I’ve been wanting to post pad Thai for a while but have been a little hesitant as it’s one of those foods that has history, tradition and with it a whole line of followers. It’s a bit of an institution and those who are true devotees are pretty staunch in their belief that you just don’t mess with pad Thai.
I know these people, they almost always order pad Thai from Thai restaurants and they can easily point when one is too oily, doesn’t have enough acidity, is lacking in tamarind or has overcooked noodles. I know because I live with one of these self-proclaimed connoisseurs.
But when carrying out my ‘pad Thai research’ I noticed much more variation in ingredients than expected. I assume this variation is driven by the availability of protein and produce in different provinces. Pad Thai actually originated from Vietnamese traders and was adapted to suit Thai ingredients and flavour profiles. So keeping this in mind I’m a little more comfortable in posting this version of a deeply traditional dish. It’s simple and delicious and just like it’s Thai takeaways counterpart, delicious eaten cold from the fridge the following day!
2 chicken breasts
Enough chicken stock to cover chicken breasts
200g dried pad Thai noodles
2 ½ tbsp peanut oil
½ tsp shrimp paste
50g fried firm tofu
3 tbsp tamarind water (soak tamarind in water)
3 tbsp palm sugar
3 tbsp fish sauce
3 spring onions, sliced
2 chillis, sliced (optional)
1 cup mung beans
¼ cup peanuts, roughly chopped
¼ cup cashews, roughly chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 cup coriander, stalks and leaves roughly chopped
1 lime, cut into wedges to serve
1. Bring chicken stock to a simmer and then add the chicken breasts and poach for 15-20 minutes or until cooked right through, then set aside.
2. Placed dried noodles in a large bowl and pour over cold water. Leave to soak while you prepare and gather the other ingredients.
3. Once the chicken is cooked bring a pot of water to the boil for the noodles. Cook the noodles and then strain and run cold water over them to stop the cooking process.
4. Either slice or pull the chicken into pieces.
5. In a large pan fry the shrimp paste in the peanut oil.
6. Add the tofu and chicken. Then add the noodles, the tamarind, palm sugar and fish sauce.
7. Move the noodles to one side of the pan and crack the eggs into the other side. Scramble the eggs for a few seconds and then combine with the noodles.
8. Add the spring onions, chilli, mung beans, half of the peanuts and cashews, the juice of one lime and half of the coriander.
9. Once the egg is cooked your pad Thai is ready. Divide into bowls and garnish with the reserved peanuts and cashews and coriander.
10. Serve with lime wedges.