• Chicken and prawn pad Thai (China Squirrel)

The secret to our version of this Thai classic is the extra layers of fresh flavours - the chicken is marinated in fresh turmeric and we make our chilli oil from scratch.






Skill level

Average: 4.2 (13 votes)


  • 200 g chicken thigh fillets
  • 250 ml (1 cup) light soy sauce, to cover 
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds 
  • 1 tsp white peppercorns
  • 1 small piece fresh turmeric, peeled and roughly chopped 
  • 300 g dried thick rice noodles
  • 4 medium raw (green) king prawns, deveined, head removed and halved lengthways
  • vegetable oil, for cooking
  • 1 red eschalot, thinly sliced
  • ½ bunch garlic shoots, sliced into 5 cm batons
  • 50 g bean sprouts
  • ½ bunch coriander, leaves picked
  • 1 lime, halved
  • ¼ cup roasted peanuts, crushed 



  • 30 g palm sugar, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chilli oil (see Note)
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) tamarind water (see Note)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Marinating time: 20 minutes

Preheat the oven to 170ºC.

Crush the coriander seed, peppercorns and turmeric using a mortar and pestle. Place the chicken in a bowl, cover with the crushed spices and massage into the chicken. Cover with the soy sauce and marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to 1 hour.

Drain the chicken and place on a wire rack placed over a baking tray and roast for 20 minutes. Allow to cool enough to handle, then shred the meat.

For the dressing, place the palm sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, allow to melt, increase the heat to medium-high and cook until caramelised and dark golden. Add the remaining ingredients, stir to combine, then remove from the heat and set aside.

Blanch the rice noodles briefly in boiling water, then drain and wash thoroughly to remove the rest of the starch.

Remove the heads, shells and veins from the prawns, and halve lengthways.

Heat the oil in a wok until very hot wok, add the chicken and cook until it has some “wok char” (begins to take on some colour and aroma from the wok).

Add the prawns and the eschalot and cook until caramelised and slightly coloured.

Add the garlic shoots and rice noodles and cook for 30 seconds, tossing to combine.

Add the dressing and toss to combine.

Divide between bowls and serve with the bean sprouts, coriander, lime and peanuts on the side.


Chef’s notes

• For the chilli oil, at the restaurant, we make our own. To do this, gently heat 400 g fresh long red chillies with 200 ml vegetable oil over low heat until softened. Cool slightly, blend the chillies and oil until smooth, then press through a sieve. Discard the solids and use the oil. Store oil in an airtight jar in the fridge and use in dressings and sauces. You can also buy chilli oil from Asian grocers.

To make tamarind water, soak tamarind pulp in hot water, breaking apart clumps, for 10 minutes or until pulpy. Strain, discarding the solids. Or you can substitute tamarind concentrate. Both are available from the Asian aisle in most supermarkets or from Asian grocers.


Photography, styling and food preparation by China Squirrel 


Jarrod Hudson is the head chef at Easy Tiger. This recipe is from The Chefs' Line - a brand new series airing weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Can the passion of a home cook beat the skills of a professional chef? Missed all the action? Catch-up online and get all the recipes #TheChefsLine.

This recipe has been edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the series.