Menu 33: Pad Thai and Mango and Papaya Salad

This menu reminds me of the upcoming summer.   Here in Florida we are feeling the heat and both of these choices can be refreshing and quick, so less time spent in a hot kitchen.

  • Pad Thai – Page 203
  • Mango and Papaya Salad – page 481

Pad Thai has been known in various forms for centuries – it is thought to have been brought to the ancient Thai capital of Ayuthaya by Vietnamese traders – it was first made popular as a national dish by Luang Phibunsongkhram when he was prime minister during the 1930s and 1940s, partly as an element of his campaign for Thai nationalism and centralization, and partly for a campaign to reduce rice consumption in Thailand. The Thai economy at this time was heavily dependent on rice exports; Phibunsongkhram hoped to increase the amount available for export by launching a campaign to educate the poor in the production of rice noodles, as well as in the preparation of these noodles with other ingredients to sell in small cafes and from street carts.

Then we have a dessert made of Mango, Papaya and for good measure some pomegranate and melon you know you cannot go wrong.  I love mango, I grew up around it - in fact my family home in Venezuela had four mango trees in the backyard and I learned to climb them, sitting pretty high up, eating their sweet flesh and then licking my sticky hands clean.  We ate them in ice cream, in desserts, in juices, in “merengadas” or “batidos” (shakes/smoothies) there was not place in my country that you could not find this fruit utilized in its tropical cuisine.  The same can be said for the Papaya. 

This ripe fruit is usually eaten raw, without skin or seeds. The unripe green fruit of papaya can be eaten cooked, usually in curries, salads and stews. It has a relatively high amount of pectin, which can be used to make jellies. Green papaya is used in south East Asian cooking, both raw and cooked. The black seeds are edible and have a sharp, spicy taste. They are sometimes ground and used as a substitute for black pepper. In some parts of Asia, the young leaves of papaya are steamed and eaten like spinach.

Put these two together and just like the book said, it becomes a quick refreshing dessert, perfect for a day at the lake, or beach.

Are you ready to welcome those hot summer days?  I know I am.

Let’s get cooking guys.