Masterclass: the ultimate pad Thai

Jill Dupleix's ultimate pad Thai recipe.
Jill Dupleix's ultimate pad Thai recipe. Photo: William Meppem
Difficulty
Easy

This is everyone's favourite Thai dish, with its tangy, scorchy mix of noodles, egg, chilli and lime, and prawns or chicken for protein.

Ingredients

1 tbsp dried shrimps

200g dried rice stick noodles

3 tbsp Thai fish sauce

2 tbsp tamarind puree or lime juice

1 tbsp tomato sauce

½ tsp dried chilli flakes or 1 tsp chilli sambal

1 tbsp shaved palm sugar or brown sugar

4 tbsp vegetable oil

250g boneless chicken thigh, sliced (or leftover roast chicken)

8-12 green prawns, peeled

3 shallots, finely sliced

100g smoked tofu, diced

2 eggs, lightly beaten

10 garlic chives, chopped

200g beansprouts, rinsed and drained

1 cup coriander sprigs

2 tbsp roasted beer nuts or peanuts, lightly crushed

1 lime, quartered

Method

1. Cover the dried shrimps in boiling water and soak for 30 minutes then drain, reserving two tablespoons of the water. Cover the noodles with hot tap water and leave for 20 minutes or until you can twirl a noodle around your finger. Drain and rinse.

2. Mix together the fish sauce, tamarind puree, tomato sauce, chilli flakes or sambal and sugar.

3. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a wide, flat-bottomed frypan. When hot, add the chicken, tossing well over high heat until it turns white. Add the prawns and fry briskly for one minute until just cooked. Transfer chicken and prawns to a bowl.

4. Add one tablespoon of oil to the pan and fry the shallots, tofu and dried shrimps for 30 seconds. Add the noodles, tossing well.

5. Push the noodles to one side of the pan. Add the remaining one tablespoon of oil to the empty space and add beaten eggs. Let set a little then cover with noodles. Return the chicken and prawns to the pan, add the sauce mix, and most of the beansprouts and coriander. Toss well over high heat. Add the shrimp soaking water if dry.

6. Divide between warm plates, and scatter with remaining beansprouts and coriander, crushed peanuts and lime wedges. Serve with fork, spoon or if you prefer, with chopsticks.

Tips

■ Use a wide, flat-bottomed frypanrather than a wok. The wider surface area helps evaporate the liquid and stops the noodles going gummy.

■ Don't soak the noodles for too long or they will fall to pieces when cooked. Cover with hot tap water and leave for 20 minutes, until you can twirl a noodle around your finger.

■ Make friends with smoked tofu; it's a genius way to add smokiness to any stir-fry or noodle dish. Cut it into small dice so you get a bit in every mouthful.

■ The No. 1 rule of any stir-fry is to turn the heat up HIGH to get that streetwise char, sizzle and energy into your food. Keep everything moving by lifting the food constantly with two wooden spoons or paddles.

■ Do your prep. Get everything ready and pre-mix your sauces, because once you start cooking, it should be fast and furious and all over in four to five minutes.

Once you've mastered the basics, mix it up with these riffs

Also try: Jill Dupleix's vegan pad Thai