Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pad Thai (ผัดไทย) / Thai Stir-Fried Rice Noodle - (AFF - Thailand)

Time flies really fast. It's November already and it's Thailand month for Asian Food Fest.

This stir-fried rice noodle dish is commonly found along the street or at casual local eateries everywhere in Thailand. Pad Thai is also one of the Thailand's national dishes and has become popular in many countries. Just walk into any of the Thai restaurant or eateries, they definitely have Pad Thai in the menu.

Other than the usual Tom Yum Goong (Thai sour and spicy soup), Pad Thai is one of my favorite food. 5 years ago, I went Bangkok, and I didn't get to eat any good Pad Thai. 3 months ago, Max brought me, my MIL and friends to Phuket for vacation. And he brought us to one Thai fine dining restaurant beside JW Marriott for some authentic thai food. I ordered Pad Thai, and I'd say, that's the best Pad Thai ever! I still remember how it taste, but I didn't take photo of it.

Pad Thai is indeed a significant street food that I personally adore so much. Traditionally, prawns are used in Pad Thai. However, chicken or pork Pad Thai is also found commonly nowadays. If I were to describe the taste of this dish, the tang from the tamarind pulp, the special saltiness from fish sauce (Nam pla น้ำปลา), the sweetness from the palm sugar and the hot from the red chilli pepper. Fwoooh!!! I love it!!!

It may looked simple, but I have to confess that, to make a good serving of Pad Thai do need abit of patience here.

The list of ingredients here is quite long. If you are looking more into traditional Pad Thai recipe, this is it. However, in such modern days, people do tends to modify or forgo some of the ingredients when they cook it at home. Hence, it's eventually up to you to decide what kind of Pad Thai you want to serve.

Ingredients (Serves 3 to 4)
(Source : She Simmers, with modification)

  • 200g Thai Dried Rice Noodles
  • 4 tbsp Ground Nut Oil or Cooking Oil
  • 100ml Pad Thai Sauce *See below for recipe, also see Note
  • 2 cloves Garlic (8g), peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 medium Shallot (20g), peeled and finely chopped
  • 24g Chopped Preserved Radishes (a.k.a 菜圃)
  • 8g Shell-On Dried Krill
  • 100g Firmest Tofu you can find *See Note
  • 220g Large prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 110g Bean Sprout
  • 5 stalks of Chinese Chives (韭菜), about 50g

