Week 48. Thailand. Pad Thai.

In the last few years in the UK there has been a trend whereby Pubs replace dull British Menus with Thai Kitchens. Many people are up in arms about the dying traditions of our pub trade, but in my eyes if they are not going to make great British food then don’t do it at all. If I had the choice of a Jungle Curry and a Pad Thai over some gluttonous mashed potato and bland sausage I would go Thai every time.

There is an issue with Thai food though and I experienced this whilst in Thailand in 2000. For the Western Palate you can eat it and enjoy it and you can do this for 2 weeks, but on the 15th day you can’t eat it any more. You immediately get your fill of it and can’t face another Green curry or bowl of noodles. I started to dream of ham and cheese baguettes, of pizza, of hamburgers. Plain, non fragrant and carb-fuelled food.

It took me a couple of months to get back into the Thai flavours and ever since it has been back with me as long as I eat it in moderation. My all time favourite dish is Pad Thai which is also the national dish. It is meaty and spicy, wet not soggy, crunchy, full of veg and laced with the best herb on the planet in coriander.

On the subject of coriander, what is the problem with you guys who can’t stand it? There are a few things which I love but can absolutely understand why others don’t – the likes of Coffee, Marmite, Hot Chilli, Blue Cheese – but I cannot understand the coriander one. What’s wrong with your palates!?

Making Pad Thai (which I often have with a curry alongside even thought it is not strictly needed) involved me visiting the Thai Supermarket in Richmond (http://www.allinlondon.co.uk/directory/1168/60483.php). For any food lovers there isn’t much better than going to a specific supermarket geared for cuisine. What it means is you have access to a wealth of foodstuff which you would love to be able to get your hands on in your local supermarket, but they don’t stock it. I bought the following:

  • Tamarind Paste
  • Fish Sauce
  • Thick Soy
  • Rice Noodles Thai Style
  • Crushed Peanuts
  • Beansprouts
  • Thai Chives
  • Thai Chilli Sauce

Making the dish was fun but needed some discipline to get it right. I started by preparing things and doing my chopping and marinading as looking at the recipe I knew things were going to be very quick once I started.

Once I was ready to go I made as below. Be aware the entire process takes about 15 minutes, is quite hectic, but a lot of fun.

1) Boil a kettle and in a bowl put the noodles. Pour the boiling water on them and make sure they are covered. In about 15 minutes they will have gone from translucent to white.

2) After a couple of minutes add the chicken marinade. This needs to cook for about 10 mins and every time it dries out add some stock until most of the stock has gone.

3) Add in the noodles and fry for a minute. At this point you need to either crack the eggs into this mix or do them in a separate pan and add them at the end. The difference is that the main wok wont get sticky, but the other option means more washing up. The taste would be the same.

4) Add in the tamarind sauce, half the peanuts, half the coriander and all the beansprouts. Stir for a couple of mins. You are pretty much done so then stir in the egg.

5) All is left is to dish up and then on top sprinkle more nuts, chives and coriander. It is important to have the mix of textures.

Quantities.

  • Tamarind Sauce:
  • 5tbsp Tamarind Paste
  • 1/4 Cup Warm Water.
  • 3 tbsp Chilli Sauce (not sweet)
  • 3 tbsp Brown Sugar.

Chicken Marinade

  • 1/2 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Corn Starch

Noodles (300g ish)

1 Lime (mainly as garnish)

150g chopped peanuts

2 Hands of Coriander

2 Hands of Chopped Thai Chives

1 Chilli (if you want it hotter)

4 Chicken Breasts Diced

3 Hands of Beansprouts

2 Eggs

 

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