In a previous blog post I mentioned how much I love Thai style noodles from our local Thai restaurant (at African Mall for those who reside in Gaborone) and I had also posted a link to an recipe for the noodles that one could replicate at home. Well I suddenly got the urge to try them too! The only reason I hadn’t tried to make them myself all this time was that I wasn’t sure where I could get the ingredients needed as they are quite unique.
Luckily a friend of mine who shares the same obsession with Thai food that I do told me of an Indian/Asian grocery store at BBS mall (Mrs Veg, right next to BBS Spar) that had been right under my nose this whole time! I do know of one Chinese grocery store but because it is originally meant to serve the local Chinese community everything in the store (signs etc) is in Mandarin.
The specific ingredients I needed were bean sprouts, fish sauce, tamarind juice concentrate, palm sugar and rice noodles. Rice noodles should be fairly easy to find, most big supermarkets have them.
Bean sprouts likewise though I couldn’t find any, they can be replaced with cabbage though. Palm sugar and tamarind juice concentrate you will have to search high and low for.
Indian or Asian grocers will be the only places you can find them. I was only able to find tamarind extract which is a thick gel like substance that I then diluted with water to make a juice. Fish sauce is readily available at Spar or Pick ‘n’ pay.
I used the recipe from Savourysweetlife.com which you can see if you follow this link. The instructions there are clear and easy to follow. I will put the edited version of the recipe that I used since I did not incorporate all the ingredients. However if you are able to find everything you need I suggest you follow the original recipe.
- 1/3 cup fish sauce (Other recipes use an equal amount of oyster sauce as well)
- 1/2 cup palm sugar or brown sugar
- 1/2 cup diluted tamarind gel/extract
- 4 cloves garlic, minced/ 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
- quarter of a 400g pack of dried rice stick noodles (or 100g)
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 4 cloves garlic, minced/ 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 ½ cups thinly sliced chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, or tofu
- 1 egg
- 1 cup carrots, match sticks
- cup green onion cut diagonal in ½ inch segments
- 1 cup mung bean sprouts/ cabbage thinly cut
- 1 cup coriander
- Lime wedge
- To make pad thai sauce, heat a small pan on medium low and add fish sauce, palm sugar, tamarind juice, and garlic. Cook sauce until palm sugar has completely dissolved. At this point, you will want to taste the sauce and tweek the sweetness or hotness (be careful, the sauce will be hot). To make it more spicy add a little chili powder. Remove from heat and allow to cool 10 minutes before storing it in a jar or plastic container.
- Boil noodles for 4-5 minutes and drain immediately rinsing with cold water for a few seconds. Noodles should be slightly firmer than Al dente. But don’t worry, they will continue to soften and cook later when stir frying. Using kitchen shears, cut the noodle clump in half. This will make it easier to fry and eat.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a wok or frying pan on high and cook raw chicken, pork, beef, tofu or shrimp for 3-4 minutes.
Remove meat/tofu/seafood into a small bowl. Next, heat the remaining oil and then add garlic and red onions to the hot pan and stir fry for 1 minute stirring the garlic mixture so it will not burn. Add noodles and stir for 1 minute. Add 3-4 tablespoons Pad Thai sauce continually stirring noodle mixture until well coated with sauce. Add cooked meat/tofu/seafood back and fry for 2-3 minutes. Move the noodle and meat mixture to one side of the pan and crack an egg on the other side. Scramble the egg with a wooden spoon and cook for 30 seconds.Add carrots, green onions, and sprouts/cabbage and cook for one more minute frying everything together. Test the firmness of the noodle. If the noodle is too firm, fry for an additional minute. If your noodles need more flavor, add another tablespoon of sauce and fry another half minute. Remove from heat and serve. Garnish with remaining raw carrot match sticks, sprouts/cabbage, coriander, and a wedge of lime. Enjoy!
These were the tastiest noodles I’ve made at home! And the noodle was better than the restaurant one because it was an actual noodle and not spaghetti. And now That I have loads of sauce left over I can whip up a batch a couple of times during this coming week. The sauce is the main ingredient that makes the dish, everything else is variable really. I’m not a fan of the ground nuts so I will always leave them out. A big thank you to Savourysweetlife.com for putting up this recipe, Pad Thai does not seem so difficult after all!