One of the yummiest and cheapest meals I have ever eaten was pad thai from a street vendor in Bangkok. It would have been 20 years ago now since that meal but I still remember it vividly. I have never eaten or been able to recreate a pad thai as good as that (and probably never will!) but this recipe is close enough and the smell of fresh coriander and lime juice always instantly transport me back to Thailand. It’s amazing how tastes and smells can trigger so many happy memories and it’s probably why I enjoy eating it so much especially on dark, cold winter days in the UK I just close my eyes and pretend I am on a beach in Ko Samui!
Chicken and Prawn Pad Thai Serves 4
3 tbsp tamarind paste
3 tbsp Thai fish sauce
3 tbsp palm sugar
1 lime, juiced
2 tbsp coconut oil (I like to use ‘Suma’ odourless coconut oil)
2 medium organic free-range eggs, beaten
2 skinless chicken breasts, very finely sliced
200g (7oz) raw prawns, shelled and patted dry
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 fresh chilli, thinly sliced
1 x 31g pack coriander, stalks finely chopped
bunch spring onions, sliced
200g rice noodles (sen lek)
100g (3½oz) beansprouts
handful roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
lime wedges, to serve
Tip the rice noodles into a large bowl and pour over a kettle of boiling water until they are covered. Leave to stand for 10 mins. When soft, drain and rinse in cold water.
While the noodles are soaking, combine the tamarind, fish sauce, sugar and lime juice with 1 tbsp water and set aside.
Heat a large wok or non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Add 1 tsp coconut oil, then pour in the egg. Swirl around the pan to make a thin omelette, cook for 30 seconds until dry, then slide out of the pan onto a chopping board. Roll the omelette up, then slice finely. Set aside.
Add 2 tsp coconut oil to the wok and stir-fry the chicken for about 5 minutes, until golden and cooked through. Cut into a thick chunk of chicken to check that it is cooked, with no pink showing. Tip onto a plate. Add the prawns to the pan, cook for about 3 minutes or until they are completely pink and turning golden, then return the chicken to the pan.
Tip in the garlic, chilli, coriander stalks and half the spring onions. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant, then tip everything back onto the plate.
Heat the final 1 tbsp oil in the wok, then add the well drained noodles and beansprouts. Stir-fry for a minute until everything is heated through. Add the chicken, prawns and the tamarind sauce. Toss with the noodles until well coated. To serve, scatter over the roasted peanuts, remaining spring onions, coriander leaves and lime wedges. For an extra kick – add a cut up red chilli.