Two of the most valuables things I have learned are the following:
1. All Thai food encompasses four basic components of taste - sweet, salty, spicy and sour/bitter. A simple but very useful piece of information and, to me at least, it was news!
2. Preparation is key. There may be quite a bit to cut, chop, mince etc. But once the cooking starts, you really do need to have everything to hand as the dishes literally go from wok to plate in under ten minutes.
Now to the matter at hand; Pad Thai! This was the first dish that introduced me to the wonders of Thai cookery so it'll always hold a special place in heart (tummy). This recipe works very well with tiger prawns instead of the chicken, or even a combination of both is quite delicious.
Serves 3 - 4 people.
- 225 g egg noodles, soaked in cold water for 20-25 mins
- 3 chicken fillets, chopped
- 1 red and 1 yellow pepper, chopped into thin strips
- 2 shallots, finely chopped, lengthwise
- 100 g fresh bean sprouts
- 2-3 scallions, chopped finely on the diagonal
- A handful of finely chopped fresh coriander
- 100 g unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 cm sized piece of root ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 1-2 red chillies, finely chopped, include the seeds
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 tsp soft brown muscovado sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
1. Make sure your noodles are left aside to pre-soak. They will come to a firmish, al dente texture, and no cooking will be required, just heating through in the wok.
2. Heat a frying pan with half of the oil and fry the eggs to make an omelette.
3. Set the omelette aside to allow to cool, chop finely once cooled.
4. Heat the rest of the oil in a wok until very hot, add the chicken and peppers and stir fry for 4 - 5 minutes.
5. Add the shallots, garlic, chillies and ginger cook for another 1 - 2 minutes.
6. Add the drained noodles to the mixtures and cover with a piece of tinfoil tucked in around the ingredients. Cook for a further 1 - 2 minutes.
7. Mix together the fish sauce, lime juice and sugar and add this sauce to the wok.
8. Stir in the bean sprouts, omelette and most of the coriander and peanuts.
9. Toss a few times in the wok to mix everything.
10. Serve immediately with the scallions and the extra coriander and peanuts sprinkled on top.