Keen to post some more Thai recipes on the blog, I decided to review the Thai Taste Easy Pad Thai Kit. It’s the signature dish of Thailand, renowned across the world, but I wanted to see what kind of results I could get from a quick and easy pack from the store.
If you want a Thai meal but you don’t really know much about the cuisine, and you’re in a hurry, this could be a perfect fit.
Quick note on authenticity score. This is literally the first time I’ve tried pad Thai, so I have no way of assessing whether it tastes anything like the real deal. I’ve gone straight down the middle – but I’ll keep it under review, and maybe adjust it once I’ve had the chance to try a few more.
It’s not fair to mislead you with a glowing 5-star. And it’s not fair to pan the makers either. But needless to say, I won’t be as strict as Chef Chang from the (sadly now closed) Blue Elephant Restaurant in London. I think Gordon got Ramsayed!
Ins and Outs of the Thai Taste Easy Pad Thai Kit
Okay let’s jump right in. What do you get for your money when you shell out for one of these kits? And what’s not in it?
The answers couldn’t be clearer. That’s another plus point for Thai Taste. Practically the first thing you will read on the back of the packet is a list of the other ingredients you’re going to need. And it’s a short list.
You just need to supply the fresh ingredients – in this case 200g of raw prawns, or chicken or chopped vegetables. And an egg, plus a little cooking oil.
I was pleased to see this was blatantly displayed on the pack, so I knew right away in the store that I was going to need some more ingredients. Being me, I also added a bunch of other extras and I’ll go into those below.
So that’s what isn’t in the packet. You might be wondering what is provided. Well, wonder no more! You get three sealed sachets.
One contains the dried rice noodles, another the pad Thai sauce already pre-made. The final small vacuum sealed sachet contains a mixture of crushed peanuts with some shallots and carrots.
*** Nut Allergy Warning ***
Here’s the warning before you scurry off to the shop to try this out.
Contains nuts and may contain sesame seeds.
Also be aware of other potential allergens such as soybean and wheat (gluten).
Happily, this information is also prominently labelled on the back of the packet. I guess if you have allergies, you’ll be checking on these possibilities without my prompting.
Full Ingredients List
Here’s the complete list, including the sachets in the Easy Pad Thai Kit plus my own additions.
- Sachet of Dried Rice Noodles
- 2 chicken breasts, diced
- 1 egg, beaten
- small handful of fresh beansprouts
- green parts of 2 scallions, cut into 2 inch lengths and sliced into thin “sticks”
- 1 tsp dried chili flakes (optional)
- Sachet of Pad Thai Sauce
- Sachet of Peanuts, Shallots and Carrots
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
I have seen plenty of pad Thai recipes with the ingredients I’ve added here. Many use chili and I fancied a bit of heat to mix with the salty, sweet and sour flavours. You can omit the chili flakes if you prefer though.
Cooking the Pad Thai – Get Ready for Speed
This recipe is action all the way. Once again, all the instructions are laid out in no-nonsense style on the back of pack. Just five easy steps.
I have added my extra ingredients after adding the beaten egg.
1. Kettle on. Add hot water to a saucepan, followed by a dash of oil. Get it back up to a rolling simmer and add the rice noodles. Cook for 8 minutes.
While the noodles are cooking, beat the egg in a small bowl. Then wash and chop the scallions (spring onions) and coriander. Dice the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.
Then drain the noodles and rinse under cold water, tossing to separate. (I don’t know why I’m telling you – the packet says all this!)
2. Get your wok hot and add 2 tbsp cooking oil. Add the chicken pieces and stir fry until sealed (about 3-5 minutes). If any water (or whatever) comes out of the chicken while cooking, carefully drain that off and return the chicken to the hot wok.
3. Push the chicken to the side of the wok and add the beaten egg and let it begin to set. Then break it up and combine with the chicken pieces.
Next add the beansprouts and most of the sliced scallions (keep about a quarter of them in reserve). Stir fry for a couple of minutes until the vegetables have begun to wilt slightly.
4. Lower the heat, add the chili flakes (if you decide to use them) followed by the cooked noodles. Then add the sachet of Pad Thai Sauce. Stir fry all the ingredients for 2-3 minutes to heat everything through and coat in the sauce and chili.
Finishing the Pad Thai Recipe
5. Finish of the pad Thai recipe by adding the sachet of peanuts, shallots and carrots. Follow up by adding the reserved scallions, and stir everything in.
Serve immediately, with a nice squeeze of fresh lime juice and garnished with chopped fresh cilantro (coriander leaves).
