Pad Thai is one of my favourite dishes, and having cooked it a lot recently, I thought I would update my recipe here. This borrows heavily from the excellent ‘How to make the perfect. . .’ series from the excellent Felicity Cloake at the theguardian.com. Its fairly straight forward, and I tweaked it to make it a little simpler. Her version uses prawns, mine uses chicken – but any protein would do!

2014-10-01 20.13.19Ingredients:

  • 120 g of 2-3 mm wide flat rice sticks
  • 15 ml, 1 tbsp, of tamarind concentrate (or you can use 60 ml tamarind water)
  • 1 tbsp small dried shrimps
  • 60 ml fish sauce
  • 4-5 tbsp (60 g) of  light brown sugar (or palm sugar for added authenticity!)
  • 1/2 tsp of chilli powder (or to taste)
  • 1 lime – half as juice, the other half (in quarters) as wedges for a garnish
  • 1 (very generous) tbsp (25g) of preserved salted radish
  • 2 tbsp (60 ml) of vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2014-10-01 19.56.35100 g extra-firm tofu, chopped into small cubes (I actually prefer fried tofu, which I can only find – other than in the local oriental store – described as ‘soy puffs’ here)
  • 1 – 2 chicken breasts, depending on their size
  • 2 large eggs
  • 100 g beansprouts
  • 2-3 spring onions (scallions), chopped
  • 50 g roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

Method:

  1. Firstly, some ingredients need to soak before being used:
    The noodles need to be covered with cold water, and allowed to soak for ~30 minutes. (If you soak them for less, you can always fry them later for a little longer, until they are cooked.)
    In a cup, or small jug, soak the dried prawns in enough boiling water to cover them (e.g. ~2-3 tbsp).
    The tamarind also needs to be soaked in boiling water too – about 2-3 tbsp. Work it a little, until it dissolves – into some juice, some pulp, and seeds. When its needed, work it through a sieve.
  2. 2014-10-01 19.56.17Secondly, it pays dividends to get everything else prepped and in easy reach of the stove. You could also whisk the 2 eggs together so they are ready to go too.
  3. Mix together the fish sauce, prepared tamarind, sugar, lime juice, salted radish and set aside, ready for use in a moment.
  4. Ready? In a wok, using half the oil, fry the chicken – when it is nearly (about 3 quarters) cooked, add the tofu and fry until the chicken has started to lightly brown.
  5. Set aside the chicken and tofu, and fry, with about half the remaining oil, the eggs. Stir occasionally until cooked through. I find this is easiest if the eggs are cooked as a thick omelette – not scrambled eggs – as they’re easily broken up later. Set aside with the chicken and tofu.
  6. Add the last of oil, and fry the garlic – making sure it doesn’t brown. (I.e. just 1-2 minutes.)
  7. Add the noodles, the fish sauce mixture, plus the water that was used to soak the dried shrimp. Fry until the noodles are cooked – you can tell, as they’ll start to clump together.
  8. At this point add the chicken etc, plus the dried shrimp – allow to combine – then add the beansprouts, spring onions and peanuts (reserve a little of each to sprinkle on top). Cook for 1-2 further minutes, just to allow all the ingredients to combine and warm through.
  9. Top with the reserved beansprouts, spring onions,peanuts, and a wedge of lime, then serve.
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