Late July i'm jetting off on my first trip to Thailand (that is like SO 2004 right?) and i can't wait! Over the last 2 or so years i've tried to perfect my pad thai, and tonight is the closest i have gotten yet. Whilst the practices used in making the pad thai are pretty standard, this is not the easiest dish to make. A lot of intuition goes into knowing when to add ingredients, and most importantly, when the noodles are ready to add.
The recipe which i originally used gave the guideline 'the noodles can be added when they are flexible, but haven't enlarged'. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, the noodles stay in this 'twilight' state for about 10 minutes! If worst comes to worst, add the noodles earlier rather than later, and then keep testing and adding water to the wok before putting in the egg. The constant stirring will make the noodles a bit more 'gluggy' but the result will still turn out much better than overcooking the noodles in the first place. After a few takes, you'll get a better idea of when to add the noodles.
On a side note: i love tamarind? A partner once bought me a box of dried tamarinds as a snack, and despite their unappealing look (dried dog poop anyone?) the sticky sweet/sour flesh inside is delicious. If you are ever on Victoria St Richmond, pick some up from a grocer.
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 1 large pack pad thai rice noodles
- 1 chicken fillet (about 250gm)
- 400gm green prawns, shelled and deveined
- 3 tbsp tamarind paste
- 4 tbsp fish sauce
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 cup peanuts, crushed
- 2 shallots, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 lemons
- 1 bunch scallions, sliced diagonally (green part and white part in separate bowls)
- 2 eggs
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
MethodSoak the noodles in warm water for 10-15 minutes until flexible but chewy.
Meanwhile heat a wok over high heat with 1 tbsp oil.
Add the chicken and toss through until cooked. Set aside.
Heat a wok over highest heat
Heat 1tbsp oil and add the peanuts, tossing until fragrant.
Remove peanuts from pan and return to heat with remaining oil
Add the shallots and garlic and saute until beginning to brown
Add the drained noodles and toss through
Add the sugar, fish sauce, chili and tamarind and toss through
Test the noodles: if still to firm, add some water and stir through until the water is cooked out. Continue until noodles are 'al dente' (still a bit chewy but er pleasant)
Move the noodles to the side of the wok and crack the 2 eggs into the vacant side
Scramble the eggs until opaque but still runny.
Toss the noodles through the egg until all coated
Add the shrimp, chicken and white part of the scallions and continue to toss until prawns and pinkish white.
Add the peanuts and toss through, leaving some peanuts for garnish
Transfer to serving dishes.