In The Kitchen... King Prawn Pad Thai with Paulie Hooton

At Healthy Hospo NZ we’ve been trying to think of some ways to keep you healthy in your bubble (and outside, for those of you lucky enough to be in level 2!)

We teamed up with our buddies from Campari NZ and thought why not talk to some of our awesome Chefs around NZ and share some of their favourite recipes.

We will feature one chef a week, publish their favourite recipe, ask them a little about themselves and why they chose this particular recipe.


This week, we’d like to introduce you to Paulie Hooton who is a contract chef for Savor Group in Auckland.

Savor group's restaurants include Amano, Azabu and Ebisu.

What got you into cooking?

Paulie: "My grandma got me into cooking. When I was young we used to visit her in the King Country and during the school holidays or at Christmas she always had beautiful baking in the cupboard. She was always cooking up a storm when we there, she would talk to me when she was cooking, teach me how to line a baking tin, pluck a duck in duck season or stew some rhubarb from the garden. So from there, I started cooking with her, then my mum at home and from there it continued."

Why do you love being a chef?

"Food is about bringing people together and creating food memories, I had food memories from a child and have had many more through life. I love having the opportunity to cook and bring people together whether its entertaining at home with friends and family or cooking alongside a team of peers in a kitchen in a restaurant environment, discovering new flavours and creating food memories and dinning experiences for others."

Why did you choose this recipe?

"My recipe which is a personal favourite is a King Prawn Pad Thai, I love this dish because it is packed full of punchy flavours, I have had a lot of previous experience in seafood and this has always been a crowd pleaser with my mates and a fun and easy dish to prepare."

To follow Paulie on Instagram, check out @chefpauliehooton


King Prawn Pad Thai


500gm King prawns, heads on shell removed and deveined

300g wide rice stick noodles

1 tsp shrimp paste

3 tbsp prepared tamarind paste

3 tbsp fish sauce

3 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp vegetable oil

3 garlic cloves finely sliced or minced

1 small onion sliced

1-2 tsp chilli flakes

2 large free-range eggs, beaten

2 handfuls beansprouts

Bunch of spring onions sliced thin

Handful unsalted roasted peanuts roughly chopped

Bunch of fresh coriander leaves picked

1 tbsp Thai basil or fresh green basil

1 lime cut into wedges


  1. Place the rice noodles in a large bowl and pour over warm water to cover for 15-20mins, the noodles should change to white colour, drain well. Meanwhile, make the sweet-and-sour paste. Mix the tamarind paste with a splash of hot water to loosen. Add the fish sauce, shrimp paste and palm sugar; mix, taste and adjust to give a nice combination of salt, sweet, and sour.

  2. Heat the oil in a wok or a deep fry pan. When hot, add oil, the oil should glide over the pan, fry the garlic and onion for 30 seconds. Add prawns and chilli flakes and toss together. Allow the prawns to cook for 3-4 minutes before adding the drained noodles to the wok and stir-fry for a further couple of minutes, then push to one side. Add the eggs and allow to set, then scramble them and mix into the noodles.

  3. Add the sweet-and-sour paste and stir well. Add beansprouts, spring onions, basil and half the peanuts. Toss well and cook for a few minutes.

  4. Divide the pad Thai among 4 serving bowls, sprinkle with the coriander and remaining peanuts, and serve with the lime wedges, to squeeze over.


If you end up giving this recipe a go, we'd love to know!

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