Palm sugar

We found palm sugar sold in a cone and sliced off what we needed. Next up, fish sauce, IMG_6460

and tamarind concentrate, which is a little bit sticky (think molasses). tamarind concentrate

We dissolved and mixed everything together with a some garlic and red pepper flakes to create our pad Thai sauce. Pad Thai Sauce

In the meantime, we soaked our rice stick noodles according to the package directions in some water. rice stick noodles

Next, Miss A took care of cooking our shrimp. Or should I say our rock star (note the outfit change – the third of the day). cooking shrimp

We removed the cooked shrimp and set it aside. Then Mr. N swooped in and cooked the onions, garlic and noodles. making pad Thai

Next we tossed in some of the pad Thai sauce along with the shrimp which we then moved to one side of the wok, then cracked and scrambled an egg on the other side. egg in pad Thai

Finally we tossed in some cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice, green onions and mung beans. We tested the noodles and were good to go. Shrimp pad Thai

We were really excited with how our first Thai dish turned out. It smelled great and was even pretty to look at. We didn’t even get any groans from the kids – I’m guessing thanks to the shrimp on the plate. pad Thai

So how did the new cuisine fair? Well, Mike and I both enjoyed the dish. The tamarind flavor comes through with intensity and there are all kinds of texture and flavor sensations happening. It’s definitely a complex dish which rang in at 3 spoons for both Mike and I. Thai food

Surprisingly Mr. N, our resident Asian food lover, wasn’t as thrilled with this dish. It was 2-1/2 spoons for him. And Miss A, well, she gave the shrimp 10 spoons and the rest 1 spoon. These ratings kind of baffled us. It wasn’t the flavor because they both enjoyed the shrimp. So perhaps it was a texture issue? Or maybe the sprouts that soured them on the dish as a whole. Still they ate up their dinners and didn’t complain and that’s always a win in my book!

Print this recipe:Β Shrimp Pad Thai Pad Thai Shrimp

All-in-all, not bad for our first Thai cooking adventure. Next up, another well-known and renowned Thai dish. Until then, we’ll leave you with this philosophical thought of the day: As to why a three-year old Mr. N always put his shirts on backwards… “It’s so people will know it’s me when I’m walking away.” Out of the mouths of babes…


59 thoughts on “Fifteens

  1. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    I LOVE Thai food and didn’t eat any Thai food my first 20 years of life (in Japan). It wasn’t that popular back then (but now restaurants are easier to find), and I came here to taste Thai dish and I’m hooked. I can eat almost everyday if I am allowed. I try Pad Thai recipes whenever I find new one. I can’t wait to try this out! I am in love with Miss A. Please keep blogging until she gets married and even later. I enjoy seeing this cute little lady grow. πŸ™‚ I don’t talk much about my girl, but Miss A reminds me of her. πŸ™‚


  2. Kristy says:

    LOL – fortunately there are more fun times than not, but oh yes, we have those not fun times too. πŸ™‚ I’ll have to try and find the blocks and give them a shot. That sounds like it would be very good.


  3. cecilia says:

    I adore thai food and this looks just perfect, bright and tasty..though it is john who cooks thai so i have nothing terribly useful to say other than YUM! plus.. love the pink cowboy boots (of course!) c


  4. Kate@Diethood says:

    Such an adorable family!! β™₯
    I hope to have as much fun as you and your kids have when mine are a bit older… the 10 month old sits in the kitchen with me, but wants to eat everything in sight… cooked or not, she’s after it! πŸ™‚ My almost 4 year old joins in the process, and enjoys it a lot, but won’t eat!! :/


    • Kristy says:

      I have no doubt you’ll have this much fun Kate. Your girls will both be cooking (and hopefully eating) alongside you in no time. Your energy and love of cooking is infectious. πŸ™‚


  5. runservecook says:

    I loved this post! I wish my mom would have done this with me. I’ve had to learn all my cooking alone. Your writing is beautiful. And tell Mr. N that he has the right idea! πŸ™‚


  6. Purely.. Kay says:

    Your Pad Thai is to die for. It’s definitely better than some I’ve seen from restaurants around the city that’s for sure. I love it and I am definitely making it. And like I said before.. I am convinced Miss A will be a fashion designer. And I can’t believe how tall she is.. definitely your mini me Kristy πŸ™‚


    • Kristy says:

      No joke Kay – before I read your comment the day you posted it – Miss A had said just that. She wants to be a fashion designer when she grows up. Too funny!


