Pad thai (ผัดไทย) is probably the most famous Thai dish around the world but it is also one of the least traditional dishes in Thai cuisine.
Thai rice noodles
(sen lek or เส้นเล็ก)
, finely chopped
extra firm tofu
(namh pla or น้ำปลา)
Start by soaking the dry noodles in water at room temperature while preparing the other ingredients, about 30 minutes.
The noodles should end up being soft but not mushy.
Roast the peanuts in a pan without oil for a few minutes.
Cut tofu into thin 1-inch (2,5cm) strips.
Fry the tofu separately in a pan with a little oil until golden brown.
Cut Chinese chives into 1-inch strips (2,5cm) diagonally.
Set aside a few pieces of fresh chive for garnish.
Rinse bean sprouts and keep half for garnish.
Heat cast iron skillet or heavy bottomed pan over high heat and add vegetable oil.
Add shallot, pickled turnip (optional), garlic and tofu and stir until they begin to brown.
Drain noodles and add to the skillet. Stir quickly to prevent the noodles from sticking.
Add the tamarind concentrate, palm sugar, fish sauce and chili. Stir.
Keep on high heat so that the liquid evaporates.
Make room for the egg by pushing the noodles to the sides of the pan.
Break the egg in the middle of the pan and stir until it is almost cooked.
Stir the egg in the noodles. The noodles should be soft and tender.
If the noodles are too hard and undercooked, add a little water.
Add shrimps and stir. Sprinkle with pepper.
Add the bean sprouts and chives and stir.
Pour the mixture on a serving platter and sprinkle with crushed chili and peanuts.
Serve hot with a wedge of lime on the side, and fresh Chinese chives and bean sprouts on top.
Add Sambal or crushed chili to spice it up.