Two years ago, about this time, Jaden was in Los Angeles. It was the second time we met in person, and she had just gotten an offer to write a cookbook from Tuttle Publishing. She was teaching a cooking class in LA and I was there to help (and also to learn from her about teaching a cooking class!). We went to dinner together, with a few others, after her cooking class.
I brought a beautiful Shangri-La cookbook to show her during the dinner, and she looked at me and said:
“I love this book, but it feels almost too perfect. I think when I create my book, I’d like it to be totally friendly, easy and just full of my personality…which ISN’T perfect!”
Two years later, Jaden did it. Flipping through “The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook,” I can’t help but notice what a “real” cookbook she has put out: her gorgeous food photography (there are no food stylist and food photographer to pretty up her dishes—it’s all the work of Jaden), easy and accessible recipes perfect for everyday cooking, and her usual goofy and irreverent writing style (who else would spell “soooo looooong” and write about “playing footsie” in a cookbook!).
Jaden has come a long way, from the early days when she first started blogging. Her slew of successes—TV appearances, cookbook, food writing, speaking at events, Twitter power, etc.—are not pure luck. Jaden works hard, very hard. Many a night in the past two years, Jaden would work past 2 am her time, working on her cookbook, blog, writing assignments, and food photography. I know it because we would email each other when it was 11 am PST or 2 am EST her time. She is one of the most ambitious people that I have ever met—extremely smart, savvy, multi-talented, but most importantly, she is genuine, warm, and sincere. I feel very proud that she has called me a friend, even a sister, and someone whom she trusts. I wanted to congratulate her on the launch of her beautiful cookbook, to thank her for everything, and also to wish her even more successes in the future!
Here is the Pad Thai recipe from her cookbook.
Recipe from The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook
Serves 4-6 people
Pad Thai Sauce:
4 tablespoons store-bought Pad Thai paste
2 teaspoons tamarind paste/concentrate
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 teaspoons sugar
2/3 cup water
2-4 teaspoons Sriracha or 1-2 teaspoons chili powder
8 oz packaged Pad Thai noodles
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 lb. peeled and deveined raw shrimp
1 tablespoon minced garlic
A small bunch of chives (cut lengths)
1 cup bean sprouts
1 lime, cut into 8 wedges
1/2 cup coarsely chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
2 blocks fried tofu (cut into thin pieces)
Soak the rice noodles in hot water for about 15 minutes or until they soften. Drain and set aside.
Combine the ingredients for the Pad Thai sauce in a bowl.
Heat up a wok and add oil. When the oil is very hot, add the minced garlic and do a few quick stirs. Add shrimp into the wok and stir until half cooked and then add the fried tofu pieces, noodles and Pad Thai sauce into the wok and stir continuously. Push the noodles to one side and crack the eggs into the wok, break it up by stirring and wait for 10-15 seconds, and then stir in the noodles. Add bean sprouts and chives into the wok, stir for 1 minute, dish out, sprinkle some peanuts on top and serve with a wedge (or two wedges) of lime.
The above recipe is from the cookbook. You can make the Pad Thai sauce from scratch (recipe below), which is adapted from Chez Pim, who makes a killer Pad Thai. If you make your own Pad Thai sauce, just skip the Pad Thai Sauce recipe above.
1/4 cup warm water + tamarind pulp the size of golf ball
1/4 cup fish sauce
4 tablespoons palm sugar
1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons paprika powder (if you like it hot, use 2 tablespoons)
Soak the tamarind pulp in warm water for 15 minutes to extract the juice. Squeeze the seeds and membrane of the tamarind pulp to get the juice. Filter the tamarind juice for use and discard the residue.
In a small sauce pan, heat up tamarind juice, fish sauce, palm sugar, and paprika powder. Lower the heat and let it simmer until the sauce thickens. Turn off the heat when it’s done.
The Pad Thai sauce is good for 8 oz. of noodles in the recipe.
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