Pad Thai

21 May

Pad Thai is probably the best known Thai noodle dish, and rightly so. The flavourings are a special blend of sour tamarind, sweet palm sugar, salty fish sauce or shrimp paste, garlic, chilli, shallots or spring onions, roast ground peanuts and preserved vegetables. To which all kinds of vegetables can be added including all forms or oriental leaves, beansprouts, carrots, cabbage, mushrooms, mangetout along with any combination of protein such as tofu, chicken, pork, dried shrimp or prawns. This version uses pork and dried prawns, home made salted radish preserve, beansprouts, pak choi and garlic chives.
Serves 2 large portions or 4 regular portions

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp dried shrimps
  • 1 pork chop, cut off the bone and finely sliced.
  • 1-2 tbsp salted turnip or radish
  • 200g medium or large dried flat rice noodles
  • 2 red hot chillis, finely sliced
  • 2 handfuls of pak choi (or other vegetables)
  • 2 tbsp peanuts, roasted and crushed
  • small bunch of garlic chives, chopped
  • 2 handfuls bean sprouts
  • Garnish with any combination of: crushed peanuts, bean sprouts, cucumber match sticks, grated carrots or lime wedges

Pad-Thai Sauce (4 tbsp)

  • 1 tsp tamarind concentrate (or juice of half a lime)
  • 1/4 cake palm sugar or 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 ladle of hot water
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce

As with any stir fried dish it is best to prepare all the ingredients in advance as the cooking process should be quick fire. When everything is in place the cooking is very simple.

Mix together the sauce ingredients and set aside. Soak the noodles in cold water for 10 minutes, or cook as directed on the packet, drain and set aside. Prepare all the other ingredients ready to hand.

Heat the oil in a wok, add the garlic and dried shrimps stir-fry until fragrant. Add the pork and stir until the meat starts to colour. Then add the onion, chilli , pak choi and fry for 1 minute or so then add the salted radish and noodles, stir well and pour in the sauce, keep stirring until everything is well mixed. The noodles should be soft, if they are not add a little cold water and stir again.

Finally add the peanuts, garlic chives, and bean sprouts, toss and serve topped with your choice of garnish.

Variation Some recipes have an egg or two stirred into the mixture towards the end of cooking, but i prefer it without the egg.

Cooks Note Preserved turnip/radish can be bought in oriental shops but you can easily make your own Salted Radish Preserves


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