What is Pad Thai and how to make it? Google Doodle celebrates iconic Thailand recipe

What is Pad Thai?

Today’s Google Doodle is a fun illustration showing the making of one of Thailand’s favourite street food dishes, Pad Thai.

In 2011, it was voted the fifth best food in the world by CNN readers, in between two other Thai dishes: som tham (papaya salad) and tom yang goong (shrimp soup).

Pad Thai is a sweet and salty mix of noodles, beansprouts, tamarind and prawns, topped with peanuts and a squeeze of lime.

It’s a signature street food dish in Thailand, one that has made its way across the world as a cheap, easy and warming favourite.

During the Second World War Thailand faced an acute shortage of rice, which was a staple for the Thai people at the time. 

Rice noodles however happened to be cheap, filling, and plentiful. Coupled with vegetables and cheap sources of protein such as shrimp and prawns, rice noodles could provide a well-balanced, nutritious meal. 

An age-old recipe (thought to be introduced by Chinese traders) was popularised amongst vendors and began to be hawked widely on the streets. Overnight, a national favourite was born. 

Now, Pad Thai is served in trendy London eateries and has even made its way onto the Google homepage.

The special Google Doodle follows pea-sized characters as they whip up a batch of their own.

Google said: “This lovely creation celebrates the process of cooking this unique dish and eating it with friends — warm, colourful, messy, social, and wonderfully Thai.”

How to make Pad Thai

This recipe, courtesy of BBC Good Food, will serve a family of 4. You can customise it by adding different vegetables or meat, or by making it spicier or sweeter.

You will need to make the Pad Thai in 2 batches so that it can cook properly in the wok. Be sure to have all of your ingredients prepared beforehand, and serve while hot.

1. Soak 250g dried rice noodles in a large bowl of warm water, leaving them for 10 minutes so that they start to soften – but not soggy.

2. Mix 3 tbsp palm sugar or soft brown sugar with 6 tbsp tamarind paste, 3 tbsp water and 2 tbsp soy sauce.

3. Make the Pad Thai sauce by putting 1 tbsp of vegetable oil in a wok, adding 3 garlic cloves and 3 birds-eye chillies and cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add the tamarind mix and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Pour into a bowl and clean the wok.

4. Prepare 300g raw prawns (peeled and deveined), 100g fresh beansprouts and 2 tbsp pickled turnip finely chopped. Beat 3 eggs.

5. Pour some oil into the wok and all half the prawns. Cook for 1 minute and then push to the side. Add half the eggs, cook for 1 minute and then scramble. Add half the noodles, beansprouts and turnip and stir constantly. Pour in half the Pad Thai sauce and keep stirring until absorbed. Stir in a handful of chives.

6. Tip the Pad Thai onto 2 plates and top with peanuts, a squeeze of lime and coriander.

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