The Authentic Pad Thai

Although London is one of the most cosmopolitan cities I have ever lived in, and full of international cuisine at very affordable price, I actually find it very difficult to find a Thai restaurant which offers decent authentic Pad Thai no matter how amazing the reviews from leading food critics are…

So, today, I decide to share with you a recipe for the proper Pad Thai, i.e. this is how Pad Thai is cooked on the streets of Thailand and this is how it should taste like, not the sweet and bland versions found in most Thai restaurants in London.

Since I am a vegetarian, I usually omit the shrimps, but I include it in this recipe for authenticity.


Ingredients [Serves 2 as main course]

1/2 Packet of Thai rice noodles

300g Bean sprouts

1/2 Banana flower

400g Chinese chives

2 tbsp Sunflower oil or seseme oil

2 tbsp tamarine paste

2 tbsp Sugar

1 Minced shallot

1 tbsp Preserved turnip

150g Extra firm tofu

1/2 Lime

2 tbsp Peanuts

250g Shrimps

1/2 tsp Ground dried chilli pepper

3 Cloves of garlic, minced

1 Egg

A handful of chopped coriander

Ground white pepper


To Prepare:

  1. Soak the dry noodles in luke warm or room temperature water, making sure that it is completely submerged in plenty of water before start preparing other ingredients because the noodles should be flexible and solid, not completely expanded and soft by the time you are ready to start cooking.
  2. Cut the tofu into 1 inch long matchsticks.
  3. Cut Chinese chives into 1 inch long pieces.  Set aside a few for garnish.
  4. Rinse the beansprouts and save half for serving fresh.
  5. Mince shallot and garlic together.
  6. Heat a wok on high heat then fry the peanuts until toasted.  Remove once they are brown and set aside.
  7. On high heat, add the sunflower oil, then add minced shallots, preserved turnips, minced garlic and tofu then stir them until they start to brown.
  8. Drain the noodles and add them to the wok.  Stir quickly to keep everything from sticking.
  9. Add tamarind paste, sugar, fish sauce and chilli pepper.  Stir well.
  10. Crack the egg and scramble it with the rest of the ingredients until it is almost cooked.  Then fold the egg into the noodles.
  11. Keep stiring until the noodles are soft and chewy.  If they are still hard, add a little water then stir until the water is evaporated.
  12. Add shrimps and stir.
  13. Sprinkle white pepper onto the ingredients in the pan.
  14. Add beansprouts and chives.  Stir a few more times.  The noodles should be soft, dry and very tangled.
  15. Pour onto serving plates and sprinkle with more white pepper and peanuts.  Serve hot with banana flower slices, a wedge of lime on the side, raw Chinese chives and raw bean sproutes on top.

…. Bon Appetit!

Tofu Pad thai with clear vegetable soup

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