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Jet Tila makes 2 classic Thai dishes: Panang chicken curry and pad thai

Jet Tila's family was among the first to introduce pad thai to America nearly 50 years ago.
/ Source: TODAY

Chef, television personality and cookbook author Jet Tila is stopping by the TODAY kitchen to prepare two classic Thai recipes from his cookbook "101 Thai Dishes You Need to Cook Before You Die: The Essential Recipes, Techniques and Ingredients of Thailand": traditional pad thai and panang curry.

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The most famous Thai dish in America! Making a good pad thai takes time. There's a delicate dance with the noodles because they cook in three stages. First you soak them in warm water, and they begin to absorb and soften. They first get pan-fried with all the ingredients. Be patient at this stage. Allow them to begin to yield and marry with the hot oil and other ingredients. Once they look soft enough to eat right out of the pan but slightly al dente, add the sauce to finish the cooking.

My family was among the first to introduce this dish to America nearly 50 years ago and the American version differs slightly from the native one. The super bright orange was accentuated with paprika instead of the traditional addition of chile paste to give it a slight tint. And we typically finish this dish with garlic chives vs. green onions. I always say pad thai is like pancakes. You'll burn a few before you get the knack for it.

Never shake the can of coconut milk! You want the cream to naturally separate and rise to the top. You can use that natural coconut cream like cooking oil to fry your curry pastes.

If you like those Thai recipes, you should also try these:

Thai Beef Salad (Yum Neau)