Over the years, I have tried various Pad Thai recipes and have been gravely disappointed. This recipe is a variation of one I learned in Chang Mai, Thailand. It’s truly authentic and delivers all that a vegetarian Pad Thai should.
A couple times a year I run a Pad Thai noodle bar at my local pub. We usually serve 100 people in about 3 hours leaving me with ‘wok arm’ – a form of tennis elbow. But it’s worth it to see all those smiling faces from a simple bowl of noodles. At the noodle bar, and when I make the noodles at home, I always have bowls of extra garnishes and garlic chilli hot sauce for people to pile on.
This recipe calls for sweetened radish or fermented turnip. Despite the name difference they are the same product; long white mouli radish that’s been sweetened and fermented, they’re available at Asian markets or online. If you go to a market and have difficulty finding it, ask for the radish used in Pad Thai. It’s optional, but it delivers authentic flavour, not a deal breaker, but definitely worth seeking out. It keeps very well for about a year in an airtight container. It’s also lovely in an omelette with spring onions topped with garlic chilli sauce.
200g flat rice noodles, 5mm or size L
6 spring onions
3 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 free-range eggs, or for a vegan version use 100g more tofu
3 tbsp rapeseed oil
200g firm tofu, chopped into small cubes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
30g sweetened radish or fermented turnip (optional), finely chopped
2 green or red Thai chillies, finely chopped, seeds removed for less heat
150g bean sprouts
For the sauce:
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp tamarind concentrate mixed with 200ml warm water
Juice of 2 limes
1 tbsp palm sugar or coconut sugar
Pinch of chilli powder
Pinch of salt
1 lime, sliced into wedges
100g blanched peanuts, toasted and roughly chopped
To make the Pad Thai:
Preheat the oven to 200°C / Gas Mark 6.
Place the noodles in a large bowl and cover with room temperature water. Let the noodles stand for 30 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients; the noodles are ready when they are soft enough to wrap around your finger. When ready, drain and set aside. This method prevents the noodles from sticking together and creating claggy noodles. The noodles finish cooking in the sauce and result in a lovely plate of noodles instead of a gooey starchy mess.
For the garnish place the peanuts on a dry baking tray and toast for 5-8 minutes or until they turn golden and smell fragrant. Be sure to move the nuts around the baking tray at least once while toasting. Cool and roughly chop with a knife or food processor.
Meanwhile, prepare the spring onions by cutting them in half lengthwise to separate the white part form the green part. Slice both halves into thin slices lengthwise and keep separate. Set aside.
Combine the ingredients for the sauce. Mix well and set aside.
Crack the eggs into a bowl. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok on a medium-high heat and add the egg to the wok stirring quickly using a large metal spoon or spatula to scramble. Remove the scrambled egg from the wok and set aside.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, heat and fry the tofu until golden. Turn the heat down to low, add the remaining oil, garlic, radish and chilli, stirring constantly, until fragrant. This usually takes about 1 minute. Add the sauce mixture and noodles to the wok. Turn the heat up to medium-high.
Stir-fry until the noodles are warm and fully cooked. Most of the sauce will be absorbed by the noodles.
Add the white part of the spring onion, the cooked egg and most of the bean sprouts. Stir-fry thoroughly until hot and well mixed.
Remove the wok from the heat and toss in the green bits of the spring onion. Plate the stir fry and top with remaining bean sprouts. Garnish with wedges of lime and sprinkle with the peanuts and chilli flakes.
Have you made this dish? I love seeing my delicious recipes come to life, so share a picture with me on Instagram by tagging @naturalcookeryschool and I’ll re-share your post!