Saiphin Moore, Rosa’s Thai Café
Pad thai is probably the most famous of all Thai noodle dishes. It’s always a safe bet to serve this dish because everybody loves it, even the fussiest of eaters.
Deliciously pungent tamarind is the key ingredient in this dish. It contains lots of vitamins and fibre, and helps stimulate your metabolism.
Fish sauce (nam pla) is a key part of Thai cooking. Rich in calcium, it’s made from distilled anchovy paste and is used as a natural food enhancer and as seasoning for Thai food. Think of it as an alternative to salt – it’s a bit fishier, but has a richer taste.
Sugar is used a lot in Thai cuisine to balance out other flavours. We tend to use palm sugar, which is a thick paste, instead of refined sugar. It comes from the palm flower and is a natural source of sweetness.
A deep pestle and mortar is an essential for Thai food. We use it to crush curry pastes, mince chilli and garlic for stir fries, and to toss salads. You’ll also need a good oiled wok for quickly frying your noodles and vegetables.
Saiphin’s Ultimate Pad Thai
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 300g of rice noodles, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes, then drained
- 8-10 prawns, shelled, deveined and heads removed or 120g of chicken breast
- 2 tbsp of dried turnip (available from Asian supermarkets)
- 2 handfuls of bean sprouts
- Chilli powder, to taste (optional)
- Bunch of Chinese chives or 2 spring onions, chopped
- 4 tbsp of roasted peanuts, crushed
- Lime wedges, to serve
For the pad thai sauce:
- 3 tbsp of tamarind paste (available from Asian supermarkets)
- 3 tbsp of vegetable oil
- 3 shallots, chopped
- 2 tbsp of palm sugar
- 1 tbsp of nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
- First make the sauce. Dilute the tamarind paste in 6 tbsp of warm water, then stir until it becomes a thick liquid.
- Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a wok, add the shallots and stir-fry until almost golden brown. Carefully add the tamarind sauce (in case it spits) and cook for 1 minute to reduce slightly. Add the palm sugar, stirring to break it up, then stir in the fish sauce and continue to cook over a high heat for 1 minute until it has thickened slightly. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and set aside.
- Now prepare the noodles. Scramble the beaten eggs in a hot wok with the remaining oil, then add the noodles and stir-fry until the egg breaks up and the noodles are soft. Add the meat of your choice and dried turnip and stir-fry until the meat are nearly cooked. Mix in 8 tbsp of the reserved sauce and continue to stir-fry until the noodles take on a nice golden-brown colour. Add the bean sprouts, chilli powder (if using), Chinese chives and crushed peanuts and keep stir-frying for another 2 minutes. Transfer the noodles to 2 serving plates and serve immediately with lime wedges.
Chicken Pad Thai, Jyoti Patel of Feast Box
- 1 pack of diced chicken thighs
- 3 shallots
- 1 bunch of spring onions
- 250g of chestnut mushrooms
- 1 can of bamboo shoots
- 1 bunch of coriander
- 1 lime
- 50g of peanuts
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 1 chicken stock pot
- 2 tbsp of peanut butter
- 5g of palm sugar
- 20g of soy sauce
- 10g of red chilli flakes
- 150g of pad thai noodles
- 20g of tamarind paste
- To start, add the diced chicken to a bowl with 2 tbsp of oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well and leave aside to marinate.
- Next prepare the vegetables. Peel and thinly slice the shallots, peel and remove the outer skin from the spring onions and thinly slice diagonally (keep the whites and the green parts of the onion separate). Slice the chestnut mushrooms into 1cm slices. Drain and slice the bamboo shoots into matchsticks. Drain and slice the bamboo shoots into matchstick size sticks. Slice the lime in half and roughly chop the coriander.
- Roughly chop the peanuts and place in a hot dry pan on a medium heat. Toast for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Once toasted, remove the nuts from the pan and set aside. Fill and boil your kettle.
- In the same pan, heat 2 tbsp of oil and fry the marinated chicken for 2-3 minutes until brown all over. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
- In the now empty pan, heat 3 tbsp of oil and add in the sliced shallots. Fry in the hot oil for 2-3 minutes until they start to soften then add the crushed garlic and fry for 1 minute.
