Pad Thai or Phat Thai depending on how you want to pronounce it, is a dish of stir-fried rice noodles. This dish is usually served as a street food and at casual local restaurants in Thailand. It is made with dried rice noodles (Banh Pho) which are then soaked until soft and stir-fried with egg and chopped firm tofu, and flavored with tamarind pulp, fish sauce, dried shrimp, garlic or shallots, red chili pepper and palm sugar and served with chopped peanuts and bean sprouts. Sometimes it is also stir fried without the egg and then served in an omelette. It is thought that the dish originally came from Vietnam.
Pad Thai is definately my favourite of Thai dishes and I eat it at every opportunity. I have cooked it at home too but not for some while. My first attempt was met with oohs and aahs and compliments as to how authentic it tasted. I guess I went down hill after that! No seriously, I don’t cook it enough, it isn’t hard to cook, but it is important to get the noodles right as you don’t want them overcooked, also you don’t have to use dried shrimp or tamarind and mostly in the west it is offered as a vegetarian dish or with chicken, pork or prawn. This recipe is made with chicken because it tends to be more tender than pork. I also don’t use the tamarind.
- 1 pack of dried flat rice noodles (Banh Pho)
- 120g or so fresh bean sprouts
- 2 chicken breasts cut into thin strips
- 1 pack firm tofu rinsed and squeezed dry then sliced into strips
- 2 large eggs
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 4 Thai shallots (or 1 banana shallot), thinly sliced otr if not available 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 2 red chillies, chopped
- 1/2 cup or 120g dried shrimp soaked in same amount of warm water for 5 minutes
- 1/8 cup or 30ml fish sauce (Nam Pla)
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 3 tbsp ketchup (optional) as this turns the dish a bit pink
- 1 tbsp palm sugar
- 4 tbsp chopped spring onions
- Fresh coriander leaves, chopped
- 50g roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
- 1 lime cut into wedges
Soak the pack of rice noodles in a bowl of warm water for about 20 – 25 minutes until al dente then drain in a colander and set aside in a damp teatowel.
Beat the eggs in a bowl and season with salt and pepper, then set aside.
In a large frying pan add a couple of tbsps of oil heat and add the egg mix and make a thin omelette. Cut into strips then set aside.
Heat the rest of the oil in a wok and add the garlic and onion until soft and golden then add the chicken, shrimp and the water and the chopped chillies and fry for about 5 minutes then add the sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, ketchup (optional), tofu, egg, noodles and bean sprouts.
Garnish the dish with the chopped peanuts, chopped coriander and wedges of lime.
When served onto the plate I always add a half a teaspoon of chilli flakes, a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of the chopped peanuts. This is just to add a bit of extra sweet, crunchy, spicyness!