Asian Food Pho Xao is a Vietnamese noodle soup dish. Pad Thai is a spicy stir fry from Thailand. Both dishes are delicious, but they also differ in their ingredients and preparation methods. What makes them different?
Pho Xao (pronounced Fuh shoh) is a classic Vietnamese noodle soup. The broth contains beef or chicken stock, rice noodles, bean sprouts, basil leaves, lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and star anise.
Pad Thai (paht dahn tee), on the other hand, is a spicy Thai curry dish. Its main ingredient is rice noodles, which are often served cold. Other common ingredients include egg, tofu, peanuts, chilli paste, garlic, shallots, cilantro, mint, and coconut milk.
Both Asian food dishes are very similar, but each has its unique flavour profile. They both contain rice noodles, but the differences lie in the spices and herbs used. Pho Xao uses basil, lime, and star anise, whereas Pad Thai uses red chillies, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and ginger. Also, Pad Thai can be made with shrimp or pork meat while Pho Xao is strictly vegetarian.
So what’s the difference between these two popular dishes?
1. Ingredients Used
Ingredients like fresh rice noodles, basil, lemon grass, chillies, soy sauce, turmeric powder, fish sauce, and palm sugar are used to prepare Pho Xao. On the other hand, Pad Thai uses cooked rice noodles, green beans, carrots, spring onions, eggs, sesame oil, tamarind, dried prawns, and shrimp paste. However, since they have the same ingredients, it really depends on the chef’s choice of ingredients for making either one of these dishes.
2. Preparation Method
Pho Xao is prepared using a slow cooker. You need to soak rice noodles in water overnight before you start cooking. In the morning, take out the soaked rice noodles and boil them until soft. Then, add some vegetables and seasonings like basil leaves, lime juice and fish sauce. Cook this mixture for about 10 minutes. At this stage, you should use your slow cooker to cook the soup. Just place all the ingredients inside the pot and let the slow cooker do the rest of the job. When done, remove the lid and serve hot.
As for Pad Thai, you can make it by frying the rice noodles after boiling them first. If you want to avoid frying, then you can simply steam the noodles instead. After steaming, pour in a bowl of ice-cold water and leave it for 5 minutes. This will help keep the noodles intact. Now, mix the fried rice noodles with chopped tomatoes, spring onion, and chopped vegetables like cabbage and carrot. Add salt and ground black pepper. Mix well before adding the seasoning that you wish to put into the dish. Lastly, add shredded massaman curry paste or kecap manis sauce. Stirring is important at this step as you don’t want the noodles to stick together. To serve, spoon over a generous amount of sweetened condensed milk. Eat immediately!
3. Serving Size
As mentioned earlier, both Pho Xao and pad Thai Asian food are delicious dishes. But depending on the taste and preference of everyone, people usually prefer eating more of certain foods than others. So, serving sizes vary from person to person. A serving of Pho Xao could be half a cup per person. Whereas, a serving of Pad Thai can be 2.5 cups per person.
To know how much to eat, you should pay attention to the size of your stomach. It is true if you feel full, you probably won’t have room for anything else at the same time. The best way to judge the right serving size is by looking at the portion of the food you normally eat. For example, if you eat 3 bowls of instant noodles every day, one serving of instant noodles would be enough to fill up your stomach.
4. Health Benefits
In case you were wondering why we love Vietnamese cuisine so much, here are some health benefits of pho xao and pad Thai:
a) Anti-oxidant rich
Both these Asian food dishes contain lots of antioxidants. These anti-oxidants come from herbs like basil, lemongrass, ginger, mint, cilantro, and garlic which are used to flavour the food. They also contain vitamins C and E, selenium, zinc, copper, magnesium, potassium and calcium. All these nutrients are good for our bodies. They prevent the cells from getting damaged and hence keep us healthy.
Apart from having antioxidants, these dishes are also packed with nutrition. Rice noodles are made of carbohydrates, proteins, B-complex vitamins, iron, fibre and other minerals. Moreover, they contain a lot of sodium. Hence, if you are trying to cut down on your daily intake of salty foods, you may try making these dishes. You can always substitute salt with soy sauce or tamarind when preparing these dishes.
