Thai food is rapidly growing in popularity and restaurants are popping up thick and fast. It’s hardly surprising why, with the combination of salty, sweet, sour and spicy there is something for everyone.
Food is an integral part of Thai culture and something that you will be immersed in from the moment you land. Every step you take will be a delight to the senses, fragrant and enticing aromas hang in the air, copious amount of food stalls litter the streets each offering a delectable local meal and with such value one could quite easily never cook again.
Quite literally, Thailand is a melting pot combining various influences and flavours from all across the globe, Indian spices and the use of a Chinese steel wok are evident from the bright coloured curries, fried noodles and fried rice. Perhaps you might think their culinary identity might be convoluted with foreign influences diluting their national dishes to mere imitations, but Thais’ take the best ideas from many national dishes and add local fresh produce, herbs and spices such as Thai basil, lemongrass, galangal (Thai ginger) and coconut milk to create their own unique national treasures.
For those of you who might still be having reservations, perhaps concerned about making a fool of yourself with chopsticks, you need not worry, most Thais’ prefer to use western cutlery (usually consisting of a fork and spoon.) The chopstick was actually brought to Thailand by the Chinese, along with noodles which are now synonymous with many styles of cuisine.
Pad Thai Recipe
Pad Thai: Serves 4
7 tsp Oil
3 Cloves of Garlic
1 Chopped Shallot
1-1 1/2 Cup of diced Chicken
200g Bean sprouts
50g Spring onion
2 tbsp Dried Chili (optional)
200g Dried Rice Stick Noodles
1 piece Diced Tofu – extra firm (optional)
4 tbsp Preserved Turnip (optional)
1/2 Cup Crushed peanuts
4 tbsp Fresh Lime juice
Pad Thai Paste:
8 tbsp Tamarind Paste
8 tbsp Brown/Palm sugar
6 tbsp Fish sauce
To make the Pad Thai Paste:
1 To a hot wok combine Tamarind paste, fish sauce and sugar and leave to simmer for a couple of minutes after the sugar has dissolved.
1 Firstly soak the noodles in warm water until soft. You will be frying the noodles later, so you don’t want to over-soften them.
2 Fry the shallot and garlic in 3-4 tablespoons of oil on a medium-high heat for 3 minutes.
3 If using the diced tofu add it now along with the chicken and stir. Followed by the chopped preserved turnips. Cook until fragrant.
4 Next add the Noodles and a couple of tablespoons of water and leave until soft. (If they are looking dry add 2-3 tablespoons of oil)
5 Add the three eggs and stir until cooked.
6 Now add the paste you made earlier. (Should be roughly 6 tablespoons worth)
7 Once you are happy with the tenderness of the noodles add the bean sprouts and spring onion. If you wish to add a little heat, now is the perfect time to add dried chili.
8 Serve up and sprinkle with the crushed nuts.