Neven Maguire's Chicken Pad Thai Noodles
1 tbsp dried shrimps
100g (4oz) roasted peanuts
175g (6oz) flat rice noodles
Juice of 2 limes
1 tbsp palm sugar or light muscovado sugar
2 tsps rice vinegar
2 tsps dark soy sauce
3 tbsps Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
1--2 red bird's-eye chillies, finely sliced
3 tbsps peanut oil
2 skinless chicken breast fillets, thinly sliced
2 eggs, beaten
2 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
200g (7oz) beansprouts
4 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 tbsps roughly chopped coriander, plus sprigs of coriander, to garnish
Lime wedges, to serve
The best Pad Thai I ever ate was while sitting in a rickety chair on a Bangkok pavement. The aroma of all the wonderful ingredients was sensational and the flavour just blew me away. Here's my version. Serves four.
1 Place the shrimps in a small bowl, cover with boiling water and allow to soak for 10 minutes. Blend the roasted peanuts in a mini food processor or roughly grind them using a pestle and mortar.
2Cook the noodles in a saucepan of boiling water according to the packet instructions then drain well. Mix the lime juice, sugar, rice vinegar, soy sauce, Thai fish sauce and chillies together in a small bowl, stirring to dissolve the sugar, and set aside.
3Heat two tablespoons of oil in a wok until very hot, then stir-fry the chicken for six to eight minutes until cooked through and just turning golden. Remove from the pan and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Pour in the beaten eggs and quickly swirl the wok so that the egg sticks to the sides in a thin layer. Leave for about 30 seconds until the egg is just set, then break into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Remove and set aside with the chicken.
4Wipe the wok with kitchen paper and return it to a medium heat, adding the remaining tablespoon of oil. Stir-fry the shallots and garlic for two to three minutes until softened and just beginning to brown. Drain the dried shrimps and add them to the wok, stir-frying for 30 seconds. Pour the lime juice mixture into the wok and simmer for one to two minutes until it has reduced and thickened slightly.
5Add the noodles, beansprouts, spring onions and coriander to the wok, toss for one minute to wilt the beansprouts, then return the cooked chicken and egg to the pan and toss everything to combine.
Serve the Pad Thai noodles in warmed bowls, garnish with sprigs of coriander and place the lime wedges and a little pile of the ground peanuts to one side.
Taken from Neven Maguire's Home Chef, available now from all good book stores. Home Chef, Neven's new TV series, is broadcast on Thursdays, 8.30pm on RTE1