One of my favourite dishes of all time, I just don't think you can go wrong with Pad Thai. Good Asian food is one of the things I miss most about home (NZ and Australia are both full of amazing Asian eateries and Asian ingredients are really easy to find there too), and 8 times out of 10 when I go out to eat back home, it's for some kind of Asian cuisine. Thai is a particular favourite and Pad Thai has to be one of the easiest things to make yourself at home. It was a regular menu item back in the days when I had my very own kitchen (another thing I miss terribly about home). This recipe is very authentic and takes just a little bit of prep to get your ingredients all lined up and ready to be thrown in the wok.
Oil - soy bean oil or other similar cooking oil - 1.5 table spoon
Rice Noodles – roughly 1cm wide - 150 grams
Shallots – chop into small pieces - 1 tablespoon
Garlic – crushed and chopped into small pieces - 1 tablespoon
Tofu – hard/firm type, diced into small pieces - 3 tablespoons
Sweetened Pickled Radish – Daikon Radish, pickled in salt sugar, soy sauce & water - 1 tablespoon
Egg – 1 whole chicken egg
Fish Sauce – adjust to own taste – ½-1 tablespoon
Sugar – adjust to own taste, raw is best - ½-1 tablespoon
Garlic Chives – cut into 3-5 cm lengths - ¼ cup (Chinese supermarkets would be your best bet for finding these but you can substitute with spring onions if you can't find garlic chives).
Bean Sprout – rinse before using – 1/3 cup
Dried Shrimp (optional) – small baby shrimp/prawn bought dried - ½-1 tablespoon
Roasted Peanuts – unsalted & crushed, used as a garnish - ½-1 tablespoon
Lime wedge for garnish
Pad Thai Sauce* – tamarind sauce, palm sugar, fish sauce & water – 3 tablespoons
*Pad Thai Sauce
Add tamarind sauce and palm sugar in roughly a 50/50 ratio. Stir over a low heat in a large pot. Stir continually until blended. Then add fish sauce at roughly half the amount of other ingredients. Taste as you go and add more of each ingredient to achieve your preferred sweet/sour combination. If you are using real dry tamarind or a dry palm sugar, add water to begin with. Use a ratio of 1 tbsp dry tamarind, 1 tbsp palm sugar to 1 cup of water. You can cut dry palm sugar into small pieces so it dissolves quickly and easily. Reduce to a consistency similar to runny ketchup. If you are just making a small amount (1-3 servings) it should only take about 5 mins of of heating and stirring constantly. If making a larger quantity it may take up to 45 minutes and will only need stirring occasionally.
(You can probably find ready made Pad Thai sauce at your local Asian supermarket if you’d prefer)
1. Add oil, garlic and shallots to a cold pan/wok. Fry on low heat until it simmers and is fragrant.
2. Add tofu (or chicken, prawns, or all three if you like) quickly before the garlic burns. When the tofu starts to brown, add the egg. Move the egg around the pan as it cooks.
3. Add the noodle, salty radish and 3 tbsp of the Pad Thai sauce. Also add ½- 1 tbsp of fish sauce and the same with the sugar. Stir/blend and taste – add more fish sauce and sugar as needed.
4. Stir fry until the sauce dries out and is absorbed into the noodles and then turn the heat off.
5. Add the garlic chives and bean sprouts and stir. Garnish with lime slice, crushed peanuts, dry shrimp and chilli flakes.
NOTE: This recipe and the quantity given serves one so just multiply as needed. It can sometimes be easier to get a get the best result if you stir fry each serve one by one. The trick is to stir up the ingredients without overcooking and breaking up the noodles. I'll go ahead and admit that I usually just use ready made Pad Thai tamarind paste. It's definitely easier, the only down side is that you can't control how much sugar goes in or if any preservatives are added, but you are only using a small quantity anyway.