4 must try dishes from Chiang Mai

Pad Thai
Pad Thai, Thailand's most famous noodle dish.

Bursting with flavours, Pad Thai is the most recognised dish in Thai cuisine.

It’s the quintessential street food of Thailand and if there’s one dish that every visitor will try at some point or another, it’s Pad Thai. So here are some simple tips and tricks to make your very own Pad Thai.

Pad Thai
Pad Thai kit, no need to track down exotic ingredients!

What is Pad Thai?

The full name of the dish is "Kway Teow Pad Thai", meaning Stir Fry Rice Noodles, which perfectly sums up the dish. Pad Thai is generally made with prawns, but you can swap them for chicken or firm Tofu if you prefer.

It’s usually garnished with crushed peanuts and serve with a lime wedge. The peanuts add a lovely crunchy texture and nutty flavour, while the lime lightens up the dish with a zingy freshness.

Pad Thai
Tamarind, one of the starring ingredients in Pad Thai.

The Secret Ingredient

Sweet, tangy and zesty. Pad Thai has so many layers of flavour in its fabulous sauce that it makes you want to go back again and again.

So what’s in the secret sauce? The ingredients can vary from recipe to recipe, but the main ingredient is Tamarind juice or paste which has quite a sour flavour. It’s usually balanced out with tomato concentrate and coconut sugar, which add sweetness. Garlic, shallots and salt are often mixed in before it’s diluted with water. Lime juice can also be added directly into the mixture.

Pad Thai
Pad Thai. Have you ever become addicted to a dish?

Game-Changing Tips

Time is of the essence! For a perfect Pad Thai, you need to cook it quickly that’s why it’s best to prepare all your ingredients before you start warming up the pan. Cook the flat rice noodles in boiling water for 5 minutes before you start the stir fry. They should be al dente when you mix them in with everything else.

Make sure you use a large wok or a non-stick pan with a large base. You want as much surface area as possible for everything to cook evenly. If you are cooking for several people you might be temped to double up on the ingredients, but this is a bad idea. Never cook more than 2 portions at a time otherwise you might end up with a gooey mess.

Time to Cook!

Once you have all your ingredients ready and the noodles are cooked, fry your prawns in a little oil. Next, add the egg and quickly scramble it around the pan until it’s cooked. Finally, add the Pad Thai sauce and the cooked noodles. Mix everything well and cook for a couple of minutes on a medium-high heat, stirring continuously. Sprinkle the peanuts on top and serve with a slice of lime on the side. Voilà! Your irresistible authentic Pad Thai is ready.

Use a ready-made sauce to save time and get the right flavour. It can be tricky to find all the right ingredients and balance them out correctly, so we recommend using a tasty sauce like the one found in deSIAM’s Pad Thai kit.