I really like Asian food, but I’ll admit – its definitely not my strong point in the kitchen! One thing I have learned is that; in order to get those fragrant and fresh Asian flavours, you need a lot of ingredients and many of them HAVE to be fresh! Dried versions (unless specified) just won’t provide the same taste or look. But once you’ve bought all of the jars, bottles and tubs it will all last quite a long time… and if you’re anything like me you won’t let them go to waste anyway and you’ll start experimenting in no time!
Now back to this recipe…Being wheat free, rice noodles are a god send AND a fantastic healthy alternative to egg noddles or rice. In the last year pad thai has crept up my favourites lists, partly due to my sisters love for it and the guarantee that its a ‘safe’ food for me when eating out. So trying to create it at home was inevitable! I am not sure how true to a traditional pad thai this recipe is – for a start I eat mine with chopsticks* – but what I do know is that if I can make it – anyone can!
* I recently learned that chopsticks are now common place in Thailand – especially on street food stalls and when serving noodle soups because its cheaper to provide customers with disposable chopsticks than wash up crockery!
Ingredients (Serves 2)
200g Thick rice noodles
150g Raw king prawns (approximately – we really like prawns!)
1 teaspoon red chilies – chopped
1 clove of garlic – finely grated
Fresh ginger – Thumb size piece, peeled and finely grated
2 tablespoons of palm sugar (or brown sugar if you don’t have it)
4 tablespoons of tamari sauce – or soy sauce, i’m pretty sure its the same thing! (Gluten free soy sauce is available)
4 tablespoons of thai fish sauce
2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
Half a lime – juice of
1 large egg – or 2 small
2 spring onions – chopped
1 Shallot – sliced
Vegetables – your choice really. I used: bok choy and baby corn but you can also pretty much anything such as; broccoli, carrots or green/white cabbage.
Big handful of Beansprouts
Handful of cashew nuts – Chopped (plain raw peanuts will also work well)
See I wasn’t kidding… that’s a lot of ingredients right!?
A pad thai is essentially a stir fry – which means it won’t and shouldn’t take long to cook. For best results and to help your sanity – I strongly recommend chopping, slicing, dicing and cutting everything BEFORE you start cooking – and a good wok will make all the difference.
- Noodles – Place your noodles in a bowl, cover them completely with hot water and cover with a plate. These will cook while you get on with the rest.
- Prawns – Put some vegetable oil in the wok and get it nice and hot. Toss in the prawns (careful – if they are quite wet this will spit everywhere!). As soon as all the prawns turn a lovely pink – put them in a bowl and set aside.
- Spices and sauces – Add a little more oil to the wok. Continuously stirring (it is a stir fry after all!) add the ginger, garlic and chilies. Fry for a minute. Now add the tamari sauce (or soy sauce), followed by the fish sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice and then the sugar. Keep stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
- Noodles – Check on the noodles if they are cooked strain them in a colander now so they don’t over cook.
- Vegetables – Start with your hardest vegetables first and let them cook for a little before adding the next ones. I added the corn first, followed by the shallot, then the bok choy and finally the beansprouts and some of the spring onions (keep some back for garnishing later)
- Noodles & Prawns – Now toss the noddles through the sauce and veg, add the prawns and half the nuts. Stir on a high heat.
- Egg – Move the noodles to one side, drizzle a little more oil in the pan and crack the egg and start scrambling it, in its little well. When it starts cooking, stir it through the noodles.
- Serve– to serve pile the noodles in a large bowl, sprinkle with the remaining spring onions and nuts.