Easy Oriental Part 13. Lucky or not, it’s Dad Thai.

Pad Thai (1 of 15)One of the time-of-times in a sad superstitious old man’s life is approaching. My youngest is preparing to emigrate. She has finished the formal part of her education and wants to spread her wings. This is not a lucky time for me. So I suspect that it’s appropriate that number thirteen in this series is a meal that she has begged me to cook as one of her departure treats. It’s my take on seafood-free Pad Thai or ‘Dad Thai’ to take it for my own. The ingredients are all in the photo above. For superstition’s sake, there are fourteen.

The ingredients list is as long as my list of reasons why Youngest should not fly the coop.

Dad Thai Ingredients

  • 7 or 8 chicken thighs
  • Rice noodles for 6
  • 6 to 8 spring onions
  • 2 chilis
  • 3 limes (2 for juicing, 1 for serving)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 handful of coriander (cilantro)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of tamarind paste
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 2 big handfuls of bean sprouts (the quantity is approximate)
  • 1 big handful of peanuts (the quantity again approximate)
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut oil


The rice noodles sink, like my heart, as she plans to go.

The rice noodles sink, like my heart, as she plans to go.

Sink the rice noodles in a big bowl of cold water. They will take about half an hour to soften enough for cooking. Don’t boil them or they will get too soft. Soft like me, when it comes to Youngest. Heat the wok and add half the peanut oil. Fry the chicken until cooked in the wok. Let it cool and slice to into small strips.

Crush and slice the garlic. Crushed like my heart as she wants to go.

Crush and slice the garlic. Crushed like my heart as she wants to go.

All the ingredients need to be sliced, one way or another.

The chilli will need to be chopped pretty fine. A fine thing, her leaving home!

The chilli will need to be chopped pretty fine. A fine thing, her leaving home!

Slice the spring onions into 3 cm (1 inch) slices.

A gratuitous slicing shot. The leaving cuts deep.

A gratuitous slicing shot. The leaving cuts deep.

Roughly crush the peanuts.

Crushed (I'll leave out any analogy) peanuts.

Crushed (I’ll leave out any analogy) peanuts.

Mix the lime juice, tamarind, fish sauce and sugar.

A totally needless stirring shot. Perhaps Youngest will think I'm stirring it too.

A totally needless stirring shot. Perhaps Youngest will think I’m stirring it too.

Get all your prepared ingredients and line them up beside the stove. Things start to happen quickly from now. Whip the eggs. Heat some oil in a wok and pour in the eggs.

The eggs go into the wok. They get lightly scrambled.

The eggs go into the wok. They get lightly scrambled.

Work fast at this stage.

Whip the eggs. Whipped like my heart.

Whip the eggs. Whipped like my heart.

Take the eggs off the heat while they are still half-cooked. Add the rest of the oil and then start to fry the ginger. As soon as the aromas rise, add the spring onions. Add the chilli and stir until the colours get very vibrant. Add the noodles. Add the liquid mixture. Stir to combine. Add the chicken strips. Stir.

The chicken strips get poured in. Then they get stirred in.

The chicken strips get poured in. Then they get stirred in.

Add the egg, the bean sprouts and the peanuts.

This does not seem too appealing at this stage. Much like Youngest leaving for Canada...

This does not seem too appealing at this stage. Much like Youngest leaving for Canada…

Stir to combine. Finally, add the coriander.

Coriander is always a last minute thing. It sours pretty quickly if you add it too soon.

Coriander is always a last-minute thing. It sours pretty quickly if you add it too soon.

Give it a last stir to combine and then serve it immediately with a lime wedge or two on the side. I served it with a glass of non alcoholic ginger beer. Perfect paring and best not to be taking to the bottle what with my Youngest leaving home….

The finished dish. An amazing explosion of flavours.

The finished dish. An amazing explosion of flavours.

