On Day 6 of #100DaysNoTV we decided to cook Thai food as this month Thailand celebrates the new year festival of Songkran. The celebrations for Songkran (also called the Water Festival) take place over three days: day one is traditionally a time to clean and wash your house, day two is all about food, and day three (new year’s day) is when many Thai people visit their temples and bathe the statue of Buddha.
My experience of Thai food is limited to Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey and a handful of restaurant meals. Whenever I’ve seen someone cooking Thai food on television I’ve been moved by the vibrant colours, the imagined aromas and the freshness of the ingredients, and it’s long been something I’ve wanted to try for myself. So, with the festival of Songkran being so close to my birthday we decided it was a great time to try some Thai cooking.
The dish that came immediately to mind was Pad Thai which is one of Rob’s favourites. His place of work is regularly visited by an array of street food sellers and he’s often chosen Pad Thai. So, as his experience is greater than mine, he was my chief taster!
Now, we do like a nice cold beer when we’re cooking together, so we bought some Singha – imported lager from Bangkok. Enjoy responsibly – it’s 5% alcohol by volume (ABV).
Our recipe is based on the one in Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey. We’d seen his series on the BBC and as he’d made the dish in Bangkok we felt it wasn’t going to get more genuine than that. The ingredients below are enough to serve two people.
12 large raw prawns (chicken or tofu also work well)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
150g flat rice noodles (fresh or dried)
clove of garlic, crushed
1 red chilli, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp tamarind water (mix ½ tsp tamarind paste with approximately 20ml water)
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp light brown sugar
2 shallots, sliced (you could use spring onions instead)
50g unsalted roasted peanuts, crushed
40g bean sprouts
Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
Lime, quartered (to serve)
1. Cook your noodles according to the instructions on your packet.
2. In a separate pan heat the oil and stir-fry the garlic, chilli and prawns for approximately 2 minutes, until the prawns are nicely cooked.
3. While the pan is still hot add the eggs and stir-fry, using a wooden spoon to prevent it from sticking. It should start to look scrambled.
4. Remove the pan from the heat while you add the noodles, tamarind water, fish sauce and sugar.
5. Reduce the heat and put the pan back on, and cook until all ingredients are mixed together and the noodles are hot.
5. Add your shallots, peanuts, bean sprouts and coriander. Heat through for a minute or so.
6. Your Pad Thai is ready to serve immediately. Nom Nom. Enjoy!
take the plunge
I have to say I found this dish an awful lot easier to cook than I had expected. Beforehand I actually felt a bit nervous and wasn’t sure how it would come out. Chefs always make it look so easy and I didn’t think I’d be able to create something as tasty as this. I needn’t have worried!
I was on a real high when we sat down to eat and that was a combination of the endorphin-rich food and the knowledge that I could cook Thai food after all!
The experience has definitely changed my attitude to adventurous cooking and I am certainly going to be experimenting a lot more often. I hope this inspires you to cook something outside of your comfort zone – I’m sure you won’t regret it.
We have some more foodie ideas that we’ll be trying in the near future and I hope you’ll be back to read about them! 🙂
Bye for now!