Ease of Cooking and Time Required
I think you will find the Easy Pad Thai Kit does exactly what it says on the packet. (Yes, I cringed a little when I wrote that breathtakingly wilted cliche. I use them so you don’t have to.)
The instructions are plain and simple. I suggest you get organized before starting. That way, you can get the noodles in the pot and bubbling away while you prepare everything else. There was plenty of time to chop the chicken and beat an egg, as well as prepping the other add-ons not suggested on the pack.
If you use large prawns instead of chicken, again there should be time to shell and devein them.
But I found the cooking part was quick and hassle-free. It even says it on the front of the pack – ready in just 15 minutes. If you’re busy at work all day and just want to eat and relax when you get home, this kit is a pretty good way of achieving that.
Not so great if you love cooking from scratch and want to know everything you put into your recipes. It’s worth noting this kit boasts no artificial colourings, flavourings or preservatives though.
So not a lot to worry about. And you can always push the boat out at the weekend to show your culinary prowess.
What About the Taste?
I’ll confess to being a little concerned once I got this one home. In the past on this blog, I have mentioned my aversion to vinegary things. I even used lime juice for the sour note in my vindaloo recipe.
One of the things about an authentic pad Thai – as you’ll have learned if you watched the quick video above – is the balance of sweet, sour and salty flavours. I figured the sour came from the tamarind paste, which is a normal ingredient in pad Thai. But yep, there’s also vinegar.
However I’m training myself out of my aversion. And I imagine for most of you, a little vinegar isn’t a problem at all. If you’re a bit like me, though (and I do know a few others who can’t eat anything containing it), don’t worry. Just remember to add the chili flakes.
I found that the hot spicy taste helps to balance out the other three flavours. And I’ll be honest – pad Thai is not so sour with vinegar that it’s like eating pickles. Thai Taste got the balance just right with the pre-made pad Thai sauce. Worth mentioning though.
And that being said, this recipe is delicious. It’s normal for rice noodles to have a little extra bite to them. They’re not crunchy (if they are, you didn’t cook them for long enough!) But don’t expect them to be as soft as Chinese egg noodles.
The balance of flavours and textures is great, at least for an admitted “first-timer” to pad Thai. There’s softness of the chicken and noodles, combined with a little crunch from the peanuts (and in my modified case, also the beansprouts).
Then the tastes combine really well, and the addition of chili flakes leaves that wonderful lip tingle after the main trio of sweet and sour saltiness.
The cilantro and spring onions add a nice colour contrast too. I think it’s important that a dish looks good to eat. Pleased with this kit. Very pleased, especially as it wasn’t a two-hour labour of love creating it.
Where Can I Buy The Pad Thai Kit and How Much?
Down to brass tacks. Where can you get your hands on the Thai Taste Easy Pad Thai Kit for yourself? I bought mine from my local supermarket – Tesco in my case. Helpfully Thai Taste have a web page listing the UK stores that stock their range of Thai products (http://www.thaitaste.co.uk/wheretobuy.html).
Being a food item, availability in countries outside the UK will be based on those various countries’ regulations and deals done with distributors by Thai Taste. Their website says these packs are available in the USA from Whole Foods Market.
For other countries, they suggest contacting them for information: http://www.thaitaste.co.uk/about-us.html#faq
The pack is affordably priced (Tesco £2.29) but do remember you need to buy the protein (chicken or prawns) and an egg separately.
Also, it does feed two people. I was unsure when I read the label. But it does, as the noodles expand when cooked and you add other ingredients not included in the kit. I served mine (above) in a 5.5 inch square bowl and filled two of them. So you can gauge quantity from that. You won’t feed two giant rugby players, but for me? Plenty good enough.
You can also buy online, which is a pretty good option if you like the kits and want to get some stocks in for quick evening meals. I’ve linked to the Six Pack as they are sealed and can be stored for a fairly long time (Best Before date on mine was Feb 2018).
I like the Easy Pad Thai Kit that Thai Taste has produced here. It’s really easy to make. And it’s insanely quick if you can’t be bothered to cook from scratch.
If you’re thinking, “No! No! No!” and do really want to make your own pad Thai, try this one out. (And I’m going to do this myself at some point in the near future):
The taste of the kit version is nice and balanced, and I do like the addition of a touch of chili (not mentioned on the pack) to lift everything up to another level.
It’s impossible to guess at authenticity for me. I encourage you to leave your own comments below if you try this out and have lots of experience with the “real thing”. Namely, restaurant pad Thai or even genuine street food over in Thailand (lucky you!)
Let me know how the kit compares.