Another month, another attempt at Pad Thai.
The last time I tried this was in October 2015 when I made, “Pimped-Up Pad Thai” from “Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite.” That version was a disaster: gloopy and not at all tasty. But I still love a Pad Thai– there’s a particularly good version from one of the stallholders at Greenwich Market that I treat myself to from time to time.
But this one, according to the name, promised to be a “Perfect Pad Thai” so I was optimistic that it would at least be an improvement on the last one I tried.
I’m happy to say this version of Pad Thai was a success.
Perhaps the instructions on this one steered me to a better result. Joyce warns you to not make one big batch, as the noodles get soggy (perhaps that’s what happened the last time) and also to put semi-cooked noodles in, that will then be finished off in the wok. I did both of those things, and it was a much better version, so she must have been on to something.
Also, here’s a top tip if you are going to make pad thai: Get everything ready in advance. Having chopped, soaked and prepared all the necessary ingredients, when it came time to cook them up, I was as efficient as a short-order chef. And doing two batches so the pan wouldn’t get crowded, didn’t seem so onerous.
Will we have this again? I believe we will. (In fact, I’d make it again tonight, one week later, but there might be some negative feedback from my diners. So I’ll save it for another time.)
If you’d like to give Perfect Pad Thai a try yourself, click through this sentence to find the recipe at BBC Good Food.
I love a Pad Thai. Always have, always will. When I was a young reporter in Chicago, a group of us would go to our favourite Thai restaurant around the corner from our office every pay day without fail, and I frequently ordered Pad Thai.
[Brief pause to go to Google Maps to see if the Thai restaurant is still there. It is! I love it when despite the drumbeat of time, my favourite places are still where I remember them. As you were.]
So I was excited to make this for my family. It was even a Friday, which if memory serves actually was our payday, but that could just be my memory playing tricks on me. I really wanted to like this. But it didn’t work out that way.
I don’t know if it was operator error or the recipe didn’t quite work, but the pad thai was extremely gloopy by the time I served it. I did everything as instructed– had the wok as hot as it would go, followed the rest of the instructions to the letter– but it just wasn’t a pad thai that I could recognise.
The rest of the family, not surprisingly, was less than enthusiastic about the result. I feel bad not being able to whole-heartedly recommend this recipe, since the rest of the book looks so promising, but it didn’t work for me.
Maybe I’ll have better luck with the next thing I try.
If you’d like to try this yourself, The Pool has the recipe, which you can find by clicking through on this paragraph. Maybe you can figure out where it went wrong for me. Answers on a postcard. Or an e-mail.
Peter: Bloody hell! I’m full! Were we making that for all of Bangkok?!
Anna: You like a good noodle, I’m surprised you’re complaining……
Peter: I do love a good noodle, but as the commentator on German Eurosport says: ‘this is EXTREME’.
Anna: I see. There certainly is a lot to go round. I’m just pleased that we’re finally getting to eat Pad Thai together. Usually I can’t order it at a restaurant or takeaway because it has peanuts in it. Do you remember the grief you gave me at that takeway in Sydney when I ordered it? You’d had a few pints that night, and you were quite vocal in your disgust at my order!
Peter: A) they were schooners, not pints. And b) you know I don’t like peanuts so you just ordered it to annoy me.
Anna: Well this recipe only had the peanuts as a garnish so you were able to eat it. Did you notice it was vegetarian?
Peter: Yes. It wasn’t like a proper Pad Thai. It was more like a Pie Thai. It was so dense. I thought it would be lighter.
Anna: To be fair, it was light it’s just there was a lot of it.
Peter: You know me, I’ll never walk away from a noodle.