Demystifying Pad Thai

asian, Fish, Main Course, Stir Fry, Thai, Tutorial

Hi Fran!

I am not entirely sure why I always crave Asian food, and why I have such a soft spot for it…. but I have come to realize that so many things that I cook are Asian. So a few weeks ago, I started on a semi-obsessive mission to make: Great Pad Thai. I have miserably failed a few times, watched shows, where even the food-stylist could not make the dish look appetizing, and read many terrible recipes… until I stumbled upon: Chez Pim.

She provides a great post on all things related to Pad Thai. She explains what all the ingredients do, how they should be prepared and the whole process. However, it was a little difficult to follow, even when I read it twice before starting to cook, and especially while cooking at the same time. So what I am doing is basically dumbing her tutorial down, to make it easier to follow and as per her comment (it really is fool-proof).

Cooking Pad Thai is in 4 Steps:

  1. Sauce
  2. Noodles
  3. Prepping
  4. Stirfrying



  • 1/2 cup Taramind paste
  • 1/2 cup Fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup Palm sugar (or 1/3 cup brown sugar)
  • 1 tsp chili powder


  1. OPEN ALL WINDOWS, DOORS, VENTILATION!! This sauce will make your house smell awful! (But it is the secret to the tasty pad thai)
  2. In a saucepan heat all the ingredients together until they are heated through and form a smooth sauce.
  3. Turn off the heat, and leave for later use.



  • Thin rice noodles (rice sticks, Banh Pho, Chantaboon) (2 cups cooked)
  • (I used Udon noodles, as I am still a very beginner and they don’t stick together as easily)


  1. Bring water to the boil. Add noodles and cook to the point where they are almost al dente. (Basically cook them to the point where they are arguably eatable).
  2. Remove from heat, strain through colander, and immediately cool off with cold running tap water, to prevent from cooking further.


One of the most important things in stir fries is having all your ingredients prepped, you do not have time to do the chopping while the wok is going. (Trust me on this)


  • 9 per person Shrimp (de-vein)
  • 9 per person Tofu (chop in bite size pieces) {I did not add any, this time}
  • 2 per person Fresh onions (cut into 2 inch pieces)
  • 2 cloves Garlic (Chopped)
  • 3/4 cup beansprouts (rinsed)
  • Cilantro (chop)
  • Lime (wedged)
  • Red chili pepper (cut into thin slices)


INGREDIENTS (for 2 servings):

  • 2 cups cooked Noodles
  • 1/3 cup Sauce (slightly warm still)
  • 2 chopped Garlic cloves
  • 18 pcs Shrimp
  • 18 pcs Tofu
  • 2 Eggs (beaten)
  • 4 sliced fresh onions
  • 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup bean sprouts
  • 2 tbsp chopped peanuts


  1. Heat wok over high heat, until very hot.
  2. Add vegetable oil, swirl to coat most of wok.
  3. Add tofu and garlic. Cook until crispy and brown on edges.
  4. Add noodles, a few of the chili strips, and ladle in 1/3 cup sauce. Stir rigorously, keeping everything moving in the wok. Cook noodle until soft, sprinkle a little bit of water to help separate noodles and spread sauce. (*break up noodle, ensure it does not lump together.)
  5. When noodle is ready, move up the side of the wok, and pour in scrambled eggs.Let them cook for 15 seconds, then toss everything together.
  6. Add shrimps, peanuts and beansprouts. Keep things moving. If mix looks pale add more sauce.
  7. When shrimps are done, add spring onion, turn off the heat and give a good final stir.
  8. Serve with lime wedge, chopped peanuts, chili slices and cilantro sprinkled on top

Hope you have as much luck as I did with it!

Many kisses from me!!

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3-minutes between you and pure green Choy!

asian, Main Course, Salad, Side Dish, Stir Fry, Vegetarian

Hi Fran,

So, its been quite a while since I last posted any recipes of consequence. Fortunately, I have been cooking all kinds of things, but over the last two weeks I had been working so many hours, in the office and at home, that I didn’t have the time to post! But now I am back, and super excited to share a bunch of things with you.

Firstly, congratulations again on your accomplishment! Next time maybe we should run a full one together… so we have to meet up in the next decade 😉 Secondly, my magic potions did the trick yet again! They helped me avoid getting sick!

On another note, I don’t think that I have told you this, yet, but right by the apartment here in Oxford, there is a little Asian supermarket. You know very well what that means… AMAZING!! It is a wonderland of spices, sauces and noodles, among other things. So this recipe is in the spirit of my past two weeks(timewise) and also my exploration of ingredients this shop. I really love bok choy (or pak choi), especially the tender baby bok choy, but had never cooked it myself. Thanks to this man, Martin Yan, I was in bok choy bliss in 3 minutes! This recipe is really simple as could be, and sooo yummy as a side dish for 4 (or in my case as a main course for 1)

3-Minute Bok Choy Bliss



  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry (I used rice wine vinegar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon black bean garlic sauce (do not subsitute for hoisin… no good! Trust me)
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper (I prefer black pepper, not a huge fan of the taste of white pepper)

Bok Choy:

  • 1 lb / 500 gr baby bok choy
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced


  1. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl; stir to dissolve cornstarch.
  2. Quarter each bok choy lengthwise. Rinse in cold water to loosen any dirt between leaves.
  3. Place a stir-fry pan over high heat until hot. Add oil, swirling to coat sides. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 10 seconds.
  4. Add bok choy; stir-fry, until tender-crisp, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Add sauce and cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens slightly and lightly coats bok choy, about 30 seconds.
  5. Arrange on serving plate and serve.

Note: When the bok choy cooks, it decreases to half its original size! Make sure you cook it only until the leaves are wilted, no further to maintain its nice crispness.


Red Coconut Curry Chicken Stir-Fry

Chicken, Sauce, Stir Fry, Thai

We love stir fry and used to make stir fry ALL the time at 13 Beaver and 70 Florence. Here is to those great times at Clark!

I got this recipe for stir fry’s from Women’s day magazine. Don’t ask me why I received this magazine in the first place. It just started arriving one day. (

1 lb of Protein- Chicken in this case
1 medium sized onion chopped
4 cups of vegetables
2 Tbsp Cornstarch
Oil for cooking (Peanut, Sesame, Canola, etc…)

14 oz can light coconut milk
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp red curry paste
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro or mint
1/4 tsp of salt

Finishing touches:
Cashews, peanuts, or almonds
Crushed red pepper
Toasted sesame seeds
Cilantro or Mint
Thinly sliced scallions
Bean sprouts

Rice or noodles.
Red Coconut Curry Sauce:
Whisk a 14 oz can light coconut milk together with 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 Tbsp red curry paste (modify based on your taste), 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro or mint, and 1/4 tsp of salt. I used both cilantro and dried mint. Whisk until blended.

Take about 1 Lb of chicken (or another protein) and put in a zip lock bag with 2 Tbsp cornstarch and shake to coat. Add some salt and pepper for additional taste if you want.

Add chicken to a skillet and stir-fry over medium-high heat for about 3-5 minutes until cooked through. Remove to a plate.

Add 2 tsp of oil to skillet. Add the onion to the skillet and cook until translucent. Add the four cups of vegetables and stir-fry for another 3-5 minutes until crisp-tender.

Add sauce to skillet and bring to simmer. Add the chicken; simmer 1 to 2 minutes until sauce thickens and coats the mixture. You can add a little extra cornstarch to thicken the sauce.


Serve with rice or noodles and top with one of the finishing touches.