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Pad Thai Recipe

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by Kat Parr Mackintosh (subscribe)
Young and coffee in varying degrees, Kat also says stuff @ThoroughlyMode
Published March 30th 2011
Even if you haven't been to Thailand it's likely you've been forcibly introduced to the pleasures of Pad Thai by a friend who has come home from holiday gushing about it. Or else you've seen it on the top of the menu of your local Thai restaurant and thought "When in Rome and all that".

Pad Thai by Flickr user Lazarius
Pad Thai by Flickr user Lazarius

For Pad Thai is Thailand's national dish: literally 'Thai style fried noodles'. Pad Thai's dark secret is that it was actually brought to Thailand by the Vietnamese. But that was long ago and we won't dwell on that here. Instead we'll delve straight into the 'How to':

Pad Thai with the works will be augmented with chicken, prawns and tofu, but as anyone who's had it in Thailand will know, it doesn't always come with everything. This recipe, serving four, uses prawns only.

In addition to 400gs of small, fresh prawns, this recipe requires:
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
200gs dried rice stick noodles
6 tbsp vegetable oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
6 tbsp Thai fish sauce, also known as Nam pla
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tbsp of dried shrimp, powdered
4 spring onions, sliced
4 tbsp crushed peanuts
4 tbsp of fresh coriander
4tbsp of fresh line juice
200gs bean sprouts
2 limes, quartered.

The Thai fish sauce and the dried shrimps you might have to source from an Asian grocer, but you should be able to find everything else in your local supermarket, if not in your cupboard.

Step One: Prepare the ingredients as they appear above. So slice the spring onions, crush the peanuts, beat the eggs, quarter the limes and powder the shrimp. Apparently a coffee grinder is very good for powdering shrimp.

Step Two: Get your pan hot and add a tablespoon or two of oil, then using your beaten eggs, make a light, thin omelette. When it's done cut it into long strips.

Step Three: Put the noodles into a bowl and cover them with boiling water for 15 minutes, then rinse them in cold water and drain. Add a tablespoon or two of oil into their bowl and make sure they're all well coated.

Step Four: Pour the rest of your oil into the hot pan - gently - then add the garlic and prawns and give them a nice jiggle around over high heat. Then remove the prawns and put them to one side.

Step Five: Without letting your pan cool, add the noodles, strips of omelette, spring onions, fish sauce, powdered shrimps, ketchup, lime juice, chilli and sugar, jiggling constantly over the high heat. It's probably easiest to add them in approximately that order, but in any case, the noodles definitely need to be first in the pan.

Step Six: Serve the noodle mix into four bowls or plates, then scatter the prawns on top artistically. Pile the bean sprouts to one side of the plate, next to a little pile of crushed peanuts and two quarters of lime, and let your table-mates do the last bit of mixing for themselves.

If you'd prefer it you could substitute the prawns for small pieces of diced chicken breast or squares of tofu, cooked the same way.
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Why? It's got that Thai-da! factor
When: Special occasions, or just a meal for you
Where: In your own kitchen
Cost: Prawns and the bits and bobs you'll need from the Asian grocery don't come cheap, but it's only the first batch that will be expensive
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