It’s a stalwart in my eating repertoire and crave it like I crave pizza if I havent eaten it in a while. Its comfort food at its best, so simple, but yet quite often it can be all wrong and a bit bland.
I have always wanted to make it, but felt a bit intimidated, so last week off I went in search of the best pad thai recipe and found it on Pims fabulous food blog, chez pim. It’s a 101 of pad thai and an education on wok seasoning all rolled into one. I’m going to tell you how I made it and then you can look at her post (it’s very long), but well worth the read should pad thai be an important enough dish for you to master.
I modified her version slightly as she suggests and made the sauce as per my own taste. I went to Mainland China (Chinese shop in Claremont) to get the supplies including tamarind paste, hauled down my wok and got busy.
The main thing is to get all the ingredients lined up and ready as it takes a few very fast, action packed minutes to make. I used a proper wok (thinner metal, instant heat) on gas (is there any other way?).
pad thai sauce:
Here you need the sweet, salty, spicy and sour and comes in the following 4 ingredients
- palm sugar – sweet
- fish sauce – salty
- tamarind paste – sour
- chilli powder- spicy (I used chilli flakes)
Pim recommends equal parts palm sugar, fish sauce to tamarind paste and then chilli powder to your taste preference. I find tamarind incredibly intense (it can wreak havoc on your digestive system) so I used much less. I made a sauce with 1/2 cup fish sauce, 1/2 cup palm sugar (about 2 sugar cakes) and then a heaped tablespoon of tamarind. Sprinkle some chilli, taste, adjust seasoning etc. keep the sauce warm on the side to add to the pad thai.
Now that I have got up close and personal with the ingredients, pad thai is in no way, shape, fashion or form a ‘healthier’ option. There I was living under a nice false illusion that it was a better choice. It’s a double whammy very high sugar and fat content. damn!
I soaked the rice noodles in hot water for about 5 minutes until very al dente. Rinse under cold water to stop the absorbtion and then drizzle over some oil, like you would with pasta in order to keep the noodles separate otherwise they stick together and clump in the wok.
Pim suggests cooking smaller volumes in the wok ie: one portion at a time which makes sense.
I used the following ingredients per portion:
- about 6 prawns, deshelled and deveined (I like to leave the head on as I find the cooked brain juice adds to the overall flavour and is rather delicious to eat). You could also use chicken or tofu for a veggie option.
- 1 garlic clove – crushed
- a small handful of mung bean sprouts
- a small handful of chopped spring onions (Pims recipe includes Chinese chives, but these are not readily available)
- 1 egg
- chopped / ground up roasted peanuts or cashew
- wedge of lime for squirting on at the end
- I sprinkled over coriander which is not in the recipe but I love it
ok how to make:
Heat a good splash (about 3 – 4 tablespoons) of oil in the wok until it’s just starting to smoke. Add the garlic and then the prawns and toss around. You could add a dash of the sauce. When the prawns are cooked on both sides and they are pink, take about a cup of noodles (handful) and add to the wok, tossing about to separate. Add a ladle of sauce and stir fry. I then added the spring onions and sprouts. Make some space in the middle and break the egg and stir through. Toss around a bit more and then serve up on a plate. Sprinkle over nuts and coriander and spritz with lime juice.
This recipe tastes very authentic and is full of flavour. One very big tick for me. I’m super chuffed but also sad that it is going to be a bit more of a rarer treat for me from now on.
Check out this blog for more details and the source recipe: chez pim