STIR FRIED NOODLES
Pad Thai - (ผัดไทย)
Recipe courtesy of Thai Food by David Thompson

Ingredients:
a good handful of dried thin rice noodles
coconut cream
1 tbs palm sugar
1 tbs white sugar
1tbs tamarind water
2 tbs fish sauce
1 small bunch Chinese chives
1 ts oil
2 red shallots, coarsely chopped with a pinch of salt
1 egg
50 g (2 oz) firm bean curd, deep-fried and cut into 1/2 cm (1/4 in) cubes
1 tbs dried prawns (shrimp), rinsed and dried
1 tbs shredded salted white radish, rinsed and dried
pinch of roasted chilli powder
a handful of bean sprouts
1 tbs crushed roasted peanuts
1 lime cheek
1 ts roasted chilli powder(extra)

One of the dishes of Thailand that is quite a conundrum is Pad Thai (ผัดไทย). Originally an exercise in Thai nationalism, to help reduce Chinese influence on Thailand, then known as Siam, rice noodles were promoted instead of wheat noodles, considered a Chinese creation. A new noodle was created called Sen Chan; one of the resultant dishes created was Pad Thai.

Pad Thai is a dish that, if cooked well, can absolutely zing. Unfortunately, many of the gluggy and tasteless versions on offer, do not do the dish justice.

This simple, tasty noodle dish is enjoyed throughout Thailand and is famous all over the world. For a more luxurious version, fresh prawns can be used.: simply fry a few peeled prawns in a wok with the shallots, then proceed with the rest of the recipe.

Soak noodles in water for 2 hours until soft. Drain. Simmer palm sugar and white sugar with tamarind water and fish sauce for 1 - 2 minutes, until dissolved. Chop most of the Chinese chives into 2 cm (1 in) lengths, reserving a few - chopped into 5 cm (2 in) lengths - for garnish.

Heat oil in a wok over a medium heat and fry shallots until fragrant and beginning to colour. Crack in the egg, turn down the heat and stir. Mix in bean curd, dried prawns and white radish, then add noodles. Turn up the heat and stir-fry for about a minute, allowing the noodles to colour a little. Add the prepared sauce and the pinch of chilli powder, then simmer for another 30 seconds - 1 minute, adding a little more oil if necessary. Finally, add most of the bean sprouts and Chinese chives and cook for another 30 seconds, until wilted. Check seasoning: the noodles should taste sweet, sour and salty.

Pile on a serving plate and top with the reserved bean sprouts and Chinese chives. Serve with crushed roasted peanuts, a lime cheek and roasted chilli powder on the side of the plate.