How to cook… Pad Thai

Today we are going to show you how to cook one of the most popular Thai dishes for foreigners. It is called “Pad Thai” or Thai Fried Noodles. It is not that difficult to cook but it involves a bit of an effort to prepare the ingredients. To be honest with you, we cheated a bit today. Our local pad thai food stall kindly gave us all the ingredients and also allowed us to make notes on her method of cooking. However, she wouldn’t tell us the secret ingredients for the sauce. This is what makes her stall more popular than others around this area. She actually admitted that even she doesn’t know the recipe as it is made by her mother in a back room. The ingredients you can see below are, from top and going clockwise, roasted peanuts, fresh rice noodles (sen jan), salted Chinese radish, fried tofu, red shallots, dried shrimp, fresh shrimp and two eggs in the middle. Normally it is one egg per dish. On the left, you can see Chinese chives, beansprouts and sliced lime. Some people use garlic instead of red shallots. I have also sometimes seen chicken instead of the more popular shrimp.

Heat the oil up in a wok. Add red shallots and cook until fragrant. Then add the fresh shrimp, salted radish, tofu and dried shrimp. Give a good stir all the time. Move the ingredients to one side and then break two eggs into the pan. Cook for about a minute and then mix in with the other ingredients. Move to one side again. Add the fresh rice noodles. If you are using dried noodles you must soak in water for about 10 minutes. Then add tamarind paste and the secret sauce. Adjust the taste to your liking by adding soy sauce or fish sauce and sugar. Stir slowly until the noodles become dry. Now mix all the ingredients together. Finally, add the Chinese chives and beansprouts. Stir this in but there is no need to cook it. Serve with fresh vegetables, ground roasted peanuts and a slice of lime. I think ours tasted just as good as the real thing! Looks good too.