Sunday, April 6, 2008
I had a notion to make pad thai from scratch. I figured easy, I'd go to Mitsuwa (Japanese market in Edgewater) and pick up the ingredients. They would surely have what I needed.
If they had everything, I have no idea. I spent an hour there, wandering the aisles, trying to make out labels. I felt like I was in a foreign country, just trying to find something, anything familiar. Although in this case I was seeking things I had never seen before, so I didn't even know how to recognize them. What the hell does a tamarind look like? I maybe could have looked up a photo of it before going.
According to my recipe, tamarind is essential for pad thai. I managed to find about half the ingredients at Mitsuwa, so I couldn't give up.
Today, I went to A&P and got a few more things, but no tamarind. I went to Basic Food in Hoboken (and got blocked in by a jerk double-parker in the process) and they didn't have it. The Asians running that store told me to go to Summit and Newark to Little Five Points area or something. I had melting ice cream in the car from A&P, so that was not an option.
My last hope was the Vietnamese market on Newark and Monmouth, near home. I didn't go there in the first place because I thought they would only have a small selection of Vietnamese food. Of course they had everything I needed for the recipe and for very cheap. I was so thrilled with the find, I went ahead and got everything the recipe called for, even though I probably did not need turtle food, I mean, dried shrimp. I probably could have skipped palm sugar, too, and just used regular sugar.
All in all, it was super easy to prepare, no more difficult than a regular stir-fry. Now that I have all these unusual ingredients, I will be making lots more of it in the future.