Pad Thai

pad thai

This is another gem from my little pink Thai cookbook. It has become one of our favourite mid-week suppers.

When we were travelling in Thailand we ate Pad Thai (basically Thai fried noodles) an awful lot. As we were often off the beaten track and not able to speak the language this was the one thing we could both pronounce and rely on to be cheap and delicious. While it is ubiquitous in Thailand it seems as though every food place has its own slightly different recipe therefore you don’t feel as though you’re being too boring.

There was one occasion though when it let me down. We had walked to a road side restaurant in Kamphaeng Phet (a town not used to tourists). The waiter was unable to understand our few Thai words and so produced an old English/Thai dictionary. I looked up and pointed to the English word ‘noodle’ where upon the gentleman in question looked at me with a very puzzled expression. It was only then that I realised that I’d actually tried to order ‘a simpleton’. We ended up letting the waiter just bring us the dish of the day, a crab dish. It was delicious and proved that being adventurous often does pay off.

This dish is very simple to make. Once you’ve done the chopping and mixed up the sauce it takes about 5 minutes to cook. It does taste very good with home-made noodles but if you don’t have time for this then the ones you can buy ready to use (like Amoy ‘straight to wok’) are fine.

Pad Thai (Thai fried noodles)

Serves 2 generously

  • About 500g of fresh rice noodles, or cooked dried noodles, or home-made fresh noodles cooked (see my post Home-made pasta). This is the prepared weight
  • 2 tablespoons of groundnut oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon roasted peanuts, chopped
  • A good handful of chives or the green tops of spring onions, chopped (you can use the whites of the spring onion as a garnish on top)
  • Fresh vegetables, I generally use cabbage (finely chopped) and carrot (shavings made with a peeler so that they cook really quickly). In the photo I used kale which was fine. Bean sprouts are good too.
  • Lime wedges (optional)
  • Red chilli (optional)

Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce (or you can use Golden Mountain sauce as a vegetarian alternative)
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1-3 tablespoons of light brown or granulated sugar (the original recipe uses 3 tablespoons but I just can’t bring myself to use that amount of sugar so I tend to use about 1 ½ and it tastes fine)
  • 2 tablespoons of tamarind juice (or you can use lime juice as an alternative)

Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

Put 1 tablespoon of oil into a very hot wok and fry the garlic for a few seconds (only until golden brown) then add the noodles and vegetables. Fry for a couple of minutes to combine and then add the sauce and stir again until heated through.

Move the noodles to one side of the pan and add another tablespoon of oil into the clear space and add the eggs stirring briefly to mix the yolk and white.

Now leave until the underside of the egg mixture is cooked then spread the noodles over the top and leave briefly. Then give everything a good stir – you want to separate the egg a little whilst still leaving some larger chunks. Add the chives or spring onions and stir again.

Serve with a sprinkle of peanuts, lime wedges (if you have some) and rough chopped red chilli (if you like a little heat).

You can also add dried shrimps, fresh prawns, chicken or tofu to this dish. I would add these at the start with the garlic. Personally I prefer to keep it a simple vegetable only affair.

Vegetarians will need to use a vegetarian version of fish sauce for this dish.

NoodlesDSCN1672

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