  7. Karen says:

    I think you did a wonderful job with your Pad Thai…I believe it is one of those recipes that has to be tweaked until you find what suits your taste. Miss A may give Anne Burrell a run for her money soon. πŸ™‚


  8. Bam's Kitchen (@bamskitchen) says:

    Sawadee ka! Thanks for the chuckle as I remember that scene from friends and I have been to Thailand on many, many occasions and no one has ever mentioned to us about the whole commando thing. Well maybe they did but my Thai language is not so strong… LOL

    The picture of Miss A in her tights and pink cowboy boots stirring the wok is charming. Our family loves Pad Thai and I think it is something you just need to experiment with more until you come up with the combination your kids like. I make mine in individual portions so we can make it to their liking and that seems to work out great. You know the whole saga with kids one does not like bean sprouts, one kid is allergic to nuts, husband does not like as much sauce… so I just make each one to order as it only takes 2 minutes to make. Have a super weekend. BAM


  9. Charles says:

    “three common ingredients in Thai food are green onions, cilantro and lime.”

    I love it already!

    I adore pad thai… it’s been so long since I had it… certainly never tried to make it, and you’re right – it looks fantastic. A fine dish to be sure!

    That palm sugar looks like fun to work with… can you eat it “raw”? Did you try any? In my mind it’s like sucking on a sugar lump but it’s probably nothing like that.

    As for the last quote… lol, that guy!… so cute! πŸ˜€


    • The High Heel Gourmet says:

      Charles…sorry for chim in your conversation here. Common ingredients in Thai food only ONE goes in PadThai…save your time from guessing, lime and NOT the rest, if you want the authentic padthai the way they make in Thailand for the Thais.

      Palm sugar is also my kind of candy when I was a kid…just because it’s readily available in the kitchen in a household that candy wasn’t allowed. We have no halloween or easter in Thailand but who cares as long as I can just hit the palm sugar whenever I want…lol..


      • Charles says:

        Hi High Heel, thanks for your reply :). I really like thai food, although I’ve never been to Thailand or even made much of an effort to research it and cook it myself. I can’t know how “authentic” what they serve here is, but I guess at the very least the basic concepts are the same and I like what I see – wonderful complex flavours and fresh, delicious ingredients.

        How did you prepare the palm sugar? Can you just eat it “raw”, or was it roasted or cooked in some way?


        • The High Heel Gourmet says:

          What they served in the restaurants here has been “adjusted” to the customer’s preferences already. You can visit my blog to just read about the authentic version of Thai cooking (which is not so authentic to the Thais since I can’t eat chili so I eliminate them. My Thai friends call my curry “whimp curries”.)

          Coconut palm sugar in Thailand is not the hard dried block like what you found here. Even though some of them are but if you let them sit in the high humidity climate of Thailand, they get soft. The version that I love the most was called “Nam Tan Ngob” which is the chip about 1/8″ thick, round disc surrounded with thin bamboo skin. The chip size is varied, at my house usually is about 1-1 1/2″ in diameter. I just popped them in my mouth like you do with candies. Another kind is the soft gooey one. It’s just the coconut palm sugar that they call “Nam Tan Peeb” or palm sugar in the can. It soft, scoopable. If you put the hard coconut palm sugar with a bit of water and heat it up a bit it would become that consistent anyway just don’t put a lot of water. So I didn’t have to heat it up when I was over there. I just opened the container, dipped my finger in, bend my finger a little like a hook so I can scooped a lot more than what stick to my finger, like the finger clean, then repeat…miss it I might have to go down stair and get some now πŸ™‚


          • Charles says:

            Hi HH, thanks for the very in-depth reply! I’ll check out your site – do you completely skip chillis? I don’t like things “blow your head off” strong, but I like a bit of a kick.

            Actually, I never saw palm sugar before – I’m very curious to give it a try after reading about it here. That Nam tan peeb sounds amazing – so delicious, I can understand why you would want to eat it from the can like that! πŸ™‚


  10. Profiteroles & Ponytails says:

    Love the rock star chef!!!I I’ve never made pad thai with tamarind, so I’ll need to give this a try. I actually use ketchup and oyster sauce with the other usual ingredients. The girls love it so I should make it more often. Did you like it with the thin noodles?


    • Kristy says:

      The tamarind flavor comes through in a big way – so if you’re not a fan use it sparingly. The thin noodles were very good. In fact, I think I prefer them in this dish. πŸ™‚


  11. ChgoJohn says:

    Pad Thai is my favorite Thai dish. I’ve ordered it from just about every Thai restaurant I’ve entered. I have to say, Kristy, yours here looks like the real deal. Miss A is really rockin’ that hat but Mr N stole the show. I’m sure there were some giggles at your table that night, just as there were a few chuckles in the blogosphere. This was a great post, Kristy. πŸ™‚


  12. Smart Food and Fit (@LisaNutrition) says:

    I totally love pad Thai! You make cooking with the family look like fun! I bet you guys had some great laughs reminiscing about the past! I love that age when they are learning to dress themselves and be independant. My three year old constantly puts his pants (and underwear) on backwards. Oh, let’s not forget about the shoes! Fun post! πŸ™‚


  13. Dawn says:

    Those outfit changes are too much – I had to make a rule in my house about outfit changes, because with two girls, you could imagine the amount of laundry I would be doing. What a blast from the past with that clip – that was definitely a classic!


