I think pad thai is probably as close to a national dish as you can get in a country such as Thailand, it is available everywhere from hawker stall to five star restaurant. Pad thai is often served in a sort of thin omelette case which you peel open to reveal the noodles inside but that is far to fiddly for me! These noodles are usually offered with a choice of chicken or prawns and quite often will be served with a small pile of crunchy bean sprouts, a small spoon of sugar, a lime wedge and some crushed peanuts on the side.
This is a very fast dish to cook, as is often the way with SE Asian food, it is the preparation that takes the time.
You will need (serves 2):
• 100g Rice noodles (look for those that are thin and flat, rather like linguine)
• 1 onion chopped biggish pieces
• 2 cloves garlic chopped fine
• 1 cm square knob of fresh ginger chopped fine
• 1 Thai chilli, chopped fine
• 100g Prawns or chicken (cooked) as you wish
• 25g, Cashew nuts, roasted
• 2 Spring onion, chopped into fine strips
• A few leaves of fresh mint and fresh coriander
• 1 egg
• 100g Firm beancurd, cut into ½cm squares
• Small handful of beansprouts
• 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
• 2 tbsp tamarind juice (see note below)
• 3 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)
• 1 tbsp soy sauce
• 2 tsp paprika powder
• 2 tsp caster sugar
For the prik nam pla
• 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
• 2 tbsp fish sauce (the nam pla of the title)
• 2 tbsp cold water
• 2 heaped tsp caster sugar
• 3 or 4 finely chopped thai chillis
And then you need to:
Put dried noodles into large bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to stand for 15 mins, drain and put to one side.
Wash bean sprouts, blanch in boiling water for 1 minute, drain and refresh under cold water.
Mix together the ingredients for the sauce
Mix together the ingredients for the prik nam pla, making sure the sugar has dissolved.
In the wok or a small frying pan heat over medium heat about 1 tbsp groundnut oil. When hot add chopped beancurd. Fry for about 5 mins on each side until lovely and brown. Don’t throw these around too much, just leave them to cook away and then turn them over every so often with a palette knife. When cooked drain on kitchen paper and set to one side.
Heat wok over medium high heat, add 2 tbsp groundnut oil and when hot throw in onions, garlic, ginger, chilli. Stir for about 1 minute.
Add noodles and quickly stir. Add cashews, prawns/chicken, fried beancurd, bean sprouts and stir to mix.
Add sauce ingredients and continue to stir to make sure everything is coated. Then make a sort of well in the middle of the noodles and add the egg. Let to set for a little bit and then mix into the noodles. Keep stirring.
Add spring onions, mint and coriander, quick mix then tip out onto a big shallow dish. Sprinkle some more chopped coriander leaves on top, and serve immediately. For those who like it spicy add some of the prik nam pla for the authentic Thai afterburn.