Daily Archives: March 23, 2005

How to make Pad Thai

Firmly in my Top 10 for Thai Street Food is Pad Thai, otherwise known as Thai fried noodles. The ingredients that make up this dish include: egg, beansprouts, dried shrimp, garlic, tofu, salted Chinese radish and crushed peanuts.

You can find pad thai being made almost anywhere. However, be warned. The recipe does vary. Try to avoid the pad thai that has been “mass produced” and is seen for sale for only 10 baht at temple fairs and places like Khao San Road. For best results, watch it being made fresh. The pad thai stand around the corner from me opens at about 5 p.m. and is open until late. A large plate from her costs 20 baht (see picture above). An extra sized helping (called pi-set in Thai) costs only 5 baht more.

In the above picture, you can see the ingredients waiting to be added. From left to right: tofu (beancurd), dried shrimp and salted Chinese raddish/turnip. At the back, in the plastic bag, you can see the rice noodles.

First to be added to the wok are the noodles. These are stir-fried for a few minutes. Next is added the dried shrimp, tofu and minced Chinese raddish. Again this is mixed and stir-fried for a few minutes.

The ingredients are now pushed to one side and an egg is cracked into the wok. She cooked the egg for a minute or so before breaking it up and mixing it in with the noodles. Finally a sprinkling of chopped chives and a generous layer of breansprouts are placed on top. This is not mixed in with the noodles. It is now ready to serve. The finally layer is the ground roasted peanuts. She placed all of this into a container with some spring onions, half a lime and a little plastic bag containing chili and sugar.

Although pad thai is cooked just about everywhere, people will cross to the other side of town just to get their favourite recipe. My favourite is on Taiban roundabout. Very delicious and worth the extra effort to cross town. It is easy to spot the more popular hawkers as there is always a long queue!

I have never attempted to cook this dish as it is so readily available. However, here is the recipe if you want to have a go at home:

Stir-Fried Thai Noodles Recipe


8 oz (250 g) rice noodles (sen lek)
3 tablespoons oil
3 garlic cloves (kratiem), minced
1/4 cup dried shrimp/prawns
1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) fish sauce (nam pla)
1/4 cup (2 oz/60 g) sugar
2 tablespoons tamarind juice (ma-kaam piag)
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 cup fried tofu
2 tablespoons dried unsalted turnip, cut into small pieces
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup 1-in (2.5-cm) lengths chopped chives
1/4 cup (2 oz/60 g) ground roasted peanuts
1 cup bean sprouts


1/2 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup chopped chives
1/4 small banana blossom, cut into strips
1/2 lime, cut into wedges

How to cook:

1. Soak the rice noodles in cold water for 30 minutes, or until soft. Drain, and set aside.

2. Heat a large skillet until hot, then add the oil. Add the garlic and dried shrimp, and stir-fry. Add the noodles and stir-fry until translucent. It may be necessary to reduce the heat if the mixture is cooking too quickly and the noodles stick.

3. Add the fish sauce, sugar, tamarind juice and paprika. Stir-fry the mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the tofu, turnip and egg.

4. Turn the heat to high and cook until the egg sets, stirring gently. Thoroughly combine the mixture, and continue cooking over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes until most of the liquid is reduced.

5. Mix in the chives, peanuts and bean sprouts. Place on a serving dish, arrange the bean sprouts, chives, banana blossom and lime attractively and serve.


Information from: “Thailand the Beautiful Cookbook”.

I will write about my favourite cook books soon. I just bought a really nice one from Asia Books. I will try and find out whether it is available at amazon.com. In the meantime, you can visit the Thai Food archives at enjoythaifood.com.

