We answer the following question in this article: Does Pad Thai have to taste sweet? We talk about the secrets of Thai food and show you how to make Pad Thai in a few easy steps.
Is Pad Thai supposed to be sweet?
Pad Thai shouldn’t be as sweet as a dessert. Pad Thai is a dish that has both sweet and savoury tastes. Each chef adds their own flavour to the sauce, which can be more or less spicy, depending on what they like. So, how sweet this dish is will depend on what sauce you make for it.
Thailand is a strange place for people from the West, and its food tastes sweet, sour, and salty all at the same time. The flavours are mixed so that they taste just right. This idea is important when talking about Thai food, and the only way to find out about it is to walk through the streets where food stands are set up.
People who love street food will love this country. And just because there are so many people coming and going, daring tuk-tuks cutting through the traffic, and brightly coloured taxis, we will find a lot of different ways to make the tasty dish. Some only have dried prawns, and others have prawns or pork, but they all have a sauce made of tamarind pulp, sugar, and the unmistakable nam pla fish sauce.
This dish’s real name is kway teow pad thai. The first two words come from China and mean “rice noodles.” The Thai words “pad” and “pat” mean “stir fry.”
People think that the first two words of this dish come from China and that it became popular in Thailand in the middle of the 20th century when the government tried to get people to eat more rice noodles.
So we don’t get lost in history, it would be better if we went straight to making a good plate of Thai-style sautéed rice noodles for four or six people.
How to prepare Pad Thai step-by-step
For the tamarind sauce, do the following:
90 ml tamarind concentrate
125 ml of liquid
120 grammes of palm sugar
120 ml nam pla fish sauce
For pad thai:
300 g sen lek or sen mii rice noodles
50 g of green Chinese chives
65 grammes of chopped shallots and a pinch of coarse salt
18 prawns or prawns
180 grammes of tough tofu
Vegetable oil for frying
60 g of Chinese radish and 1 tablespoon of salt
25 g of dried prawns
Two tablespoons of chilli powder
100 grammes of sprouts
To finish the dish:
20 chopped cilantro leaves
Several bean sprouts
Four teaspoons of peanut flour
Two spoonfuls of grated palm sugar
Chives to put on top
Two lime cut into quarters
Soak the noodles for two hours while we get everything else ready.
Grate the palm sugar and add it, the concentrated tamarind, the water, the sugar, and the fish sauce to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stir with a wooden spoon, and reduce until it has the consistency of a syrup.
Cut the stems into sticks that are no longer than 2 cm and set them aside in a small bowl.
Mix the shallots and pinch of salt in a mortar and set aside. We clean the prawns, but leave the tails on. We cut along the back with a knife to clean and remove the intestine. Get the chives and shrimp ready.
Make small cubes of tofu and heat enough oil in a wok. Fry the dice until they are golden brown, then use a slotted spoon to take them out. Put them on kitchen paper to get rid of any extra fat.
Put the grated Chinese radish in a colander. Sprinkle the salt on it, mix it up, and carefully squeeze it. Run it through water to get rid of any extra salt, then drain it well. Get the tofu and radish ready.
Add a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil to a wok that is very hot. Don’t forget that all liquids must be added to the sides of the wok so that they are already hot when they reach the bottom.
Somewhat fry the shallots. Mix quickly as you add the dried prawns, the prawns, the fried tofu, and the grated radish.
After well draining the noodles, put them in the wok. Sauté for about a minute. Cook the food in a pan.
Add the tamarind sauce and chilli powder and cook for another minute.
Add the chives and bean sprouts to the dish. We carefully mix everything and put all the ingredients on one side of the wok. If we see that the wok is dry, we can add a little more oil, the sauce, and the vegetables.
Pour the beaten eggs into the wok, and use chopsticks or a wooden spoon to scramble them. Once the egg has set, we carefully mix everything together.
We put the pad thai on a big plate or individual plates and top it with fresh coriander leaves, bean sprouts, chopped peanuts, chives, and a lime wedge. We serve it right away, and we put all of the garnishing ingredients in small bowls so that each person can add what they like.
Now that we know how to make pad thai, the only way to eat it in the traditional Thai way is with a spoon and fork. With the spoon, we’ll cut the noodles, and a fork or knife will help us fill our spoons so we can eat this delicious dish.
Last things to say
We answered the question, “Is Pad Thai supposed to be sweet?” in this article. We told you about the secrets of Thai food and showed you how to make Pad Thai in a few easy steps.
All of the Asian ingredients in this recipe can be found in stores that sell only eastern goods.
Most of the time, coconut oil or palm oil are used to cook Thai food. It’s best to use sunflower or corn oil instead.
We can replace the tamarind concentrate with a little vinegar since its main purpose in the dish is to add acidity and flavour.
You can use brown sugar or the sweetener we like best instead of palm sugar (nam dtarn bip).
Dried prawns (gong haeng) are an Asian ingredient that are often used as a seasoning. The Thais use them in many dishes. They are frozen and vacuum-packed. We can use them instead of salted anchovies, but the taste will be a little different.
Thais use fish sauce (nam pla) to season their food. It is made by fermenting fish or prawns with salt. We can even find it in grocery stores. In any case, we could use anchovies that have been crushed and mixed with a little water instead.