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Melissa Hemsley's recipe for pad thai noodles is ideal for a quick and simple midweek dinner, using fresh, flavoursome vegetarian ingredients that are as nutritious as they are delicious.

From the book

Melissa Hemsley


One of the most popular takeaways, pad Thai is easy to make at home and is a great way to use up leftover veg. The sweet, tangy sauce will convince many a reluctant veg eater to eat lots without hesitation. You can use any cabbage here and swap the buckwheat noodles with noodles of your choice. Tamarind paste is stocked in a variety of places, especially Asian shops. Don’t skip the toasted peanuts and fresh herbs!

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330g buckwheat noodles
6 spring onions, sliced (green parts saved to garnish)
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large pepper
2 large courgettes
½ cabbage (about 350g)
1½ tbsp coconut oil
4 eggs
Sea salt and black pepper
For the pad thai sauce:
4 tbsp tamarind paste (or to taste)
4 tbsp fish sauce
3½ tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp tamari
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp chilli flakes (or to taste)
To serve:
1 handful peanuts or cashews
1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
1 handful fresh coriander or Thai basil leaves, roughly chopped
Chilli flakes

Essential kit

You will need: a spiraliser or julienne or standard vegetable peeler.


1. Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling water according to the packet instructions until al dente (about 5 minutes rather than the usual 6–8). Drain and then rinse in cold water before setting aside. Drizzle in a little olive oil to prevent them from sticking.

2. While the noodles are cooking, prepare the vegetables by either spiralizing them or peeling them into strips using a julienne or standard vegetable peeler.

3. Wipe the pot dry and place back on a medium heat, then add half the cocnut oil and, when it has melted, crack in the eggs. Roughly scramble to break the yolks and allow to set for 30 seconds, then season with salt and pepper and flip one half over, like an omelette. Use your spoon or spatula to break into chunks and then tip onto a plate and set aside.

4. Melt the remaining cocnut oil, add the spring onions and garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute, then turn up the heat, tip in the pepper and courgette strips and fry for 2 minutes. Stir in the cabbage and cook for a further 1 minute until the vegetables are tender but still with some bite.

5. Meanwhile, to make the Pad Thai sauce, whisk all of the sauce ingredients together. Add the sauce to the pan, turn up the heat and then add the noodles and toss everything together for a minute until well mixed (add a splash of water if it needs it) and turn off the heat.

6. Taste again for seasoning, adding a splash of tamari or salt if needed, then mix through the omelette chunks and serve up, letting everyone help themselves to nuts, lime wedges, spring onions, fresh herbs and chilli flakes.

Use It Up: Swap the courgettes for 2 large carrots and use any nuts or seeds you have. For a meaty version of this dish, try prawns, flaked fish or shredded cooked chicken.

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