Experimenting with Pad Thai

Earlier in the year, Andrew and I went to a social cooking class where we learned how to make Pad Thai, that popular, tasty street food that many think of when thinking about Thai cuisine. After learning just how simple it actually is to make, I was keen to try it at home myself and after a brief search on the internet, found this recipe: http://www.thaitable.com/thai/recipe/pad-thai and modified it based on the ingredients I had available.

For 4-6 servings, I used:

1 pack rice noodles
3 cups bean sprouts
1 spring onion
2 eggs
Approx. 6 teaspoons fish sauce
6 cloves minced garlic (I just mashed them up in a mortar and pestle)
1/2 brown onion (no shallots; crushed them with the garlic)
A pinch of ground white pepper
3 tablespoons peanuts – I toasted these in a frying pan first
About 12 prawns, shelled and deveined
1 disc of palm sugar – I was lazy and just broke it up into pieces with my hands but I would suggest taking the time to grate it if you’re just putting it straight into the wok with the noodles, as instructed in the recipe
4 tablespoons white rice vinegar (in place of the tamarind paste)
1 teaspoon Sriracha hot chilli sauce
Cooking oil
Water

I followed the instructions as detailed in the recipe linked, using a wok.

The seasoning measurements (fish sauce, vinegar, chilli sauce, sugar, white pepper) were all just guesstimates in my case; I put in however much I needed to make it taste good for me. I think overall I held back on the flavours a bit because I didn’t want any to be overpowering. Consequently when it came down to eating the noodles, I ended up adding quite a bit more chilli sauce to bring out more spice and tanginess, but I preferred this to the overly tangy and salty result we got at the cooking class.

One major thing I would change for next time would be to get all of the seasoning sorted before I start cooking the noodles. We did this in the cooking class – heated fish sauce, tamarind paste, garlic paste, chilli paste and palm sugar together in a saucepan until the sugar dissolved and then added this to the noodles when cooking. I completely forgot we did this but to me, it’s way more logical and heaps easier, especially for dissolving the palm sugar. Naturally, you may have to adjust the taste some more once it is mixed in with the noodles.

I also had trouble keeping the noodles from sticking together in the wok but managed this somewhat by adding in little bits of water at a time when I needed to in order to separate things a little. As the author of the recipe states, this dish is meant to be dry so you just need to watch how much liquid you add in.

Served with roasted peanuts and fresh bean sprouts.

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