Perfect pad Thai
- Preparation and cooking time
- Serves 4
Toss plump prawns and beansprouts with rice noodles in this authentic, yet quick and easy version of a takeaway favourite
- 250g dried rice noodle (also called rice sticks)
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 garlic cloves , finely chopped
- 3 Thai bird's-eye chillies (or 2 thumb-sized), deseeded and finely chopped
- 3 tbsp palm sugar or soft brown sugar
- 6 tbsp tamarind paste mixed with 3 tbsp water
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tsp light soy sauce
- 300g peeled raw prawns , deveined
- 3 eggs , beaten
- 100g fresh beansprouts
- 2 tbsp preserved or pickled turnips , finely chopped
- ½ small pack chives , snipped into 2.5cm/1in pieces
- roasted and ground peanuts , optional
- lime wedges, optional
- coriander leaves, optional
- STEP 1
First, soak the noodles. If they are long, break them into 15cm-long pieces. Place in a large bowl and cover with warm water. Leave for 10 mins so they start to soften, but no longer. You want them to be firm when you cook them, otherwise they'll go soggy.
- STEP 2
Next, make the sauce. Put 1 tbsp of the oil in a wok. Keep the heat low and add the garlic and chilli. Stir for 2-3 mins, then add the palm sugar, tamarind, fish sauce and soy sauce. Keep stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Pour into a bowl and clean the wok.
- STEP 3
You will need to make the pad Thai in 2 batches so that the wok cooks everything quickly and at a high heat. Have all your ingredients ready to go. Pour a little more oil into the clean wok and heat until hot. Add half the prawns, cook for 1 min, then push to the side. Add half the beaten eggs, leave to set for 1 min, then scramble. Add half the noodles, beansprouts and pickled turnip, if using. Stir constantly, using 2 long spoons, heating the noodles through. Pour in half the sauce and keep stir-frying until absorbed, then stir in half the chives. Tip onto 2 plates and top with half the peanuts, lime wedges and coriander.
- STEP 4
Clean out the wok and pour in the remaining oil. Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients and serve.
PRESERVED AND PICKLED TURNIPS
Preserved turnips are dried, pickled, daikon radishes, and they add flavour to stir-fries, especially pad Thai. You can find them online at souschef.co.uk or from specialist shops. Pickled turnips have a brilliant purple hue as beetroot is added to the pickling liquid. Buy them from specialist Asian shops.
Pad Thai can sometimes go mushy, so the key is to soak the noodles until bendy but not soft. The wok will do the rest of the cooking for you. The dish is also best made in two separate batches, so the high heat of the wok can bring it together without being weighed down by too many noodles.