Perfect pad thai
( SERVES 6 )
- Place the rice noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for at least 20 minutes until softened - they should still be firm to the bite. Drain the noodles and set aside until required. Meanwhile, mix the tamarind purée (soaked in warm water to loosen), fish sauce, palm sugar (grated) and lime or lemon juice(from a whole lime/lemon) in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a gentle simmer.
- Heat a wok or thin-based frying pan over high heat. When hot, add the oil. Add the chillies and garlic, then stirfry for 1 minute. Add the drained rice noodles and stirfry until hot. Add the hot sauce and cook for 3-4 minutes, keeping the noodles moving around the pan to avoid sticking and to get them coated in the sauce. If the sauce evaporates too quickly - before the noodles are ready - add a bit of water and keep stirring. If the noodles continue to stick together, add a bit of oil.
- When the noodles are nearly ready - well-coated in sauce - push them to one side of the wok or pan and crack the eggs into the space provided. Stir with a fork to scramble the eggs until set. Stir the eggs through the noodles, then add the bean sprouts and spring onions (ncluding the green shoots, thinly sliced on the diagonal) and continue to stirfry for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and turn onto a plate. Garnish with peanuts, wedges of lime or lemon and chopped coriander.
- Serves 6-8.