While these two Asian food dishes are not low fat, they aren’t extremely high either. Both contain little fats but still provide essential nutrients to our bodies. So, if you are on a diet, these dishes are a great choice.
d) Low Glycemic Index
The Glycemic index is a measure of how quickly food breaks down in the body. Foods that have a lower glycemic index rate slowly through the bloodstream instead of rapidly. This helps control post-meal sugar levels in the body. Therefore, you won’t end up feeling bloated soon after consuming your favourite food.
e) Heart Healthy
These two dishes are also known to reduce cholesterol levels in the body. By reducing cholesterol, you eliminate unhealthy buildup in the arteries. Also, these dishes are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. These are very beneficial since they promote heart health.
f) Easy To Cook
If you want to save time while cooking these meals, you don’t need to spend hours in the kitchen. In fact, there are many easy ways to cook these dishes fast. First, boil fresh water and then add the noodles. Next, chop vegetables like carrots, broccoli and cabbage. Finally, mix all ingredients together in separate bowls. That’s it!
Lastly, let’s talk about the taste of these two dishes. There is no denying that these dishes are incredibly tasty. However, if you are trying them out for the first time, you might find them too spicy. If this happens, just remove the seeds and stems before adding them to the stir-fry. As far as the taste goes, you will definitely enjoy both these dishes.
Do the rice noodles make any difference?
Rice noodles are usually served with a variety of dipping sauces. Some people even eat them plain without any sauce at all. However, if you prefer eating them with a dip, you should choose one that has less oil. Otherwise, you will be left with an oily mess on your plate. On the other hand, you can use more than one type of dipping sauce. For instance, you could combine sweet chilli sauce with fish sauce. Or, you could add ketchup to the mixture.
What are the benefits of Pho Xao and Pad Thai?
Pho Xao and Pad Thais are some of the most popular Asian food dishes. They are also among the easiest dishes to prepare. Not only that, but they are also healthy. They are rich in protein, calcium, and vitamins A and C. Moreover, they are low in calories. This means that you can easily consume them whenever you feel hungry. Apart from being delicious, these dishes are also versatile. You can serve them as appetizers, main courses or side dishes.
What do I need to know about Pho Xao and PadThai?
You must know that these Asian food dishes are often prepared using pork broth. When you buy the meat, ensure that it is organic. And, you should avoid buying those that come from factory farms. Also, when you buy beef, select lean cuts such as tenderloin or sirloin steak. In addition, you should look for a product that comes from animals raised in natural conditions. This ensures that the animal eats nutritious food and gets plenty of exercises.
How to make Pad Thai?
- 100g O-Cha Rice Stick Noodles or Rose Rice Stick Noodles
- 100g bean sprouts
- 3 tablespoon oil
- 2 eggs
- 100g Maesri Pad Thai Sauce
- 100g prawn or 100g hard tofu
- 30g Chinese garlic chive
- 10g roasted peanut
- 1/4 cup Cock Preserved Radish
- Soak 100g dried rice stick noodles in cold water for at least 1 hour. Drain and set aside
- Heat oil in a saucepan, add 100g shrimp or tofu and stir fry
- Add noodles with Maesri Pad Thai Sauce and stir until noodles have absorbed the sauce
- Push noodles to one side of the pan and add 2 beaten eggs
- Put noodles on top of eggs. Let eggs set then mix through noodles
- Add the beansprouts, garlic chives, radish and peanuts. Turn off the heat and toss to mix.
How to make Pho Xao?
- For the Stir Fry
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 250 g free-range, grass-fed sirloin or rump or rump tip sliced into 1cm thick strips
- 100 g sugar snap peas, sliced lengthways (or mange tout, courgette slices)
- 50g celery leaves and tips
- 70g Jerusalem artichoke, peeled, thinly sliced (optional)
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 ladles of pho stock, white wine, beef stock or water
- 2 pinch of black pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- 400 g fresh rice noodles, separated or rehydrated dry noodles
- 80 g beansprouts
- Thai basil garnish (optional)
- Coriander garnish (optional)
- Marinade the beef with 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce and one tbsp each of rice wine vinegar, sherry wine, sake, mirin, sugar, and soy sauce; mix well. Prepare the vegetables.
- Heat a dash of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the steak and cook for one minute before adding the Jerusalem artichokes, sugar snap peas and Celery leaves. Cook for another two minutes. Add one tablespoon of oyster sauce, one tablespoon of soy sauce, and a pinch of leftover pho broth for a few minutes or until the steak tastes how you like it. Season with black pepper and transfer the contents of the pan to a serving dish.
- Heat another dash of oil in a separate pan, then stir-frying the onions for a minute. Then add the noodles and the remaining ingredients. Stir fry for about two minutes. Then add the bean sprouts and a dash more leftovers from the broth. Stir-fry for a further minute. Transfer onto serving plates with the beef and vegetables. Serve immediately with Thai basil or coriander garnish.
If you are using tofu, slice into 1.5cm x 3cm cubes, gently fry in a shallow oil with a pinch of salt until golden on each side then marinade as above.