Rice noodles Pad Thai is one of the most common dishes of modern Thai cuisine. In whatever region of the country you are, you will most likely find Pad Thai in the menu of most Thai cafes, as well as in the streets of cities and resorts, because Pad Thai is also a popular street food dish. Not all foreigners find a common language with Thai cuisine because of the acuteness of many traditional dishes, but in the case of Pad Thai noodles everything is simple, because this dish has minimal sharpness and you can order this dish absolutely everywhere. Pad Thai is my favorite dish in Thailand, which I can eat almost daily. In addition, Pad Thai is very easy to prepare at home, so in this article I will share a simple recipe – with the help of step-by-step instructions with photos.
Pad Thai in Thailand – the main types
When ordering this dish in Thailand, you will most likely be asked what kind of Pad-Thai noodles you prefer? Usually you can choice of Pad Thai with chicken, shrimp, pork and other kinds of meat. The most popular species are Pad Thai with chicken and shrimp. It is these two species that you will easily find in all the sea resorts of the country, and in the Thai outback and in the northern regions of the country for natural reasons is more popular is the Pad Thai with the chicken. There are a lot of recipes for cooking this noodle, and each cook has his own little secrets, making this dish unique. Like most other Thai dishes, Pad Thai consists of a large number of ingredients that can be divided into basic (rice noodles, meat or seafood, eggs, special sauce) and auxiliary ones, such as vegetables and greens, as well as tofu bean curd and green lime.
As a result, the absence of one of the auxiliary ingredients has practically no effect on the overall taste of the finished dish. For example, many people consider tofu to be obligatory in Pad Thai noodles, but Thai people do not always add it to this dish. In my experience, in about half the cases Pad Thai is cooked without tofu and I can not say that the dish is becoming less tasty. Also in different parts of the country, it was necessary to try Pad Thai with a different set of vegetables (for example, with cabbage, carrots, young bean pods). By the way, thinly sliced white cabbage can replace sprouted bean sprouts in this dish.
Pad Thai noodles – prices in Thailand
Since Pad Thai does not belong to a gourmet dish, the cost of this noodle is available for any category of travelers to Thailand. In 2017-2018, the minimum cost of Pad Thai noodles is 50-60 THB (no more than 2 USD) when buying in mobile makashnitsa or in markets, and 80-120 THB when ordering Pad Thai in a cafe or restaurant. Naturally, we are talking about the cost of this dish at popular resorts in Thailand. In poor regions of the country (northeastern part of Thailand, known as Isan) you can find Pad Thai for 30-40 THB. For example, in the city of Nakhonratchasima (the center of the same province), I ordered this dish for 30 THB, although it seemed to me that the meat in it was slightly less than in Pattaya or in Phuket. It should also be noted that Pad Thai with shrimp can cost 10-20 THB more expensive than the same dish with chicken.
When ordering noodles you may be asked: are you going to eat Pad Thai directly in the cafe, or want you to take this dish with you. In the first case you get your order on a plate and will be offered metal cutlery or chopsticks. And in the second – they will pack the prepared dish in a special container made of foamed plastic, which helps to keep the dish warm before using it. At the same time the cost of Pad Thai noodles does not depend on the place of consumption. Those. a disposable container, a plastic fork and a spoon, a napkin (not always) and a plastic bag into which all this fits, are issued free of charge and without a reminder. Also toppings are free: peanuts, a mixture of peppers, microscopic dried shrimps, etc. As a rule, you choose toppings yourself and sprinkle them with the ready-made dish before use or packing in a container.
The easiest recipe of Pad Thai for home cooking
Many lovers of Asian cuisine during their holidays in Thailand are accustomed to simple, but delicious dishes of this country, including Pad Thai. Therefore, after returning to their homeland, they begin to miss about fragrant fried noodles and in this situation there are two ways out. The first is visiting a Thai restaurant in your city. Unfortunately, these are not everywhere, and the cost of Pad Thai noodles in them is several times higher than in Thailand. The second option is to prepare Pad Thai at home. This requires only the presence of the necessary components, about 15 minutes of free time and the knowledge of a simple recipe. Below is a simple recipe for Pad Thai, which my Thai friend taught me. As I wrote earlier, there are a lot of recipes, so this is only one of the possible options, but in my opinion the easiest.
