If you have tried Thai food before, you most likely have tried the classic dish pad thai.
“It’s a great starter dish for Thai food,” says Nicholas Potchanant, manager of Thai Papaya, located at 1434 Tutor Lane. “That’s why so many people like pad thai, because it’s their first experience to Thai food.”
Potchanant says preparing the dish is a long process that begins by soaking the rice noodles. The cooking process starts with the meat and continues with the addition of eggs and vegetables. Finally, the noodles are combined with the other ingredients and the house-made secret tamarind sauce.
Meet the Meat
While shrimp is the most authentic protein for pad thai, other popular options include pork, beef, and chicken, which was used in the dish pictured.
Use Your Noodle
Rice noodles are used for classic pad thai, although the size of the noodle can vary from region and restaurant.
Crushed peanuts aren’t just a fun garnish — Potchanant says having the saltiness helps balance the sweetness in the rest of the dish.
Top of the Heap
Garnishes like cabbage, lime wedges, chives, cilantro, and carrot add more texture and flavor to the dish. The cabbage and carrot provides a nice crunch while the lime, chives, and cilantro round out the flavors.
Thai Papaya makes all their sauces in house, and Potchanant says customers in Evansville tend to like dishes on the sweeter side. For pad thai, the sauce is started with a base of tamarind that is sweet but not too sweet.