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!
- 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
- 100 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
- 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.
- Secondly, 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.
- Mix together the fish sauce, prepared tamarind, sugar, lime juice, salted radish and set aside, ready for use in a moment.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the last of oil, and fry the garlic – making sure it doesn’t brown. (I.e. just 1-2 minutes.)
- 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.
- 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.
- Top with the reserved beansprouts, spring onions,peanuts, and a wedge of lime, then serve.