Pad Thai is one of the most well-known and popular Thai dishes in the world. It is a stir-fried rice noodle dish that is sweet, salty, and tangy with a hint of sourness. Pad Thai is a staple street food in Thailand, and it can also be found in Thai restaurants all around the world. In this article, we will explore the origins of Pad Thai, its key ingredients, and how to make it.
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Origins of Pad Thai
Pad Thai has a fascinating history. It is believed that Pad Thai was created in the 1930s, during World War II, as a way to promote nationalism in Thailand. At the time, Thailand was experiencing a rice shortage, so the government promoted the use of noodles as a substitute for rice. Pad Thai was created as a dish that would showcase the flavours of Thailand and promote the use of local ingredients.
The key ingredients of Pad Thai are rice noodles, shrimp or chicken, eggs, bean sprouts, tofu, garlic, shallots, tamarind paste, fish sauce, palm sugar, and peanuts. The noodles are soaked in water to soften them before they are stir-fried. The shrimp or chicken is cooked in oil with garlic and shallots, and then the noodles are added along with the eggs, tofu, bean sprouts, tamarind paste, fish sauce, and palm sugar. The dish is then garnished with crushed peanuts and lime wedges.
Tamarind paste is a crucial ingredient in Pad Thai, as it gives the dish its tangy flavor. Fish sauce provides the salty flavor, while palm sugar provides the sweetness. The addition of peanuts adds a crunchy texture and nutty flavour to the dish.
How to Make Pad Thai
Here is a simple recipe for Pad Thai
- 8 oz. rice noodles
- 8 oz. shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 shallots, sliced
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
- 2 tbsp. fish sauce
- 1 tbsp. palm sugar
- 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
- 2 lime wedges
- 2 tbsp oil
- Soak the rice noodles in water for 15–20 minutes, until softened.
- Heat oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat.
- Add garlic and shallots and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
- Add shrimp and stir-fry until pink and cooked through.
- Push the shrimp and vegetables to one side of the wok, and crack the eggs into the other.
- Scramble the eggs until cooked, then mix with the shrimp and vegetables.
- Drain the noodles and add them to the wok, along with the bean sprouts, tamarind paste, fish sauce, and palm sugar.
- Stir-fry everything together until the noodles are cooked through and the sauce is evenly distributed.
- Garnish with chopped peanuts and lime wedges.
In conclusion, Pad Thai is a delicious and iconic Thai dish that has become a favourite all around the world. Its combination of sweet, salty, tangy, and nutty flavours makes it a crowd-pleaser. Try making it at home using the recipe above, or order it at your local Thai restaurant. Enjoy!