Phad Thai was made popular in Thailand during World War II. Thai Prime Minister, Plaek Phibunsongkhram, known as Phibun in the West, promoted phad Thai in his campaign to establish Thai nationalism.
Thailand was a main exporter of rice, and the government hoped to increase the amount available for export. As prime minister of Thailand between 1938 and 1944 and from 1948 to 1957, Phibun hoped to westernize the country and in 1939 supported the change of name of the country from Siam to Thailand.
At the time, wheat noodles were very popular in Thailand, but Plaek Phibunsongkhram sought to eliminate Chinese influence in the country. His government promoted rice noodles and helped to establish the country’s identity. As a result, a new noodle named sen chan was created.
Phad Thai has since become one of Thailand’s national dishes. Today, some food vendors add pork-chops to enhance the taste (although the original recipe did not contain pork because of the government perception that pork was a Chinese meat). Some food vendors still use the original recipe. It is a fast, delicious and nutritious dish, and has become popular in many countries around the world.
- 250 g dried rice sticks (soaked and drained)
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 3 garlic cloves (chopped fine)
- 1 red chilli (seeded and chopped)
- 150 g pork (sliced thin)
- 100 g prawn flesh (chopped)
- 75 g garlic chives (chopped)
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 teaspoons soft brown sugar
- 2 eggs (beaten)
- 90 g bean sprouts (scalded and cooled)
- Fresh coriander leaves
- 40 g roasted peanuts (chopped)
- Heat the oil in a wok and stir fry the garlic, pork and chillies for two minutes.
- Add three prawns and stir fry for a further three minutes.
- Add the garlic chive and rice sticks, too then cover and cook for a minute.
- Add the fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and eggs. Toss well until the egg is set.
- Garnish with sprouts, coriander and peanuts.