Pad Thai is probably the most well-recognised Thai dish for people worldwide today. Its history is strongly tied to its political nature during World War II.
Due to a serious rice shortage at the time, Thai authorities saw the opportunity to not only promote rice noodles consumption for locals to protect Thailand’s rice resources but also effort to forge a true national identity. In 1938, Pad Thai was created to signify the pride of being independent of the Western powers carved up in our neighbor countries and around the world. It was campaigned all over the country to unite the nation and symbolized the people’s love for their country.
Pad Thai uses national ingredients and was designed to suit the palette of all ethnic groups in Thailand. It was invented even before the country’s name change in 1939 from Siam to Thailand (Land of the Free). Pad (stir-fried) Thai (Freedom) is not only delicious, but it is also a representation of pride for Thai people.
Ingredients: (3-4 serves)
200g Shirataki noodles (Rice noodles substitute)
2 x eggs
200g chicken breast, sliced
2 tbsp dried shrimp, rinse and soak
1 tbsp preserved radish, finely chopped
50g firm tofu, diced
2 tbsp shallots, finely chopped
1 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
2 ½ tbsp Coconut amino (Fish sauce substitute)
A pinch of salt
2 tbsp palm sugar
2 tbsp tamarind paste/puree
1/2 cup of Water
2 tbsp peanuts, crushed
2 cups bean sprouts
½ cup chives, chopped
1 tbsp Rice Bran oil
Lime wedges for serving
Rinse the Shirataki noodles in cool running water
Wash chives and bean sprouts. Leave a portion of both aside to serve fresh
Rinse and soak dried shrimp in hot water
Chop preserved radish, shallots, garlic, and chives
Crush or roughly chop peanuts
Cut lime into wedges
Sliced chicken breast
In a saucepan on medium heat, add 2 tsp rice bran oil
Add chopped shallots and stir
Once slightly brown, add tamarind paste, palm sugar, coconut amino and a pinch of salt. Keep stirring until all sugar is dissolved and caramelised.
Add 1/2 cup of water and turn up the heat. Decrease the stirring and allow it to bubble.
Turn off the heat and set aside.
In a pan on medium heat, add 2 tsp of rice bran oil
Add chopped garlic.
Add firm tofu and saute until slightly brown
Add sliced chicken breast, and allow it to cook slightly before adding dried shrimp and preserved radish.
Add the sauce mixture and turn down the heat to low. Stir until everything is well-coated
Add Shirataki noodles and toss together until the noodles absorbed all the sauce
Push the noodles to one side, and turn up the heat. Add the rest of the oil in and add 2 eggs once the oil is heated
Slightly break the yolks (or however you like) and let it set for about 30 seconds before gently folding them into the noodles.
Add bean sprouts and chives. Toss until combined and the vegetables are slightly wilted, turn off the heat.
Serve with a side of crushed peanuts, a wedge of lime, fresh bean sprouts and chives, and chilli flakes (optional). Squeeze the lime and mix in the side however you like. Enjoy.
Recipe for WLSA by Natt, a Thai home cook living in Melbourne.
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