Authentically Inspired, Practical Home Cooking
Introducing my new series Around the World in 30 Dishes: Authentically Inspired, Practical Home Cooking. My goal is to pick several regions around the world and explore it’s food through my kitchen. For each area I’ll try to make about 5 dishes. I want to take my inspiration from foods, techniques or ingredients that you could actually find in that region, but adapt them for a North American home cook. I’ll try to provide substitutions for ingredients that may be hard to find, not use anything that I can’t find in my local (Calgary, Alberta) grocery store and only use cooking tools that I already have at home.
The first region I’ve chosen is Thailand. My Dad recently moved to Thailand and has been trying all kinds of interesting new foods (including bats!). He told me that Hoi Tod is one of his favorites. Here’s my best attempt and advice for making it at home. I used this recipe as my inspiration and watched a couple videos that you can find at the bottom of the post.
There’s a lot of different (but similar) methods to make this recipe. The method I’ve posted is the one I found the easiest to do. I tried beating the eggs and putting them in with the tapioca flour mixture first, but that didn’t seem to give quite the right result, and I also tried to mix the egg in the ladle but I found that to be a little messy and requiring a larger ladle. Feel free to play around with it, I found it to be pretty resilient to error, I even forgot the seafood one time and my husband still thought it was okay.
Ingredients You May Be Unfamiliar With and Substitutions
- Tapioca Flour – I was able to find this in my local grocery store. It’s similar to cornstarch so you can use that in its place
- Fish Sauce – If you can’t find fish sauce you can use soy sauce in it’s place.
- Cilantro – If you hate cilantro you can just skip it. It is more mild after being chopped and cooked so you may want to give it a try before you decide.
- ¾ cup seafood (mussels are traditional - I really liked shrimp - you could also use clams or squid etc)
- 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
- fresh cilantro (optional)
- fish sauce (or soy sauce)
- 1-3 cloves garlic (optional)
- 3-4 eggs
- 3 green onions
- 8 tablespoons tapioca flour (or cornstarch)
- ½ cup soda water (or 7-Up)
- salt and pepper
- vegetable oil for cooking
- You'll want to have all of your ingredients prepped before you begin cooking. Slice the green onions, chop the cilantro and prep the seafood you are using.
- Heat oil in a large pan on medium high heat. Mix the tapioca flour (or cornstarch) with salt, pepper and soda water.
- In a ladle, scoop up a third or so of the tapioca mixture and pour it in the pan. drop the seafood and a pinch of green onions and cilantro on top. Crack the egg in the middle of the batter and break it open with a spatula and move it around to mix in with the rest of the ingredients. I had a tendency to want to pile them into a smaller space at this point but you actually want it to be spread out over a large space in the pan. (You should use a large pan than I did - you will want a BIG pan). This step should all be done fairly quickly.
- As the pancake starts to set, push it to the side of the pan and leave it alone while it gets crispy. When the bottom is crispy, flip it and let it cook on the other side. The finished pancake should end up being fairly crispy. I found I tended to undercook them - they still tasted good though so don't stress too much.
- While the second side is cooking throw down some minced garlic onto the opposite side of the pan. (If you are using a pan that was as small as the one I used, you may want to do this in a second pan). After the garlic gets aromatic, add the bean sprouts and fish sauce and stir fry until heated.
- Serve the pancake on top of the bean sprouts and top with Sriracha sauce (or another spicy pepper sauce if you don't have Sriracha).
Videos of Thai Street Vendors Making Hoi Tod
I found it helpful to watch videos of Hoi Tod being made. The methods of the vendors are a little different but I found these two both really good.