- Next, add in the sliced mushrooms. Toss well into the fried onions and fry for 2-3 minutes on a medium heat. While the mushrooms are frying, dissolve the chicken stock pot into 200ml of boiling water.
- Add the chicken, along with any residual meat juices, back into the pan, tossing well with the fried onions and mushrooms for 1 minute. Pour in the chicken stock and add the peanut butter, palm sugar, soy sauce, and red chilli flakes. Stir well.
- Simmer for about a minute, then reduce the heat and continue to simmer while you prepare the noodles. Place the noodles into another saucepan and top with boiling water. Boil the noodles for 3-4 minutes or until soft.
- Drain the noodles using a sieve and rinse under a cold tap. Leave the noodles aside to drain.
- Add the whites of the spring onion and the sliced bamboo shoots to the pad thai. Cook to warm through for 2 minutes, then add the cooked noodles, tamarind paste, spring onion greens and the chopped coriander. Toss well to evenly coat the noodles in the sauce. Squeeze the juice of half of your lime over the dish.
- Divide the pad thai between serving plates or bowls, accompanying each portion with a wedge or two of the remaining lime.
One-Pot Vegan Pad Thai, Maryanne Hall of Vegan Recipe Club
- Oil for frying (ideally sesame, but any is fine)
- 1 packet of stir fry vegetables
- 1 packet of ‘straight to wok’ ribbon noodles
- 2 handfuls of marinated tofu pieces
- 1 handful of peanuts, roughly chopped
- 1-2 tbsp of peanut butter
- 3 tbsp of soya sauce
- 3 tbsp of sweet chilli sauce
- Juice of ½ a lime
Optional extras: fresh chilli, fresh coriander, Thai crackers (Sainsbury’s do a vegan version), vegetable spring rolls
- Heat a little oil in a wok or large frying pan and empty the stir fry veg into the pan.
- Fry for a few minutes before adding all of the other ingredients.
- Stir frequently for a few minutes to ensure that the noodles are cooked and the peanut butter has softened and is evenly distributed.
- Serve immediately.
Pad Thai, Ligia Lugo of The Daring Kitchen
- 280g of flat rice noodles
- 200g of chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 85g of tofu, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 8-10 prawns
- 3 eggs, whisked
- ½ a red bell pepper, sliced
- ¼ cup of spring onions, chopped
- ¼ cup of fresh coriander, chopped
- 1 cup of bean sprouts
- ¼ cup of peanuts, toasted
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Sesame oil, for frying
For the sauce:
- 2 tbsp of low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp of fish sauce
- ¼ cup of brown sugar
- 2 tbsp of freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tsp of garlic paste
- 1 tbsp of sriracha hot sauce
- Cook the rice noodles according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix together all the sauce ingredients and set aside.
- Grease a frying pan with some oil and heat up over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Now, add chopped chicken and bell pepper. Stir well and cook until the meat is completely cooked through. Add tofu and prawns. Mix well and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Using a large wooden spoon, gently move the ingredients to one side of the pan. Add some more oil and pour in the eggs. Scramble the eggs breaking them down with your spoon.
- Finally, pour in the sauce and stir in noodles, peanuts, spring onions, and coriander (reserve some of the peanuts and coriander for serving).
Prawn Pad Thai, Dairy Diary
- 110g of fried rice noodles
- 2 tbsp of soft brown sugar
- 1 tbsp of soy sauce
- 2 tbsp of tamarind paste
- 1 tbsp of fish sauce
- 2 tbsp of vegetable oil
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 2 Thai chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
- 2 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
- 1 egg, beaten
- 110g of beansprouts
- 200g of cooked prawns
- 50g of unsalted peanuts, chopped
- Handful of chopped coriander, to serve
- Soak noodles according to packet’s instructions. Mix sugar, soy sauce, tamarind paste and fish sauce together in a bowl.
- Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan or wok and stir-fry garlic, chillies and onions for 1 minute. Move to edge of the pan and add egg, stirring until softly scrambled.
- Stir in beansprouts and prawns and cook for 1 minute. Add drained noodles and sauces. Stir for 1 minute and then serve scattered with nuts and coriander, if using.
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