Thailand is a place that I truly love for a myriad of reasons though probably none more than the food. There are few food pleasures to beat the joy of a little box filled with fresh, fast-cooked Pad Thai noodles eaten with plastic chopsticks on the streets of Bangkok. I'm lucky enough to have travelled in Thailand twice and was pretty pleased with myself when I finally cracked cooking noodles that could compare with the Pad Thai of the street vendors.
Pad Thai is typically made with rice noodles but it is not unusual for egg noodles to be used. It's an option I rather like but use whatever noodles you prefer. Cooking times will vary so check your packet.
This vegetarian Pad Thai recipe serves 2-3. Noodles are always best fried in smallish quantities so if you need to serve more people, it's best to cook a couple of batches rather than double up.
2 tablespoons of whole unsalted peanuts in their skins
125g / 4 ounces of noodles (rice noodles or egg noodles)
2 tablespoons oil - peanut or sunflower or any flavourless oil
175g/6oz tofu, cut into small pieces
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
½ a medium carrot, grated
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 teaspoons of sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 spring onions, sliced
125g / 4 ounces (about 1¼ cups) of bean sprouts
Sliced fresh chili peppers and chunks of lime to serve
Roast the peanuts in a frying pan over a medium heat until they are a light golden brown. Shake the pan regularly so that the nuts do not burn. Allow them to cool for a few minutes before crushing them roughly. The easiest way to do this is to place them in a plastic ziploc bag and bash them a few times with a rolling pin. Set aside because these will be used as a topping.
Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions until just cooked. Rinse in cold water and set aside to drain.
Next heat a wok or large frying pan to a medium hot heat. Add the oil and toss in the tofu. Fry, turning frequently, until golden brown on all sides.
Add the garlic and carrot to the wok and stir briefly to mix before adding the noodles, vinegar, sugar and soy sauce.
Push the noodle mixture to the side of the wok to create a space to break the eggs. Crack in the eggs and stir quickly. As they start to set, gradually incorporate the noodles with the eggs.
Add the spring onions and bean sprout and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring all the time. Serve topped with the crushed peanuts. Serve the fresh chilis and lime separately so people can add as they wish.