  14. Eva Taylor says:

    Now that’s a winner on all counts for me! Kudos for getting the real McCoy ingredients (I wimped out with the cane sugar, does it impart much different taste than honey or regular sugar?). This version of This recipe sounds like the street version a place up here serves, which is our preference for sure.
    Tell miss A I love the red boots. XO


    • Kristy says:

      I’m not sure if the palm sugar tastes much different, but it’s definitely gummy in consistency until it dissolves. That part was kind of weird. I will tell her you love her boots. You should have seen the “discussion” we had in a store this evening because I didn’t buy her the pair of shoes she desperately “needed.” πŸ˜‰


  15. Three Well Beings says:

    Oh Kristy this is already a winner for me! I love Pad Thai…I love THAI! πŸ™‚ I am appreciative of your wonderful instruction as I tend to look at a recipe like this and feel a little overwhelmed with all the ingredients and steps. It’s not so complicated, but since I’ve never made it before and it’s composed of many ingredients I don’t regularly use, I enjoy visualizing the cooking event by using the photos and mentally preparing. Miss A’s outfit is just adorable, and what a cute story of the “fifteens.” Too cute!


  16. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles says:

    “Don’t forget your fifteens!” Hee,hee, what a great family story – love it. I’m with Mike on the choice of Pad Thai – so delicious and hard to resist – very nice traditional recipe too with gorgeous photos Kristy! The PT I make at home is not very authentic I don’t think; we use soy sauce and a generous scoop of peanut butter (crowd-pleaser ;-)). Isn’t fish sauce the best? I find myself adding it to just about everything :). I’m enjoying the wardrobe progression on Miss A – it’s kind of like the transition from winter to spring! Too cute.


  17. sallybr says:

    What a GREAT POST! Not sure what I like the most, but my heart is falling for the third outfit of the day of the resident rock star… too cute….

    that bit of Seinfeld is a classic, I laugh every single time…

    Pad thai is a favorite – I only made at home once, in my pre-blogging years. I remember it was quite good but very involved, my kitchen looked like a bomb exploded.

    you guys are so much fun!


  18. The High Heel Gourmet says:

    Oh about the underwear…there is no such law. Somebody successfully fool you big time. This is the country that didn’t even wear bra underneath a strip of fabric that they wrap around their chest. They wrap another piece of fabric around their bottom made it looks like pants. My husband call it pantaloon but the name is chongkraben. We start wearing sarong like fabric for girl about as long as Pad Thai life, 70ish years ago. Bra was made in the country for the first time about 50-60 years ago. So go commando, no one would know or even ask you if you wear underwear.


    • Kristy says:

      Good to know that’s not a real law. I’ll have to research the facts this book gives us a little more. πŸ™‚ Thank you for the lesson. Mr. N enjoyed it.


  19. The High Heel Gourmet says:

    I really like your sous chef outfit a lot. When she grow up enough to wear high heel, I’ve got a model job for her πŸ˜‰

    OK back to the padthai, I have an authentic recipe on my blog if you are still want to make it again. My recipe doesn’t have garlic or chili in the sauce. So you can make big batch and keep it in the fridge and you don’t have to worry about it goes rotten on you if you boil it before you put it in the jar. (Put in the jar while it hot too)

    I wouldn’t cook the shrimp and set it aside but I put it in last before I add vegetable. I won’t use cilantro but use bean sprout and garlic chive. I won’t add lime juice in before I turn off the heat. (So it still maintain citrus oil, add it to the hot noodle will make the citrus oil evaporate.

    Too much info now…I actually just want o drop a line to book my model sous chef!


    • Kristy says:

      LOL! I just hope she’s not wearing high heels too soon! She’s growing up too fast. πŸ™‚ I will have to check your recipe out for sure. It sounds like there are so many different variations and flavor techniques. Such a fun dish! Thank you so much!


  20. A_Boleyn says:

    Your pictures are charming and I always get the idea that you have so much fun cooking together as a family … though that’s probably not always the case, but as someone who usually cooks and eats alone, I try to imagine only the fun times.

    Pad Thai, though it’s usually chicken at my house, is a great dish. I like a thicker noodle though but we both use the same tamarind concentrate. If you ever get a chance to soak the blocks though, give it a shot. I think the flavour is a lot ‘fresher/tangier’ than from the concentrate. And, LOTS of bean sprouts, some cooked and some raw on top for garnish and crunch.


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