If we ask anyone which one is the most famous dish of Thai cuisine, both locals and foreigners will tell you is the Pad Thai. Kway Teow Pad Thai consists on a plate of rice noodles fried, or sautéed Thai style.
This dish, with influences from Chinese cuisine, has suffered over time modifications in its ingredients, to make the flavor more of the taste of the Thai. Now it´s, undoubtedly, the symbol of Thailand´s national food.
In Thailand, you can find it practically anywhere, from the small street food stalls, to the most luxurious restaurants. Wherever you have a Pad Thai in Thailand, it´s gonna be delicious, so you can enjoy it in the bustle of the city, or in a much more relaxed atmosphere.
In Thailand there are many versions of Pad Thai, depending on the area of the country where they prepare it. Different ingredients can be used to prepare the sauce, that gives Pad Thai its characteristic flavor.
It can be prepared both with rice noodles, the version that we propose in this post, and with soy noodles, called Pad Thai Woonsen, which is also very tasty. There is also another variety of Pad Thai, that is served wrapped in a very thin layer of egg omelette, called Pad Thai Ho-khai.
As for the protein, we can use shrimp or prawns, chicken, pork, or the vegetarian version, with tofu.
The basic condiments that add flavor to the dish, are three: fish sauce for the savory taste, tamarind paste for the acidity point, and palm sugar for the sweetness.
How it is served:
In Thailand, Pad Thai is garnished with Chinese garlic or chives, a slice of lime, sugar, roasted peanuts, and toasted chili powder.
It can be served in two ways: all ingredients in the same dish, or with the accompaniments and condiments on a side. Like this, each guest can adjust the flavor to their taste.
Key tricks to give Pad Thai its typical color:
- The fat inside the head of the prawns to be used on the recipe, need to be very fresh. Prawns naturally produce the most beautiful and appetizing color.
- You can use dark soy sauce, which is not that common, to give the dish a less orangy color.
- The reduction and caramelization process of the Pad Thai sauce (which includes fish sauce, tamarind paste, and palm sugar) is key. You can double the amount of the sauce ingredients and reduce it in half in a pan, then prepare the plate, and add the sauce directly to the preparation (step 7 of the recipe). The color will be similar to the method using dark soy sauce.
For 1 person
- 2.5 oz of rice noodles
- 1.8 oz of bean sprouts
- 1.8 oz of hard tofu
- 0.7 oz of Chinese garlic sprouts
- 1 egg
- 1 shallot (1 tbsp)
- 5 prawns
- 1 tbsp of dried shrimp
- 1 tbsp of canned radish (optional)
For the sauce:
- 2 tbsp of fish sauce
- 2 tbsp of sugar palm
- 1.5 tbsp of tamarind paste
- Chili toasted powder (to taste)
- Chili toasted powder
1- Put the rice noodles to soak in water, at room temperature, for 1 hour.
2- Cut the garlic cloves into pieces of about an inch, chop the shallot and canned radish, cut the tofu into small pieces, and peel the prawns leaving the tail.
3- In a pan with a little vegetable oil, fry the prawns, and when they are almost cooked, reserve them for later.
4- In the same pan, fry the tofu.
5- When golden brown, add the shallot and the canned radish. When it starts to smell good, add the dried shrimp, and fry it for 1 more minute.
6- Add the rice noodles, and mix everything well.
7- Add water, little by little, so that the noodles are softened.
8- Add tamarind paste, palm sugar, fish sauce, and toasted chili to taste. Mix everything well.
9- To get the authentic color, use the fat from inside the head of the prawns. Fry it a little bit in the side of the pan, and mix it all well.
10- Put the noodles aside, add a little vegetable oil, and fry the egg.
11- Add the bean sprouts, the Chinese garlic, the prawns, and the roasted peanuts. Sauté it for 1 more minute, and it is ready to serve.