I don’t want to seem too bitter about Youngest departing. We have Skype, Face Time, Facebook, Google+ hangouts, email, the telephone and even post cards to help keep us in touch. Lucky to have her as a daughter. Lucky to see her spreading her wings. Not so lucky to miss out on dinner ideas like this one. I might just have to persuader her to stay. Perhaps if I break down in tears and beg….

Perhaps not.

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  • Gosh, that’s made me hungry! I’m glad you’re letting her spread her wings; my parents did and I eventually came back 😊

    • There’s no stopping her now. Great to see.

  • Lovely (the sentiment and the dish). Thanks, Conor.

    • Thanks Glenn. Not the easiest post to write and still keep it (like the dish) light.

  • You’ve given her a memorable meal to spread her wings on…

    • Thanks Kate. She is angling for me to do it again. That is the highest praise I can get.

  • This looks wonderful! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Lovely post. Your daughter might be leaving the nest but the love you share will have her returning for visits and your good cooking.

    • I certainly hope so Karen. Hopefully too, she will return from the ‘New World’ with sacks of gold to help me into my retirement.

  • That’s a very good send off and presumably she’ll miss you and the cooking and want to come back 😉

    • Thanks MD. Part of me hopes that’s true. Part if me wants her to see the world and to build her own life. The other part of me wants to hear her moving about the house in the mornings.

  • Where’s the cat video? Honestly, I loved my empty nest, and I know you will too. Especially when they come back…

    • Thanks Mimi, sorry about that. I was testing Facebook’s promise to come down hard on link bating. Facebook Fail!

  • I do love this series. The dish looks perfect. You’re such a great cook and you instilled that value in your daughter. I’ve only been on the leaving side of the coin, but she will come back. I do and I cherish my visits. Isn’t it a hard truth to know that if you’ve done your job well as a parent you’ll eventually have to feel this way. But yay that she’s curious about the world and has you to come home to anytime 🙂

    • Amanda, you do put the positive side out. Thanks for that. I suppose I should start thinking about number fourteen and stop feeling sorry for myself.

  • Heartfelt and delicious post, Conor. My eldest spread her wings and left home four years ago…she returns home often (holidays and vacations) and on the flip side we have a yearly vacation destination…a visit with her!

    • Thanks Nancy,
      Like Amanda above, you have managed to point me towards the upside. The way to go!

  • Good looking pad Thai , my friend.
    Perhaps whiskey would help? 🙂

    • I had a very funny conversation today with a friend who had a Thai friend who spoke no English. He spoke of the famous whisky as “Johnny Wanker”. Perhaps a few of them would do it.

  • Great post, Conor. Love the recipe, the prep shots and plating. Pad Thai is one of the Baby Lady’s favorite dishes. Now she’s bothering me abut having Thai food for dinner. Hmmm…
    Having your children grow up and leave is such a bittersweet event – even when they only live 20 minutes away. It’s always so difficult to see them leave yet you’re happy for them to start living their life and experiencing the joys and pains of living independently. Don’t worry, however, because you will still be the 24 hour ATM for the next several years. 🙂 They will still call and every now and then will actually want your advice. You will miss the hustle and bustle of the children and their friends being around but you will love having the house to yourself. It was only as I got older that I truly appreciated and yearned for “the sound of silence.” It really is golden. 😉 The kids will always come home (it will always be home no matter how old they get), especially around the holidays, and there will great joy and merriment. It’s the way it’s supposed to be. We all know because we’ve been there and done that. 🙂 As hard as it is, it’s her turn now. I wish her all of the success and joys that being her own woman can bring.

    • Thank you Richard. You speak with the balanced wisdom of experience. By the looks of it, we have a lot to look forward to.
      Lovely comment.
      Best, as always,

  • A very nice take on pad thai, Conor. I find pad thai not so easy as one has to work very fast to get it right. I like how you cook the egg. I’ve tried to follow Miranti’s instructions, but thought the egg ‘got lost’ a bit. In a way I’m glad for you that you are sad about your youngest leaving, as it must mean you have a great bond rather than being glad to be rid of each other. I’m sure you’ll lure her home with your food 🙂

    • Thank you Stefan,
      Another take on this situation that is better than mine. We do have a great bond that neither time nor distance can weaken. I will attempt to lure…

  • Aaaaaaaw… Well at least you’re sending her off with a good recipe.

