Do you know the story behind Pad Thai, the popular street food dish that features in possibly every Thai restaurant? Apart from the fact that it is a very tasty dish, it also has a fascinating past.
Pad Thai is a dish that was created by the Thai prime minister, Plaek Phibunsongkhram in the 1930s. It was all about nation building and he created the dish using Chinese noodles, calling it pad Thai as a way to galvanise nationalism.
During World War II, Thailand had a rice shortage, hence the prime minister started promoting noodles instead. Pad Thai was therefore created to help protect the rice resources of the country. He simultaneously also wanted to improve the Thai diet and promote unity and a sense of national identity with a dish that everyone loved.
While it is a dish with a solid backstory, it’s also a dish that can improve your diet too, especially when you make it a raw version and add some pink punnet mushrooms to the mix.
Try this recipe from the South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association, which might also help you understand why Pad Thai is such a popular dish:
Raw Pad Thai with Spicy Sautéed Mushrooms
¼ cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 clove garlic, finely grated
1 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated
500g portabellini mushrooms, sliced
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp sriracha, sambal oelek or any similar hot sauce
¼ purple cabbage, shredded finely
4 carrots, peeled and julienned or spiralised
2 large courgettes, julienned or spiralised
1 red chilli, seeds removed and thinly sliced
4 spring onions, thinly sliced
½ cup coriander leaves
½ cup bean sprouts
½ cup roasted salted peanuts, roughly chopped
Fresh lime wedges, for serving
For the dressing:
Place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk.
Add a splash of warm water if you’d like to thin it out slightly.
Taste to adjust any seasoning and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large frying pan and sauté the mushrooms on high heat until lightly golden.
Remove from the heat and drizzle with a little of the peanut dressing and the spicy chilli sauce. Toss to coat.
In a large mixing bowl add the cabbage, carrots, courgettes, chilli, spring onions and coriander. Add a little drizzle of dressing and toss.
Add the mushrooms and mix everything well.
Plate the salad and sprinkle with bean sprouts and peanuts. Serve with chunky lime wedges.