Dengue Fever in Thailand

A woman walks past a poster warning against mosquito-borne viruses in Bangkok. An explosion of dengue fever in Thailand since the start of the year has health officials warning occurrences of the disease, already up 75 percent over the same period last year.(AFP/File/Pornchai Kittiwongsakul)

If you are planning on visiting Thailand during the wet season (coming soon) then you should be careful not to get Dengue Fever. This disease is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito called Aedes aegypti. In the first two months of this year, two people have died in Thailand and 2,769 people have become infected. The number of infections is 75% greater than the same period last year so the government are warning the public to be careful during the approaching wet season.


Dengue mosquitoes bite during the daytime. Protect yourself from the bite.

(1) Wear full sleeve clothes and long dresses to cover the limbs;
(2) Repellent – care should be taken in using repellents on small children and the elderly;
(3) Use mosquito coils and electric vapour mats during the daytime to prevent Dengue;
(4) Use mosquito nets – to protect babies, old people and others, who may rest during the day. Curtains can also be treated with insecticide and hung at windows or doorways, to repel or kill mosquitoes.
(5) Protection of people sick with dengue – Mosquitoes become infected when they bite people who are sick with dengue. Mosquito nets and mosquito nets and mosquito coils will effectively prevent mosquitoes from biting sick people and help stop the spread of dengue


The first symptoms of the disease occur about 5-7 days after an infected bite.

* Sudden onset of high fever
* Severe headache (mostly in the forehead)
* Pain behind the eyes which worsens with eye movement
* Body aches and joint pains
* Nausea or vomiting

Mosquitoes like to rest in cool dark places. I always bang out my black sneakers before putting them on as there are usually half a dozen mosquitoes in each shoe. The female mosquito lays her eggs in water containers around the house. These eggs become adults in about 10 days. So, I will have to pay particular attention to the plant saucers and buckets around the back which might get filled when it rains. I also have a large water bowl with lotuses which I will need to keep an eye on. I did discover some mosquito eggs a month ago which I managed to kill with some powder. Obviously as this is a serious threat I will need to be more diligent.

Sources of information: World Health Organization web site and MCOT Thai News Agency

Playing golf in England!

Here is a picture of me playing golf (red cap) in Bang Poo, Samut Prakan, Thailand. The two ladies on the left are caddies.

Today I had to get up at 7am because I had an appointment. An appointment to play golf! Golf is my favourite sport. I’ve never enjoyed playing any sports more than golf. When I was in Australia, my school had a golf club inside the school! I find it very fastinating though it was quite difficult to play back then because of school and all. Also in the holidays, I usually went back and enjoyed golf in Thailand which I think is the best place to play. Why? I think Thailand has many beautiful golf courses and most of them are brilliant! Also the caddies are very friendly when here, it is all on your own.

However, this is the first time I’ve played golf in England. It is quite unusual to play at this time because it rains a lot. Today was the same story, it rained a lot but I do not know why, I still had fun. In addition, most people would start playing next week as we enter spring and go into daylight saving. Between next week and October is the best time to play golf in England as it is not so cold but could still be wet in some cases.

When I arrived at the golf course, I thought it was a park! The golf course I went to was actually inside Richmond park where they still hunt deer for the Queen. This is a festival which is carried out every year. So, when I started it was still raining heavily but it was alright as we started to see sunlight. The difference between playing golf here and Thailand is that there are no caddies so you have to do everything yourself. I wasn’t so frightened as it was the same when I used to study in Australia and you have to carry your own bag. However, it was strange at first because it has been almost 2 years since I carried my own bag. I went with some of people I know and there were 4 of us playing. The course was very clear as no-one was behind or in front of us. It took us about 4 hours to complete the round. After that we just went back. I really had a good time and I hope to go again next week as it gave me a really good experience. And also, the fee was very very cheap. It only cost me about 7.50 pounds to play which is considered very cheap.

I’m now finish for today and I need to hit the bed as I have to wake up early tomorrow. I’m going up to Warwick for 2 days to visit my cousin so I won’t be able to blog. But when I come back, I’ll probably talk about Birmingham as I might be going there the day after tomorrow. For now, bye.