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Thai Food and a Winter Wonderland

By now, you know my mom is not very enthusiastic when it comes to cooking. Surprisingly, she seemed to make the occasional culinary effort when it came to my brother’s birthday or visits from my brother during college. The recent snowstorm in Philadelphia reminded me of the time my entire family and one of my brother’s college roommates were trapped in our house for three days – three long days. Looking back, we probably could have escaped, but my dad has what we call a “ziplock” mentality when it comes to weather. If you are in that house when the bad weather starts, you are there for the duration.

Over those three snow-filled days, my undomestic mother cooked her little heart out. She made piles of macaroni and cheese, chicken and pasta. My brother’s friend thought she was the greatest. We were checking her temperature. In full-disclosure, I should report that my mother – sans visits from my brother or any of his friends/family – made a 14 lb. turkey this past Saturday. My guess is that she was preparing to use this turkey as a weapon in case my parents tried to attack each other after being snowed in together for too long. 

Philadelphia Snowstorm 2010 - taken by our friend Warren

Unlike my mother, I decided not to cook during our 24-inches of snow this weekend. Instead, we went out to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Our reservation at Chifa was cancelled so we headed to Continental Mid-Town to toast our friend. I’m a sucker for Thai food so I had to try the Crab Pad Thai. On a side note, my love of Thai food amuses my dad and brother greatly. To them, Thai cuisine is a yuppie concoction enjoyed only by adventurous urban dwellers. You be the judge. Below is an easy-to-follow recipe I found at and a  nice change of pace from your normal meal routine.

As I write this, another foot of snow is expected here mid-week. I’m thinking homemade soup and some baking will have to get us through this one.

Crab Pad Thai (recipe from


  • 8 oz rice noodles
  • 1 cup tamarind water/concentrate 
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp sugar 
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce 
  • 8 tsp vegetable oil 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten 
  • 8 oz lump crabmeat
  • 2 cups bean sprouts 
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced 
  • 1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts, chopped 
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges, for serving


Prepare the noodles as directed on the package by soaking in hot water for 10-15 minutes until just softened, then rinsing under cold water. Set aside. Whisk together the tamarind concentrate, fish sauce, sugar, and soy sauce in a bowl and set aside. Make each serving one at a time: Heat two teaspoons of the oil in a wok over high heat. When the wok and oil are hot, drop around 2 cups of the noodles (about 1/4th) and toss continuously for 30 seconds. Add 1/4th of the sauce mixture and 1/2 tsp of minced garlic, tossing to coat the noodles. Push to the side and add in 1/4 of the beaten eggs. Let it start to set, then scramble into the noodles. Add 1/4th of the crab meat, bean sprouts, and scallions, toss to heat through, then plate. Top with peanuts and add lime wedges. Repeat for the remaining three servings.

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