Pad Thai, you’ve likely heard of it, perhaps even tasted it. It’s not just a staple in Thai cuisine; it’s a veritable culinary ambassador. Found on bustling city corners and unassuming market lanes, this dish has become the seasoned traveler’s guide to Thai flavor.
What’s the fuss about Pad Thai, you ask?
Ah, it’s more than a tangle of noodles; it’s a gastronomic sonnet. It’s where humble street food shakes hands with gourmet flair. Imagine a dish that sings to you, a perfect symphony of flavors. It’s comfort in a bowl but dressed in elegance.
Now, that’s Pad Thai for you – familiar, yet exotic; simple, yet sophisticated. It’s not just Thai cuisine; it’s Thai culture, served on a plate.
A litte bit of history
The origins of Pad Thai reach back to the turbulent times of World War II. During a rice shortage, the Thai government encouraged the use of noodles instead. Prime Minister Phibun saw an opportunity to foster a sense of national identity, and Pad Thai – a dish that artfully blended Thai flavors and Chinese-style stir-frying techniques – became a symbol of unity and Thai culinary ingenuity.
Yet, the journey of Pad Thai was not merely a political maneuver. It was a canvas for creativity, open to individual interpretation and local variations. Some cooks infuse it with tamarind; others swear by a sprinkle of sugar. Shrimp, tofu, chicken, or just a bounty of fresh vegetables – the dish lends itself to the imagination, without losing its intrinsic Thai character.
What does Pad Thai mean?
The name “Pad Thai” itself means “Thai-style stir-frying,” an ode to its nature, a homage to its homeland. A street food star, it’s often cooked in a well-seasoned wok over an open flame, each flicker of fire adding character, each swirl of the pan layering flavors.
Interestingly, despite its national emblem status, Pad Thai is a relatively recent addition to Thai culinary history. Its ingredients and techniques reflect not only native Thai practices but also hints of Chinese and even Vietnamese culinary traditions. A dish of fusion before fusion was a trend, Pad Thai symbolizes the cultural crossroads that is Thailand.
Ingredients for making real Pad Thai
For 6 people
- 500 grams of rice noodles or fettuccine
- olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 24 king prawns
- 300 grams of chicken or pork
- 200 grams of tofu
- 5 tablespoons of Nam Pla, fish sauce
- 5 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder
- 3 spring onions
- 1 leek
- 2 limes
- 4 tablespoons of peanuts roasted in a pan for a few minutes
- 3 carrots
- 4 eggs
- 2 tablespoons of tamarind juice or 1 powder
- 150 grams of bean sprouts or beans
- 1 more chopped onion doesn’t hurt
How to make the perfect Pad Thai
Beat the eggs, then add salt and pepper, cook in a pan with a little oil and scramble them.
Chop the peanuts with a knife.
Wash the prawns, remove the shell and the black gut, then season with a drop of lime, oil and pepper.
Cut the chicken into small pieces.
Also cut the tofu into small pieces of the same size.
Fry the tofu in a little oil until crisp.
The preparation of Pad Thai is long and boring, you have to wash, clean and cook a thousand ingredients, so it is better to prepare everything in advance, so as not to risk ruining or doing everything too quickly. Take it easy, in short.
Wash the leeks and spring onions and cut them into not too fine slices.
Carrots make them into strips, like noodles.
Okay, you are doing well, hold on!
Heat a pot with unsalted water and when it boils, throw the noodles and turn them off. Leave to soak for 5 minutes then drain. Season with a little oil to keep them from sticking.
Take the wok, pour 8 tablespoons of oil and brown the chopped garlic for a few minutes, without letting it blacken.
Add the thinly sliced carrots, leek, prawns and chicken and cook for a couple of minutes.
At this point, add the rice noodles, toss with a skillful flick of the wrist, then season with the soy sauce, fish sauce, chili, tamarind and cook for 3 minutes.
Now add the scrambled eggs. The true masters of the wok push the spaghetti to one side and then fry the eggs in the wok to give them more flavor, but if it is the first time, do them separately.
Now add the spring onions and bean sprouts, sauté and cook for 1 minute.
Here we go, sprinkle with peanuts, seasoned with lime juice, plate and serve.
If you want to put a couple of lime wedges, they are fine.
Which wine to pair with pad thai?
We choose a fresh and fragrant Prosecco like that of Casa Belfi, which thanks to its bubbles will be able to extinguish the spiciness and at the same time enhance the sweetness of the prawns. If you prefer a still white wine, Timorasso is an excellent choice.
If you want to combine a cocktail, the sharp taste of the Daiquiri is ideal.