Pad Thai Noodles

Pad Thai (Thai Style Stir Fry Noodles)

Pad Thai means stir fried noodles and is a street food that became popular in Thailand in the 1930’s. It is not a spicy dish but it is one you can adjust to your taste.

Ingredients for 4-5 portions

  • 150 grams Thai rice noodles (also called flat pad Thai noodles, cellophane or glass noodles)
  • 1 cup cooked and cleaned shrimp/prawns (optional)
  • 1 cup shredded or small pieces of uncooked chicken (optional)
  • 1 cup firm Tofu chopped and pan fried (for vegetarians)
  • ½ cup shallots or green onion bulbs finely chopped 
  • 1/4-1 tsp red Thai chillies finely chopped (this is optional)
  • 8-10 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup sprouted moong or bean sprouts
  • 3-4 stalks Chinese chives, sliced in batons or use stems of green onions slivered
  • 1/3 cup fresh coriander / cilantro
  • ½ cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons oil for stir frying ( peanut, corn, soy, sunflower, or canola)
  • 1/4 cup tablespoon water or vegetable stock or shrimp or chicken stock 
  • 1-2 eggs whisked (optional)
  • Wedges of lime for serving 

Pad Thai Sauce

Add this  when the noodles are cooking. You can make it more sour or less sweet to your preferred taste.

Mix together and set aside:

  • 6-8 tablespoons tamarind paste (available as Asian / Indian food stores)
  • 1 cup shrimp or chicken stock or use water or vegetable stock
  • 3-4 tablespoons fish sauce or soy sauce for vegetarians. Use fermented bamboo shoot paste or vegan fish sauce if you prefer
  • 3 tablespoons date palm sugar or brown sugar (use sugar substitute if you prefer)

Method for noodles

Bring a large pot of water to a furious boil then remove from heat. Soak the rice noodles for 5-10 minutes until soft enough to eat, but still a little chewy-don’t over-cook them .  Drain just before you are ready to add it to the sauce and spices.

While noodles are soaking work quickly. Warm a wok or large frying pan over medium high heat. Add 3 tbsp. vegetable oil and stir fry onions or shallots and garlic about one minute. Use large tongs as they help to toss noodles as well.

Add chicken   and vegetables. Cook 2 minutes, stirring to make sure chicken cooks through. Add shrimp then add drained noodles and toss well. Taste the Pad Thai Sauce for sweetness and tartness- adjust to your taste by adding more tamarind or sugar. Slowly pour over noodles and toss vigorously.   Add tofu or chicken and continue to toss. Cook until noodles begin to brown and get just a little crispy.  Add more sauce, toss and taste.

Add the bean sprouts and chives and continue stir frying 1-2  more minutes. Remove from heat and taste, adding more Pad Thai sauce until desired taste is achieved.

Garnish with the coriander, green onion stalks and peanuts. Squeeze over with lime juice. Thai chili sauce can also be served on the side if desired.


Karwari style coastal fish curry

karwari pomfret curry 2-1


Karwar is a coastal town about 2 hours drive from Goa. It has a culinary tradition distinct from that of other cities in the Malwan on India’s western coast, off the Arabian sea .
This family recipe comes from my maternal grandmother. You will notice peculiar techniques like the use of two kinds of souring agents; tamarind and kokum or salted and dried mangosteen fruit, similar ingredients are both roasted and ground and separately sautéed and the use of turmeric for both flavor and color. This curry has a mellow flavor and is easy to make. You can use steaks of white fish like pomfret, cod, halibut or shrimp. For a vegetarian version add potatoes.

6-8 servings



1 kg rawas or surmai, cut into 8-10 steaks

1 tsp + 1½-2 tsp salt or to taste

2 tbsp vegetable oil

50 gms white onions, chopped

400 ml thick coconut milk

8 soft, dried kokum fruit, soaked in a cup of hot water

½” fresh ginger root, peeled, julienned

2 Indian green chillies, 1”- 1½” long, slit lengthwise or 1 Thai bird chillie


Spice paste

1 tsp coriander seeds

1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds

4 black peppercorns

8 dried red Kashmiri chillies, stalks and seeds removed

1 tsp turmeric powder

4 Indian green chillies, 1”- 1½” long, roughly chopped OR 2 Thai bird chillies

½” fresh ginger root, peeled, grated

1 tbsp roughly chopped white onion

1 tsp rice flour


Juice of ½ a lime

2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves


Wash the fish and drain thoroughly. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt, cover and refrigerate.


