Taking on the national dish of any country is always going to be risky business, especially so when it’s a different country from your own. Fortunately, I think I know my noodles. Traditional breakfast foods have never done it for me you see. The smell of toast makes me feel physically sick, why anyone would want soggy tasteless flakes of cereal and milk is beyond me and what the hell even is porridge? So for breakfast every morning as a child, my mum would whip me up one of two breakfasts – pasta and ketchup or super noodles. Evidently I didn’t get my cooking skills from her, however what my mum did give me was a love for starchy carbs. A pad thai, fortunately, is quite a step away from a packet of instant noodles and is one of my favourite favourite dishes. The bouncy and slippery noodles, crunchy beansprouts, crushed peanuts and loads of fresh lime is a winner every time. I like mine with prawns, an egg and a sprinkling of fresh mint which isn’t strictly traditional, however neither is pineapple on a pizza but it doesn’t stop it being god damn delicious.
Makes enough for four hungry people
1 large packet of dried flat rice noodles or four nests
5 spring onions
1 bag of fresh beansprouts
24 peeled and deveined king prawns
2 whole eggs
30g salted peanuts
4 tsp tamarind paste
3 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp palm sugar or brown sugar
3 tsp light soy sauce
3 tsp flavourless oil
Small bunch of fresh mint
1 red chilli
1 – Finely slice the bunch of spring onions, red chilli and mint and set aside.
2 – In a small bowl, combine the tamarind, fish sauce, palm sugar and soy sauce.
3 – In a hand blender or NutriBullet blitz the peanuts to a chunky powder. Set a dry frying pan over a medium heat and lightly toast the nuts to release the natural oils. Set aside.
4 – Fill a large saucepan with salted boiling water and add the rice noodles. Cook over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes until soft, then drain into a colander and rinse with boiling water.
5 – Put a large wok over a high heat and add the oil. Tip in the prawns and cook for 1-2 minutes until pink in colour. Add the beansprouts, spring onion and chilli and stir fry until softened.
6 – Make a well in the centre of the mixture and crack in the two eggs. Stir as if making scrambled eggs and combine with the beansprouts.
7 – Add the cooked noodles to the wok along with the sauce you made earlier and half the crushed peanuts.
8 – Stir fry for 1-2 minutes to combine all the ingredients with the sauce.
9 – Before serving, squeeze over the juice of one lime and add the mint, season with soy and fish sauce to taste.
10 – Serve with more crushed peanuts and chopped mint on the top and a spritz of fresh lime.