I posted a recipe for Pad Thai when I first started this blog, but I think it deserves a re-post. I made a few slight changes to the recipe this time and I opted for tofu instead of meat (both options are in the recipe). It was actually my first time cooking with tofu and I think I’m a new fan. I don’t much like the flavour of tofu, despite its reputation for being tasteless; but the flavours in this dish are strong enough to cover up any subtle hints of bean curd.
I consider myself something of a Pad Thai aficionado. I was lucky enough to experience a month of travelling through Thailand when I was younger. It was a totally different type of cuisine to what I was used to, but I fell in love with it immediately. Pad Thai is a very common dish in Thailand (it literally means noodles cooked Thai style) and can be found everywhere from restaurants to street vendors. Needless to say, I ate a lot of it whilst over there.
Thai cuisine has become quite popular in Australia, but I haven’t been impressed with any of the Pad Thai versions I’ve bought here, unfortunately. They’re always bland, overcooked and a complete injustice to the fabulous flavours of Thailand. The recipe I’ve taken to using is very authentic and flavoursome, and nothing like what you would get at a western Thai restaurant. If you’ve had Pad Thai before and weren’t too fussed, I highly recommend you give this a go. Once you’ve made it a couple of times you’ll get a feel for it and will be able to whip this up without having to look at a recipe. Plus it’s healthy!
It is important to note that measurements are a guide only, as is often the case with Thai cooking. You are aiming for a balance of sour, salty, sweet and hot. One brand of fish sauce may have different levels of salt to another for example, so adjust to taste.
- 400g of rice stick noodles
- 300g chicken or firm tofu (or even prawns)
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce (I use Kikkoman)
- 1 tsp cornflour
- 1-2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1-2 shallots, finely chopped (sometimes called eschalots)
- 2-3 fresh red chillies, or whatever you are comfortable with, finely sliced
- 3-4 spring onions, sliced
- Handful of bean sprouts
- 1/4 cup chicken stock if you have it – not essential
- Pre-ground white pepper (black is fine)
- Peanut or vegetable oil for stir-frying
Pad Thai Sauce:
- 2 Tbsp tamarind paste
- 1 Tbsp fish sauce (sub. with soy sauce for vegetarian)
- 2-4 tsp chilli sauce or sambal oelek
- 50g palm sugar, finely grated (can sub. with brown sugar)
- Corriander leaves
- Extra spring onion, sliced
- 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, lightly roasted in pan/oven and chopped
- Wedges of lime
Begin soaking the noodles in warm or room temperature water whilst preparing the other ingredients. The noodles will turn opaque white when they are ready to use. They should be limp but not too soft as they will be fried later to finish cooking.
Slice chicken or tofu into thin strips. In a bowl add cornflour and slowly mix in soy sauce to avoid lumps. Add chicken or tofu to marinate and set aside.
Heat a clean, dry frying pan and lightly toast the peanuts (garnish). Set aside the peanuts and make a small omelette in the pan with the eggs. Roll up omelette and slice, set aside.
Combine ingredients for sauce and stir to dissolve the sugar.
Stir fry chicken or tofu in wok or large fry-pan on very high heat. If wok becomes dry, you can add a little chicken stock to keep it frying nicely. Ensure that it maintains a good sizzle though, you don’t want to stew the meat. Continue until chicken is browned all over.
Add garlic, shallots and chilli. Continue stir frying until fragrant.
Add well drained noodles and sauce. Gently toss for 1 minute. Add bean sprouts, spring onion and pepper and toss for another minute.
Serve with a generous sprinkle of corriander, extra spring onions, omelette slices, peanuts and a wedge of lime to squeeze over the top.