Immediately I warn that I do not bother making a special Pad Thai sauce based on tamarind paste and other ingredients that are not always easy to find in Europe. Therefore, in the process of making Pad Thai, I simply add the ready-made Pad Thai sauce. It can be purchased both directly in Thailand, and in a large supermarket of your city (in the departments of Asian food). Above, the photo shows the Pad Thai sauce, which I bought in Thailand for 28 THB (0.86 USD). In the package directly a special dark sauce based on tamarind with spices, as well as a bag of crushed peanuts, which you need use for sprinkle the prepared dish. Rice noodles also bought in a supermarket in Thailand, where it costs several times cheaper than in Europe.
So, for cooking Pad Thai noodle with chicken at home, I use:
– chicken fillet (100-150 grams per serving);
– garlic (one large denticle per serving);
– chicken eggs (one per serving);
– vegetable oil (2-3 tablespoons);
– flat rice noodles (150-200 grams);
– sauce for Pad Thai (1 pack);
– green onions (several feathers);
– half lime per serving (can be replaced with lemon or lemon juice).
– Wok (a wide frying pan with high walls).
Process of cooking Pad Thai with chicken
On the photo, ingredients for cooking three portions. When I was preparing a photo report, there were no sprouted bean sprouts on sale and I forgot to buy a green onion, so Pad Thai turned out without them, but it is better to add these ingredients if possible at the end of cooking. Since the amount of rice noodles and sauce is calculated for 2 portions, and I cooked for three, i am added more meat (500 grams) to Pad Thai.
1. Chicken fillet cut into thin slices. It’s easier to do this when the meat is a little chilled in the freezer. For a change, sometimes you can cut the meat like a straw.
2. Put rice noodles in warm water for 10-12 minutes. This is convenient to do just before the preparation of the dish, i.e. before proceeding to roasting garlic and meat).
3. In the wok (or usual wide frying pan with high walls) pour 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil and warm it.
4. Crush the cloves of garlic with a flat side of the knife and cut into several pieces. Add garlic to a skillet and fry over low heat.
5. Fry the meat until ready (choose the degree of roasting yourself, to your taste). During frying meat, you can increase the flame (if you use a gas stove). If you do not like meat fried well done, you can proceed to the next stage of cooking with 90% of the degree of required cooking.
6. Shift the meat aside (on the side of the frying pan) and alternately break eggs (one per serving). Eggs fry with constant stirring to get something like crumbly omelet.
7. Connect all the ingredients in the wok, stir and add the soaked rice noodles. The latter should not be too soft, but too hard – the exact time should be selected by experience. Thais sometimes soak dry noodles in cold water, but with me this way noodles turned hard, so I lower them for 10 minutes in warm water, closer to hot – 60-70 degrees Celsius).
8. Next, mix the noodles with the other ingredients in the wok and add the ready-made sauce for Pad Thai. Mix everything for a uniform distribution of ingredients.
9. Add feathers of green onions (cut into fragments of dina 3-5 cm) and sprouted bean sprouts. It is also possible at this stage (instead of sprouts) to add thinly sliced cabbage and carrots. Stir everything and in a minute the dish is ready.
10. Distribute Pad Thai on your plates. Sprinkle with peanuts on top. Decorate the dish with half of green lime or pour lemon juice (to taste). In Thailand, there were variants decorated with pieces of fresh cucumber. You can eat Pad Thai with using a fork or chopsticks. When you eat Pad Thai, it will not be bad if you have Thai beer – tasty and inexpensive.
What better use for cooking Pad Thai at home
Earlier I used an ordinary wide frying pan for making a Pad Thai, but it was not very convenient: the volume of the dish is great, and it’s better to mix all the components of Pad Thai well noodles in a special frying pan. Later I bought a wok in the supermarket Big C in Pattaya. In general, such frying pans cost 600-800 THB, but often there are special promotions and wok with good quality can be purchased inexpensively. For example, in December 2017 I bought a non-stick wok for just 199 THB (about 6 USD). By the way, in the same store there were several models of the same diameter and at the same price (including metal ones, without protective coatings). I watched such frying pans on AliExpress and even found a model that is very similar to mine. But the prices in China are very high, about 50 USD with delivery and higher. By the way, Big C is a very large network in Thailand, so similar wok were on sale at a similar price in Bangkok, Phuket and Koh Chang. Therefore, if you have an empty seat in your suitcase, you can buy inexpensive wok in Thailand and cook Pad Thai at home. Bon Appetit!
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