4 Healthy Noodle Recipes That Look Amazing

00:00​ Intro To The Spruce Eats

00:07 Vegetarian Thai Stir-Fried Noodles

01:18 Chicken & Shrimp Pad Thai

02:49 Chicken Pad See Ew

03:58 Vegetarian Pad Thai

Pad Thai

Pad thai, phat thai, or phad thai is a stir-fried rice noodle dish commonly served as a street food in Thailand as part of the country’s cuisine.  It is typically made with rice noodles, shrimp, peanuts, a scrambled egg, and bean sprouts, among other vegetables. The ingredients are fried in a wok. Once the dish is completed it is tossed in pad thai sauce, which gives the dish its signature tangy salty flavor with a hint of sweetness.

Ingredients

Pad thai is made with rehydrated dried rice noodles with some tapioca flour mixed in, which are stir fried with eggs and chopped firm tofu, flavored with tamarind juice, fish sauce, dried shrimp, garlic or shallots, red chili pepper and palm sugar, and served with lime wedges and often chopped roasted peanuts.  It may contain other vegetables like bean sprouts, garlic chives, pickled radishes or turnips, and raw banana flowers. It may also contain fresh shrimp, crab, squid, chicken or other fish or meat.

Many of the ingredients are provided on the side as condiments, such as the red chili pepper, lime wedges, roasted peanuts, bean sprouts, spring onion and other miscellaneous fresh vegetables.  Vegetarian versions may substitute soy sauce for the fish sauce and omit the shrimp entirely.

History

Though stir fried rice noodles were introduced to Thailand from mainland China centuries ago, the dish pad thai was invented in the mid-20th century.

Author Mark Padoongpatt maintains that pad thai is “… not this traditional, authentic, going back hundreds of years dish. It was actually created in the 1930s in Thailand by Plaek Phibunsongkhram, who was the prime minister at the time. The dish was created because Thailand was focused on nation building.  So he created this dish using Chinese noodles and called it pad Thai as a way to galvanize nationalism.”

Another explanation of pad thai’s provenance holds that, during World War II, Thailand suffered a rice shortage due to the war and floods. To reduce domestic rice consumption, the Thai government under Prime Minister Phibunsongkhram promoted consumption of noodles instead.  His government promoted rice noodles and helped to establish the identity of Thailand.  As a result, a new noodle called sen chan (named after Chanthaburi Province) was created. Pad thai has since become one of Thailand’s national dishes.  Today, some food vendors add pork or chicken (although the original recipe did not contain pork because of the government’s perception that pork was a Chinese meat).  Some food vendors still use the original recipe.

Pad Thai was never mentioned in any of Prime Minister Phibunsongkhram’s speeches. He only mentioned the term “Kuay Tiew” (ก๋วยเตี๋ยว), which means “noodles”. Therefore, the narrative that Phibunsongkhram is the father of Pad Thai is inconclusive and debatable, especially among food scholars in Thailand.

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