A delicious recipe for Pad Thai written by Paola Bassanese, the founder and director of well-being and lifestyle service company Energya Ltd. Energya Ltd launched in 2006 after an inspirational trip to Machu Picchu in Peru: Energya combines a healthy lifestyle and positive communications. Check out Energya’s blog.
Making authentic Pad Thai is a bit of a challenge. The main challenge is to find all the right ingredients: although many supermarkets and independent ethnic shops stock a variety of foods, sometimes you simply can’t find what you are looking for. You can still make a tasty Pad Thai with some substitutions, for example by replacing pickled turnip with pickled maitake mushrooms.
To prepare this dish I looked at this traditional Pad Thai recipe. This recipe has very specific instructions about preparing the noodles: you should soak them in cold, not hot, water, and cook them just enough to prevent them from becoming gloopy. Traditionally, tamarind paste is used but if you can’t find it the end result will still taste good.
70 gr flat rice noodles
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon sugar
50 grams chopped peanuts
20 grams pickled maitake mushrooms
50 grams bean sprouts
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon dry chilli flakes
2 spring onions
30 grams shrimp (dried or fresh)
10 grams soya chunks
Soak the rice noodles in cold water for about 20-30 minutes.
Soak the soya chunks in hot water for about 5 minutes. Once soft, dot a few drops of soy sauce over them, cut into small pieces and set aside.
Prepare the pickled maitake: cut the mushrooms into strips and cook in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain. Heat 100 ml of water and 100 ml of vinegar together with a teaspoon of salt. Add the maitake, cook for 1 minute then turn off the heat leaving the mushrooms in the pickling liquid.
In a large non-stick frying pan, toast the chopped peanuts for 2 minutes stirring constantly to prevent them from burning. Set them aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil, chop the shallot and cook it in the oil for 3 minutes. Chop the garlic and add to the shallot, cooking for 1 minute, add the pickled maitake, chilli and the soya chunks. Add the sugar, fish sauce and lime juice, drain the noodles and add them to the pan with a little water, mixing everything well. The noodles should not be too dry or too watery.
Break an egg in a bowl, mix and add to the noodles (push the noodles to one side to make space for the egg). Mix the scrambled egg well with the noodles. Add the shrimp, bean sprouts and a chopped spring onion. Cook for 1 minute and serve with more chopped spring onion on top. If you like extra crunch, set aside a few fresh bean sprouts to add as a topping.