Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Recipe: Pad Thai

I love pad thai. Love. Love. LOVE! I ate it all over Thailand on our honeymoon and it's my most favourite take-away choice. However I've never had much luck making it at home. The first recipe I tried was an easy cheats pad thai which tasted like very nice fried noodles but nothing like pad thai. Last week we went to the Sunday market by Te Papa and I saw a woman selling all kinds of curry pastes and sauces. I bought a tom yum paste, some tamarind sauce and a red curry paste. The tamarind is something I've never cooked with but I know is a vital pad thai ingredient. So I went to the supermarket to grab all the ingredients I needed and based my recipe off this one.

Pad Thai: a recipe tweaked by me but inspired by the one linked above.

Serves 2 - 3

120g 2-3mm wide flat rice sticks
60ml fish sauce
60ml tamarind water (you can use tamarind concentrate/sauce, thinned with a little water)
60g palm sugar
Fresh chilli, chopped, to taste
80ml groundnut or vegetable oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (I used 4)
200gm skinnless chicken breast, finely sliced
2 large eggs, ready cracked
100g beansprouts (mung beans)
2 - 3 spring onions (scallions), sliced diagonally
Fresh coriander (cilantro), to taste50g roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
Lime wedges, chilli, fish sauce and sugar, to garnish
Soak the rice sticks in hot water for about 10 mins until they are pliable. You'll know they are ready when you can wrap a strand around your finger. Drain and set aside.

Make the sauce by combining the fish sauce, tamarind and palm sugar in a small pan. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar and taste – add more of any of the ingredients as you wish. Strain if you've used tamarind paste as there will be some tamarind pulp and bits of seed left behind which aren't lovely to eat. Set aside until you're ready to use.

Make sure the ingredients are all ready for you to grab as you'll be working fast from now on. 

Put a wok (I used a fry pan) on a high heat and add half the oil. Add the garlic and whites of the spring onion, stir fry for a few seconds, then add the noodles and a splash of water. Stir fry until they're drying out, then add the sauce. Fry until they are almost soft enough to eat (they should be slightly chewy).

Push the noodles to the side of the wok and add the rest of the oil. Fry the chicken until it is beginning to colour, then push to the side and add the eggs. When the eggs are starting to set on the bottom, scramble.

Stir through the noodles, and add the beansprouts, fresh chilli, green part of the spring onions, coriander and peanuts. Stir fry until well combined, then serve with the garnishes for people to add as they wish.

I found this ended up to be just right for my taste. My husband was a lot less keen and felt it was too heavy on the fish sauce. Which he told me, after I'd been in the kitchen quite a while making this for our dinner and subsequently ended up with an ear bashing. Which I later apologised for but not until I'd dissolved into giggles hearing him blasting protest songs from his man cave (where he'd holed up in protest of free speech.) 

Pad thai is a very subjective dish so do tweak it to your own taste (and maybe your husbands?!) Make sure you taste as you go along so you can adjust and balance the sweet, salty and spicy flavours. You don't want to end up with a stand off as we did in this house.

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