Pad Thai


This ubiquitous Thai noodle dish is one of my favourite things to order if I have lunch at a Thai restaurant. So IÕve been experimenting to try and find a version that I can cook at home. Here is my latest attempt, which was pretty damn good, I say modestly.


The ingredients can vary with what you have in the house. For the protein you can use sliced chicken breast, shelled green prawns, sliced pork or diced tofu. You can also cook an egg or two as an omelette in the wok before you start the meal proper, slice that and add it at the end.


I use those precooked noodles for ease, or cook either cellophane noodles or my preferred brand of thin egg noodles (Changs) and use those.


For the vegetables, I think that garlic, onion and bean sprouts are pretty much essential, and I also like some sliced cucumber. Red capsicum is good for colour. Mushrooms and snow peas are good too. Whatever floats your boat. I have also been adding a few pickled vegetables, cut up small, to give the dish some bite.


For the sauce you need equal amounts of lime or lemon juice, fish sauce and brown sugar, than a slug of some kind of light vinegar. About 2 tbs of each will suffice for two people. I also dump in a lump of crunchy peanut butter – this seems to thicken the sauce really well. (I would like to use a big lump but usually restrict myself to about 1 tsp because it is so high in fat.) If you have coriander leaves they can go in here, or, if youÕre desperate, a squeeze from a tube of concentrated coriander. I confess to using this a lot because my repeated attempts to grow coriander have come to nought and bought fresh herbs are so horrendously expensive and I always end up throwing half of them away.


I begin my mixing the sauce ingredients together and putting them aside. If IÕm using precooked noodles I cover them in boiling water to separate them, otherwise I put the noodles on to cook.


Then I cut all the protein and vegetables up into roughly equal-sized cubes, except the garlic which I crush. Then I put the wok on to heat with a little corn or canola oil.


When the wok is hot I put the garlic in to sizzle, then add the onion. When thatÕs partly cooked I add the chicken/pork/prawns/tofu; when they are partly cooked I add the rest of the vegetables and stir for a few minutes. Then in go the noodles and the sauce, some more stirring until itÕs all hot, add the sliced omelette if youÕve used it, and itÕs done.


Garnish with crushed peanuts, sliced spring onion, coriander, chilli flakes or whatever you like to add extra flavour.