    • That’s one of her departure meals Michelle. She is putting me to the pin of my collar!

  • I am within 3 years of your same situation, except we only have one to start with! I found your sentiments touching, and yet whimsical. And that Pad Thai? How can your daughter NOT come back home for more of that? .

    • I’ll have to use all my culinary deviousness to see her back across the Atlantic.

      • I am certain she’ll come back to visit without any deviousness, culinary or not. 🙂

  • The older we get the more we rely on them (currently in understanding how to use new technology and things like that).

    • I can see myself in a few years, sitting in a spring loaded chair, unable to get the TV to work. At that stage, it would be better for all if she stays away.

  • Oh, Conor, you have our sympathy (I know, I know, it’s a good thing, but… we’re putting our daughter on a plane to France for 6 months in couple of weeks and I can only imagine how I’d feel if she were really moving). The pad thai looks fabulous, especially the eggs that aren’t overcooked as you tip them into the wok. Sounds like you’ve got a great connection with your daughter. She’ll be back. Ken

    • Our eldest did 6 months in Paris. I went over with her to get her settled in. I remember well walking away from her student accommodation towards the Metro. Crying like a baby. But, we have to focus on them and not us. Great to see her opening her mind and growing up.

      • Absolutely. I was a mess after driving our son to college, and still feel a twinge of sadness at the end of visits. What sensitive New Age dads we are. Ken

        • Sensitive. But very manly, as my Manly Man Size Pork Pie will prove. Arm wrestle you for the last slice.

  • I’m unsure about your wordplay, I feel dirty for even raising a smile… At least the food looks good eh, Conor?

    • Anything inappropriate must be of your own interpretation. Shame on you!
      Hope all is good in your neck of the woods.

  • well, actually i like to toss the cooked noodle with egg first n stir fry it until slightly charred just like the foodstall cook did, then throw the remaining ingredients

  • Lovely food, Conor…I am so sorry about your daughter. I hate to see families split, I hate to see good people leaving Ireland,or any homeland. I am a product of mixed heritage and I can tell you, those of us, MOST of us in the States, know that we are missing out on a lot. I hope she will return.

  • Conor – I’m going to stop reading the recipes when they come into my in-box and force myself to wait a week because your comments are every bit as good as the posts. I think they’ve overtaken your captions – which are anything from chuckle inducing to plain old belly laughing greatness – even here in this post. With your sense of humour, nobody can stay away for too long. Looking forward to reading the reunion recipe and hope it’s not too far away 🙂

    • Thanks indeed Pamela,
      Take heart that you have raised a smile over here.

  • I don’t know where the notifications for your posts have gone, Conor. Sorry that it took me so long to notice…
    I must say that you really are quite skilled in preparing Asian dishes. Each that I’ve seen you post really are much better than many that I’ve been served here in restaurants. I wonder. Does Chinese food ship well? 🙂

    • You would probably ship better John. That is an excuse to visit Ireland, see our fantastic ingredients first hand and enjoy some Oriental food cooked by an Irishman. The sad truth about most (not all) Chinese restaurants is that the food is produced for the lowest price and of a quality that is acceptable to the masses. The masses don’t appreciate the finer things in life, as you obviously do!

  • Amazing looking dish Conor! Your daughter will adore you for the rest of your life for letting her spread her wings and fly! Be well! ^..^

  • You make me hungry. Also, I spent two years in Japan after college, right before the internet was born. I called home collect once a month to my parents and wrote endless letters to everybody else. I think Skype etc. will make it much easier for you.

    • Thanks for sharing that. She has been a few months over there at this stage. We FaceTime and Skype regularly. The Internet makes it much easier on heart rendered parents. As, I am sure it does on daughters spreading their wings.

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