An all time favourite Thai export!
A few specialist ingredients here – dried shrimp, pickled turnip – found in Oriental stores
A note on the dry noodles. Always err on the side of caution and undersoak if you’re not sure as you can always add water to the cooking to soften them but if they’re too soft to begin with, you’ll end up with stodgy noodles!
A good Pad Thai depends on a good pad thai sauce. Don’t be tempted to buy jar stuff – it’s all rubbish!
Ingredients (serves 2)
180g dry pad thai noodles – soaked according to packet instructions
2 handfuls of beansprouts
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 handfuls tofu, firm and sliced into bitesize pieces (see pic)
2 handfuls (60g) prawns or meat of your choice
2 tbsp roasted peanuts, roughly ground
1 tbsp dried shrimp, ground, resembling floss (see above pic)
1 tbsp pickled turnip (optional, won’t affect the final taste much)
1 tbsp chopped spring onions
3 tbsp veg oil
to serve – fresh lime, chilli flakes, ground peanuts
Pad Thai sauce (about 2 portions)
150mls tamarind juice
150mls fish sauce
100g palm sugar
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp chilli flakes
I usually make lots and keep it in the fridge for another day, up to a month
And usually, my sauce is made with 1 cup tamarind, 1 cup fish sauce and two thirds cup of palm sugar. Tradionalists will use the same amount of sugar to the sauces but I hate a cloyingly sweet pad thai!
I like to use a combination of chilli powder & flakes, a trick I learnt on a liveaboard SCUBA diving trip to the Similan Islands in Thailand, a lifetime ago, sans children!
Lets make the sauce. This is fairly quick and can be made way in advance and kept in the fridge. Be warned, if you’re not used to the smell of fish sauce, my kids say it stinks!
1. Put the sauce ingredients apart from the chilli into a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Add a quarter to half to full the amount of chilli, depending on how hot you like it. Taste it (yup, you’ll get used to it!) and make sure that it’s hot enough. Don’t put too much chilli in at once. If you don’t have palm sugar, add a tbsp more of white sugar, if that’s what you’re using. That’s it, it’s done!
2. Now the noodles. Heat the oil in a large wok and cook tofu, stirring constantly (and any meat if using).
3. Add the garlic, a tbsp of pad thai sauce to flavour the tofu, stir.
4. Add the beansprouts, noodles and half a cup (100-120mls) of pad thai sauce, stirring vigorously to coat everything.
5. Add prawns now, if using. Another stir to coat.
6. Push noodles to one side of wok, add the 2 eggs, scramble slightly and let it set for about 20 seconds. Then give everything a good mix.
7. Make sure the prawns are done, turn the heat off, add the dried shrimp floss, pickled turnips and half the ground peanuts, give it a quick stir.
8. Squeeze some fresh lime juice, transfer to a serving dish or individual plates, scatter with spring onions and a little more peanuts and serve immediately.
For an impressive presentation, serve as in main pic below, side portions of lime, peanuts, beansprouts, chilli flakes and fish sauce, for guests to help themselves to.