One of my favourite Asian dishes to eat is Pad Thai. I love Simply Asia but can’t always justify the R80 price tag per person. Here’s how I make enough for two people with leftovers for the same cost.
- 3x Rice Stick Noodle wheels from Woolies (R36 for 6)
- 3x Spring onion (R13 for 6)
- 100g Mung bean sprouts, blanched (R17)
- 1 x small onion or ½ big onion quartered and quartered again
- 3-4 garlic cloves (R8.50 for whole head)
- 3-4 red birds eye chillies (R11 for 30g)
- 2 x chicken breasts (R45 avg for 4)
- 50g Roasted Peanuts (R15 for 100g)
- 70ml Soya Sauce (R30 for 250ml)
- ¼ cup lemon juice (R15 for 500ml)
- 1 x fresh lemon (optional) R8
- 2TB Sugar or xylitol
- Cover the rice stick noodles with boiling water and leave aside for 5 minutes. Blanch the Mung bean sprouts in boiling water then drain and cover in cold water.
- Chop the spring onion into 4 pieces then julienne (cut in half and half again).
- Slice the garlic cloves
- Wash and clean the chicken breasts, then cut in half lengthways and slice diagonally.
- In a pestle & mortar or coffee grinder, grind the peanuts until coarse consistency. You can make it finer if you like but no peanut butter!
- Heat a wok or frying pan with some oil.
- Add the garlic cloves, red chillies and onion, sauté and then add the chicken.
- Cook until the water from the chicken has dried up.
- Add the soya sauce, lemon and sugar to the chicken, let it cook for a little bit then add the noodles. Make sure everything is coated in the sauce. It should not be too liquidy at this point and the sugar should start to make the sauce sticky.
- Add the chopped spring onion.
- Serve it with the blanched bean sprouts, ground peanuts, wedge of fresh lemon and a fried egg on the side.
I had most of the ingredients and only had to buy the bean sprouts, red chilli and peanuts. Thus keeping the overall cost low. Most of the ingredients are general pantry and fridge items. Traditional Pad Thai is made with a lot more ingredients (palm sugar, tamarind, fish sauce, garlic chives). My dupe gets the same flavour for a lot less!
The ratio of soya sauce:lemon:sugar is entirely up to you. Want it sweeter? Add more sugar, more lemony etc. add more lemon.
You can add tofu to this dish instead of the chicken if you like as a vegetarian option. Just cut the tofu into blocks and fry. If you’re feeling fancy use prawns instead.
Scramble the eggs into the noodles if you prefer. I am not fond of leftover egg in this dish and prefer to do the fried egg. Just a heads up, if you do scramble the egg make sure you scramble it till it is dry. The texture the next day will be weird otherwise.