Thursday, November 10, 2011

Phat Thai ผัดไทย And An Appeal For Thailand's Flood Victims

Phat Thai (meaning Thai style stir fry) has always been one of the most well known and popular Thai dishes around the world. Its popularity was further confirmed when it came in 5th on the recent World's 50 most delicious food (readers' poll) by CNN Go

A product of a nationalist campaign some 80 years ago, it can now be found on every street corners throughout the Kingdom and on every Thai restaurant's menu.

There are many versions of Phat Thai and everyone has his or her own preferences. Often Phat Thai vendors will cook each portion slightly different according to customers' requests. I personally prefer my Phat Thai to be on the drier side, a little charred and not overly sweet - unfortunately I have yet to find a restaurant or cafe in Melbourne that manages to produce a plate of Phat Thai that caters to my taste.

I think it is hard to conclude what a good Phat Thai is without sounding too subjective but I can certainly point out those bad ones where carrot, broccoli and ketchup are added or Chinese chives are being replaced by spring onions. 

serve 3 to 4 as a one dish meal
you'll need;
1/2 kg of prawns, peeled reserving heads and shells (optional)
oil for cooking
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 eggs or 2 duck eggs
250 to 300 g of dried rice noodles, soaked in warm water till soft and drained well
2/3 cups of Phat Thai sauce (see below)
1 piece of pre-fried firm tofu*, cut into 1/2 cm cubes
2 tbs of chopped preserved turnip*
3 tbs of dried shrimps*
3 tbs of crushed roasted peanuts*
1/2 tbs of roasted chili powder
1 bunch (about 25 to 30 blades) Chinese chives*, cut into 3 cm lengths
2 cups of bean sprouts*
All ingredients marked * are crucial for a successful Phat Thai

for the Phat Thai sauce, (makes 1.5 cups);
1 cup of tamarind concentrate
1/2 cup of palm sugar
1/4 cup of white sugar
1/4 cup of fish sauce
pinch of salt
* simmer everything in a saucepan until sugars are dissolved, transferred to a jar or bowl.

recommended  garnishes and condiments;
crushed peanuts
roasted chili powder
bean sprouts
Chinese chives (uncut)
lime or lemon wedges
raw cabbage
raw long beans
star fruit
banana blossom

Peel the prawns and mix in with a pinch of salt, rinse off the salt after 20 minutes and pat dry. This optional  step will give the prawns the extra crunch and also intensify the flavour.

Prepare the chives and firm pre-fried tofu, 2 of the most important ingredients in a good Phat Thai.

Heat up a wok until smoking and saute the reserved prawn shells with 4 tbs of cooking oil. Leave the flavoured oil in the wok and discharge the solids. This is an optional step but the flavoured oil will greatly extra dimension to the finished product.

When the wok is smoking again, add in the prawns and cook on high heat until they are 80% cooked, removed and set aside. 

Heat up the wok again and saute the chopped garlic for 10 to 15 seconds. Push the garlic to aside and crack in the eggs, when the eggs are half set give it a scramble then add in the noodles and mix well. Stir fry the mixture on high heat for a minute or two.

Add in half of the sauce and mix well, a pair of chopstick together with a spatula make this an easy task. Add in the tofu, preserved turnip, peanut and dried chili flakes and mix well. Pour in the rest of the Phat Thai sauce and continue to stir until noodles are tender. (add a little water or extra cooking oil from time to time if the noodles are sticking to each other).

Just before the noodles are ready, return the prawns to the wok together with Chinese chives and bean sprouts. Continue to cook for a further minute to slightly wilt the vegetables and finish cooking the prawns.

Serve Phat Thai with extra Chinese chives and bean sprouts on the side, top with some crushed peanuts, chili flakes and a wedge of lime or lemon. (lime is selling at $3 @ atm so I opted for the much cheaper lemon instead) You may of course choose the other recommended sides for your Phat Thai.

A year ago Thailand was brought to a standstill by red shirt thugs, this time around it is mother nature's turn. With more than a third of the country affected by the worsening flood, many flood victims who have lost their homes, businesses and jobs are now relying on food aid. If you wish to do lend a hand, here's a link to the Red Cross Society Thailand


  1. Harriet From CarltonNovember 10, 2011 at 6:15 PM

    Oh yum! I was wondering why you havent done a phat thai post.

  2. I have had some shocking phat thai recently. I am so glad you finally put up a phat thai post! Also noticed the new search box, it will certainly make my life easier when I want to look for a particular recipe from your blog.

  3. Your phat thai looked fantastic with the generous amount of prawns. I might give this a try once I have gathered all the ingredients needed :)

  4. one of my favorite Thai dish
    *drool* :)

  5. Thank you for your phat thai recipe. Do you saute the dried shrimps along with the chopped garlic?

  6. I am now torn between phad thai and your char kway teow lol
    Thanks for all the tips!

  7. wow.... i live in canada and sometimes its hard to find ingredients. I hope you can find some time and help me clarify the ingredients for i like to try to make this for my husband tomorrow. 1st question: Palm sugar.. i have what you called gula Malacca and raw slab sugar which has ingredients of sugar,molasses,cane juice. Which you think is better suited?

    Second..Tamarind, I have a package of tamarind paste, how much to use will consider the concentrated kind.. keep in mind i have to reconstitute with water.

    Perserved trunip, i have some dried perserved raddish, can i use that?

    Lastly, do i add the dried shrimp together with the tofu and dried stuff? Also, should i minced up the dried shrimp for it can be quite stringee. When in singapore, we used to mix dried shrimp and lots of chillies and garlic and pound it into a paste together and then panfry it as a side dish.. its delicious and also good left over. Simply steam it to reheat it, not microwave.

    I hope you can help me with my questions and am really anxious to make it as closely as your recipe and hope my husband will like it.

    Thanks again for the recipe


    1. Hi Jan,

      Thanks for your message and here are the answers for your questions..

      1. raw slab is more suitable as gula melaka can be really powering.

      2. 1/3 of a block of tamarind should be sufficient.

      3. preserved raddish can be a good substitute.

      4. you may chop up the dried shrimp a little if u wish :)

      good luck with your phat thai, let me know how it turns out.

  8. Woo hoo... we did it! The dish turns out better than we hoped for considering I'm not a really good cook and am not a person who carries good cooking technique. There are a few things we decide that we need to tweek to our taste. Overall, this is a really great base and start for us to have a great dish.

    I did use the slab sugar, as for the tamarind, I use the block of Tamarind and cook it down to make a concentrate and we love the preserved radish so will add more. As for the dry shrimps, we will definitely minced it up for the next try.

    Great job for this recipe, big keeper!!!!

    Thanks so much.. love love this


    1. Hi Jenn,

      Well done! I am so glad that you actually tried and loved the recipe. Tweaking any recipe to suit one's taste is the way to go!

      Thank you! This makes my day!

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