For Pad Thai Sauce
  • 36g Fish Sauce
  • 45g Palm Sugar (I used Gula Melaka)
  • 12g Brown Sugar
  • 30g Tamarind Paste rub in 40g Water, discard the seed
For Garnishing
  • Sugar
  • Dried red pepper flakes
  • Fresh Lime wedges
  • Chopped roasted peanuts
  • Extra tofu
  • Extra bean sprouts, soaked in water to keep them fresh and crunchy
  • Chinese chive stalks
  • Red Chilli (Optional)
  • Coriander (Optional)
  1. Soak Dried Rice Noodles with water for 1 hour or until it is completely soften, drained.
  2. In a small saucepan, put all Pad Thai sauce ingredients in and cook over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugars have dissolved. Once the sauce is boiled, remove sauce from heat and let it cool down for later use.
  3. Cut the chive blades into 1-inch pieces, reserve the bottom parts of the stalks to eat with the finished dish. And also, prepare all the necessary ingredients and ensure everything is in place before you start cooking, included the garnishing.
Note : 
  1. Just one thing that you have to take note. Get the firmest tofu that you can get. Thai style firm tofu (used for Pad Thai) is yellow on the surface. I asked one of the Thai lady who run a Thai eatery in Golden Mile, as I want to know where to get it. She smiled and say "It is just tofu. If you cannot get it, you can just rub some turmeric powder on it and make it yellow. Color doesn't matter. It just looks nicer only". I'm glad to have her assurance. So, I go ahead to get a block of ordinary firm tofu and rub it with turmeric powder. However, I think this is absolutely optional :)
  2. The Pad Thai sauce can be made in advance. It freezes well. You can also cook the sauce in bigger batch, freeze the sauce in an ice cube tray, then pop out the frozen cubes and keep them in a freezer bag. Thaw out only what you need at a time. 
  1. In a flat non-stick pan, set over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot enough, add 2 tablespoons of ground nut oil.
  2. Once the oil is hot, immediately add the noodles in, followed by the sauce. Stir constantly. I used a spatula and a pair of chopsticks to keep the noodles moving all the time.
  3. about 40 seconds, you should be able to feel that the noodles have softened up considerably. Pls go ahead and taste the noodles to see if it is soft enough to your liking. If it doesn't, continue to cook further. Do splash some water to the noodles to soften it further if needed. Reduce the heat if needed too.
  4. Push the noodles to one side of the pan and add the remaining ground nut oil to the empty side of the pan.
  5. Add in garlic, shallot, preserved radishes, dried krill, tofu and fresh prawns.
  6. This is the critical point of process - Do whatever you can to keep the noodles moving almost constantly to keep them from burning or forming excessive crust at the bottom, at the same time, get the shrimp to cook about half way through, AND keep the small bits of the stuff in the pan from burning.
  7. Once the fresh prawns is turning abit opague on both sides and all the small bits are getting brown, make a well in the middle into which you add the eggs.
  8. Break and scramble the eggs with the tip of your spatulas; let them cook undisturbed on one side before flipping and breaking them into smaller pieces, keeping an eye on the other members of the pan the whole time, especially the noodles.
  9. By the time the eggs are cooked, the prawns should be fully, but not overly cooked. The noodles are soft and chewy and the sauce has been entirely absorbed into the noodles. You will also noticed that the little bits has crisped up and kinda caramelized. Heat off immediately.
  10. Add in the 1-inch Chinese chives and bean sprouts to the pan and give it a quick but gentle stir. The intention is to wilt the bean sprout and chives while getting all the bits thoroughly interspersed into the noodles. Serve the Pad Thai immediately, or you can let it cool for 8 to 10 minutes in the pan. I did rest my Pad Thai for awhile, and I think it is at its best when the noodles gets to rest awhile :) 
  11. To serve - Refer to my photo and you will know what are the condiments and garnishing to go along with Pad Thai. Do season with extra fish sauce if you wish. I'd highly recommend you to add dried red pepper flakes for extra kick. I love it!
This is exactly how it looked like (I mean the amount of condiments and garnishes to go along with) when I had my Pad Thai at Ginja Restaurant Phuket :)

On a note, I source all my ingredients at two location. One is at Golden Mile Complex, Beach Road. And another one is at Sheng Siong, Chin Swee Road.

The Thai Dried Rice Noodles : I got it from Golden Mile Complex. They have a Thai super-mart there. They sell everything about Thailand and Vietnam stuffs. Do remember that this Thai dried rice noodles has different thickness. You may choose the thinner ones for shorter cooking time (I assume). However, I'd chosen the thicker version because this is the exact thickness of rice noodles that I had when I'm in Phuket :)

The dried krill : I have it at home. I got mine during my trip to Tokyo last year. It looked very much the same as the one I saw in Thailand last time. So, I decided to go ahead to use it without buying. However, I strongly believe that Golden Mile Complex Thai super-mart do carry this. Do ask around.

The rest of the ingredients : I just make a trip to Sheng Siong and I've got everything I want. No stress at all.

These are all the condiment and garnishing needed for Pad Thai. So, do prepare way ahead. Once your Pad Thai is cooked, you can use it immediately.

If you never try Thai food before, this might be a good dish to start with to introduce yourself to Thai food. It has a good combination of classic flavors and it is mild and not so spicy.

This Pad Thai recipe is quite delicious and the recipe is not difficult to follow. The key is to read every single steps, draft out the shopping list to ensure you didn't miss out anything when you shop for ingredients. Get everything ready before you start cooking. If you follow this, you won't go wrong.

So, don't feel stressed. Keep calm and get cooking! :)

Like Pad Thai? You don't have to go to Thailand. Cook it at home over the weekend!

Today marked a very significant day in my life. After I struggled and neglected my blog for a year, I finally completed my program and I can now spend more time cooking, baking and for myself. Oh..Happy Day!!!! :)

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest ( Thailand ) – November Month hosted by Lena of frozen wings

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