Toast the whole spices and red chillies for the spice paste in a skillet on medium heat for about 2 minutes, till fragrant.

Switch off the heat and stir the turmeric powder into the hot spices. Cool and grind to a fine powder.

Add the green chillies, ginger onion and rice flour and grind to a fine consistency.

Remove the fish from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature.


Put the oil in a small kadhai or wok on medium heat. When hot, sauté the onion, ginger and green chillies for 1-2 minutes, till the onion is translucent.

Add the fish, ground spice paste and coconut milk.

Squeeze the kokum and strain the liquid into the pan.

Simmer for 5-8 minutes or till the fish is tender.

Add 1½-2 tsp salt and taste.

Garnish with lime juice and coriander leaves and serve hot with plain, boiled, white rice.


Coastal Indian Maratha style Pulao

[media-credit id=2 align=”alignright” width=”280″]Maratha style Chicken pulao[/media-credit]

Ingredients for 6 -7 servings
3 cups basmati rice
½ cup ghee or vegetable oil
1 dried bay leaf
4 cloves
5 cups hot water

Egg Potatoes or Meat Masala
3 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
3 black peppercorns
2 cloves
1 black cardamom
2 green cardamoms
1 dried bay leaf
1” cinnamon stick
1½ cups finely chopped white onions
2 Indian green chillies, 2”- 2½” long, chopped
3” fresh ginger root, peeled, puréed
6 cloves garlic, puréed
4 plum or red tomatoes, chopped
2 cups full-cream-milk, plain yogurt
2 heaped tbsp Malvani garam masala (recipe in the book A Sense for Spice) or use store bought Garam masala
½ tsp saffron strands
Salt to taste
12 eggs or 1.5 kg cooking potatoes peeled and quartered or 2 kg boneless meat of your choice
To assemble and serve the pulao
1 cup cubed potatoes, fried
½ cup finely sliced onions, fried
12 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, quartered
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves

Wash the rice and soak it in water for 2 hours.
Rinse the rice and drain completely.
Heat the ghee or oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan that has a tight-fitting lid.
Add the bay leaf and cloves and sauté on medium heat for about 1 minute.
Add the rice and gently sauté for about 30 seconds.
Add 5 cups of hot water. Stir, cover the pan and cook on medium heat for about 6 minutes, till the rice is fluffy.
Switch off the heat and keep the pan covered so the rice continues to cook in its own steam.
Fluff up the rice with a fork and spread on a large plate to cool.

Egg Masala
Heat the ghee or oil in a large, deep pan. Add the whole spices and sauté on high heat, till they sizzle and rise to the surface. Drain the spices and discard.
Add the onions and green chillies to the spiced oil and sauté on medium heat, till soft.
Stir in the ginger and garlic and sauté for another minute.
Add the tomatoes and sauté on high heat for 3-4 minutes, till they are completely pulped.
Mix in the yogurt and Malvani garam masala and continue to cook for about 7-10 minutes, stirring constantly, till the yogurt thickens, splits and releases its oil.
If using meat or potatoes add now and stir well. Cook on medium heat, till the meat and or potatoes are tender.
Sprinkle in the saffron and salt to taste.
Switch off the heat and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

To assemble the pulao
Spoon half the cooked rice into the bottom of a bundt pan or a large ring-shaped mould about 4” deep. If you don’t have either of these use a round ovenproof dish that into your pressure cooker.
Pat down the rice and dot with some fried potatoes and onions.
Spoon all the meat or potatoes with its gravy evenly over the rice bed.
Cover with the remaining rice, pat down and seal tightly with aluminium foil. Refrigerate overnight.
Remove from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature.
Reheat either by steaming in a pressure cooker for 10 minutes, or place it in a bain marie (warm water bath) in an oven heated to 150⁰C for 1 hour.
Turn out on to a large serving platter. Garnish with the remaining fried potatoes and onions and the hard-boiled eggs and coriander leaves.
Serve hot.

photo credit Deepa Netto