I used to make a lot of stir frys. By which I mean I used to buy a pack of stir fry veg, some noodles and chuck it in a wok with some chopped chicken and soy sauce. It wasn’t bad, but it never really stood out or tasted close to anything from a good restaurant. So eventually I thought I’d give a pad thai recipe a try.
After some reading I settled on one at the BBC Good Food site as the base for my pad thai, with a few small tweaks like the addition of chilli. The absolute key to a good stir fry is the prep. By the time you’re ready to put the wok on the heat everything should be prepared and available to hand. If you have to open a packet or chop anything once you’ve started then you risk burning or over cooking it. The frying should be quick, one thing after the other and should only take a few minutes from the first item hitting the oil and the whole dish being served.
This has quickly became one of my favourite recipes and is now makes regular appearances at our dinner table. The combination of prawns, noodles, crunchy peanuts, the salty sauce and the fact it can be prepared and cooked in under 20 minutes makes it ideal for a quick meal during the week.
If you can’t find tamarind paste (it seems to be a lottery as to whether the supermarkets have it or not) then you can substitute it with the juice from a fresh lime.
170g uncooked king prawns
3 spring onions, chopped into 1cm pieces
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely sliced
2 tsp tamarind paste
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp sugar
Handful salted peanuts, chopped
2 portions of straight to wok noodles
For the sauce combine the tamarind, fish sauce and sugar in a small bowl and stir it together.
Start the stir fry by heating the wok until it’s smoking hot and then pour in a few tablespoons of vegetable oil and swirl it round to cover the pan.
Throw in the prawns and keep them moving in the wok, they should be cooked in a minute.
Now add in the spring onions and garlic and cook for 30 seconds more until they’ve softened.
Make a space in the middle of the wok and crack in the egg. Stir it quickly so it doesn’t burn and once it’s set add in the chilli, beansprouts and noodles. If the wok’s dry after cooking the egg you could also add some more oil.
Cook (keep stirring) everything for another 30 seconds and then add the sauce. Once it’s had a chance to coat everything in the wok take it off the heat and dish up into a couple of large bowls.
Add the chopped peanut on top and serve.