Sawasdee ka! Food is an essential part of our culture here in Thailand. And one dish that is a favorite among locals and tourists alike is Pad Pak. This savory stir-fry of mixed vegetables is a go-to option for those seeking a healthy yet delicious meal that captures the essence of Thai cuisine.
As a Thai woman who loves to explore and savor the intricacies of our traditional dishes, I can't wait to share with you the many wonders of Pad Pak. Trust me; your taste buds are in for a treat!
What makes Pad Pak so special is that it combines a diverse mix of locally sourced vegetables with the perfect blend of spices and sauces to create a harmonious medley of flavors and textures. The dish is often paired with steamed rice and a side of protein for a complete meal. In essence, Pad Pak represents the balance and harmony that lies at the heart of Thai cuisine.
In this article, I will take you on a delightful culinary journey that explores the history of Pad Pak, its essential ingredients, and how you can replicate the recipe in your very own kitchen. So, put on your aprons, sharpen your knives, and join me as we discover the savory wonders of Pad Pak!
Gather Your Ingredients and Heat up Your Wok!
Pad Pak is a wholesome and delicious stir-fried vegetable dish that is a staple of the Thai kitchen. A vegetarian-friendly treat, Pad Pak is a healthy and flavorful way to boost your daily veggie intake. This dish is also a perfect way to bring a taste of Thai culture into your kitchen.
To get started with your Pad Pak, you’ll need to collect a few key ingredients. Generally, Pad Pak is made with a variety of leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables, like bok choy or broccoli, combined with colorful bell peppers and other veggies like mushrooms and carrots. For the perfect Pad Pak experience, it’s crucial to use fresh and high-quality ingredients.
Once you have your veggies prepped and ready, it’s time to get cooking! First, heat a non-stick wok or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of oil and swirl it around to coat the surface of the pan.
It’s essential to make sure your wok is heated and your oil is hot and shimmering before adding your ingredients. This ensures that your veggies are cooked evenly, and there’s no excess moisture in the pan.
Add Your Veggies and Flavors!
Now it’s time to add your veggies! Start with your denser veggies, like broccoli, cauliflower or carrots. Add them to your wok and stir fry for a minute or two before adding your softer vegetables like mushrooms or leafy greens.
While your veggies are cooking, it’s important to consider which flavors you’d like to add to your Pad Pak. Soy sauce and oyster sauce are the traditional base of this dish, along with minced garlic, chopped shallots, and a pinch of sugar. You can also add chilies or hot sauce for a spicier version, or pineapple or tamarind for a sweet and sour twist.
For a more protein-packed version of your Pad Pak, consider adding chicken or shrimp. If you prefer a vegetarian or vegan version, tofu is an excellent source of plant-based protein and adds to the savoury flavour of this dish.
Pick Your Perfect Presentation
Now that your Pad Pak is ready, it’s time to serve up this delicious treat! You have a few options here, depending on how you want to present your dish.
Pad Pak is delicious on its own as a healthy and filling meal, but it also makes an excellent side dish to accompany other Thai classics like Pad Thai or green curry. As a side dish, you can present your Pad Pak in a small serving bowl, garnished with fresh herbs like cilantro or basil.
For a more substantial meal, serve your Pad Pak over a bed of rice or noodles. Jasmine rice, in particular, is an excellent choice to accompany your steaming bowl of Pad Pak.