Sunday, March 02, 2008

Paad Thai - A noodle high

My girlfriend, M, and I often travel over to Western Australia, where she has 4 sisters and I have my brother to visit. I had the pleasure of staying with one of her sisters, along with her husband Nico Moretti, who runs a cooking school straight from their gourmet kitchen, overlooking their Bali inspired garden. I felt like I was at a resort, watching Nico prepare a platter of fresh fruit for breakfast to have with chocolate croissants and freshly squeezed orange juice. Nico has since written a cookbook, called Food for Friends, and of course I have a copy. The recipes are all very simple, not too fancy, but fancy enough to impress your audience.

I had made Paad Thai once before, but it was horrible. I’m obviously not a tofu person, sadly, and the recipe called for fried noodles. I may as well have served up a bag of rusty nails. It was disgusting. So I couldn’t wait to try Nico’s Paad Thai, as it had all of the authentic Thai ingredients (NO KETCHUP!) that I love – but minus the tofu. Please, if you can, find the tamarind puree. It's the magic ingredient in this dish.

There were many silent reservations when the family asked “what’s for dinner?”, because that first Paad Thai was indeed very memorable. After this version was presented, hopefully memories of that first ill-fated attempt at this wonderful Thai dish has been erased. Thanks Nico!

Zorra from Kochtopf is hosting Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging this week. This is Zorra's second time as a host for this event, and she has many other blog hosting events up her sleeve, with International Womens Day being her next inviting challenge.

Paad Thai

serves 6


1 x 375g packet rice stick (dried rice noodles), 5mm to 10mm thickness
250g finely sliced chicken breast (or sliced pork or peeled prawns)
2 fresh red chillies, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
11⁄2 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, bottom 2-3 inches only, bruised and finely chopped
2 tbsp vegetable oil


• 1⁄4 cup seedless tamarind purée (available fromAsian grocers)
• 1⁄4 cup warm water
• 3 tbsp fish sauce
• 2 tbsp palm sugar, grated or finely chopped
• 2 tbsp lime juice
• 3 tbsp kecap manis (available from Asian grocers)
• 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
(place the above ingredients into a screw top jar or bowl and shake or mix to combine)

1 packet lightly fried tofu, cut into 1⁄3 inch cubes
3-4 spring onions, sliced in half lengthwise and then cut into
1 inch pieces
3⁄4 cup chopped roasted peanuts
2 stalks coriander (roots removed), chopped


2 cups bean sprouts
1 red chilli, finely sliced
2 limes, cut into 10 to 12 wedges
1⁄4 cup fresh coriander leaves

Bring a large saucepan full of water to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the dried rice stick . Allow to soak for 8-12 minutes, depending on thickness, until tender. Drain in a colander and set aside. Heat the oil over a medium heat in a wok or large frypan. Add the garlic, ginger, lemongrass and chillies and stir-fry until golden and aromatic.
Add the chicken and stir-fry until cooked through. (If you also want to include prawns, stir-fry them for 3-4 minutes, until cooked, then set aside and keep warm. You can add them later, at the same time as the tofu and peanuts are tossed through.) Stir in the seasoning mixture and spring onions, bring to the boil and simmer for about 1 minute. Now add the noodles and stir through (gently, to prevent them from breaking) until they are coated with the chicken and seasoning. Finally, throw in the peanuts, tofu and coriander and stir-fry for a further 30 seconds. Remove from the heat, transfer to a serving dish (or leave in wok to serve) and sprinkle with additional peanuts and chilli. Surround the noodles with bean sprouts, place lime wedges on the side and serve immediately.



zorra said...

Amusing entry. ;-) I'm not a tofu person, too, so I will try this version of Paad Thai soon.

Thank you for your participation. Roundup should be online tomorrow.

Pam said...

Thanks Zorra. The roundup is fabulous. What an array of delicious recipes to try.