Monday, March 23, 2009

Pad Thai

Pad Thai is one of my many favorite Asian food dishes. I really enjoy the combination of the sweet and sour sauce, the crunchy sprouts, chewy noodles and cilantro overtones.

I sometimes buy the Taste of Thai box mix at the store but we eat it in one sitting and I wish (for the price and for my love of the stuff) that we had leftovers. So, this weekend I made it from scratch and it wasn't too hard! We had plenty of leftovers to enjoy for lunches and now I have many of the ingredients to use again next time.

One way to cut down on the prep is to put aside some chicken from another recipe, cube it and just mix it in to the Pad Thai when you mix in the sprouts, egg and cilantro.

Sprouts are a great nutritional source of Vitamin A- but if you still feel the need for some veggies. Steam up some snow peas and red peppers with a little of your Pad Thai sauce.


8-10 oz. Thai rice noodles, linguini-width

1 to 1 1/2 cups raw chicken breast or thigh meat, cubed

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups fresh bean sprouts

3 green onions, sliced

1/3 cup crushed or roughly chopped peanuts (or other nuts, such as cashews)

1/4 cup chicken stock

1/4 tsp. black pepper

½ cup cilantro, leaves pulled from the stems

2 eggs, scrambled

Lime wedges or juice squeezed over meal to add some citrus taste


3/4 Tbsp. tamarind paste dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water (look for tamarind at Asian/Chinese or Indian food stores)

2 Tbsp. fish sauce (optional, I don’t like the fishy taste so I don’t use this and substitute soy sauce)

1-3 tsp. chili sauce (depending how spicy you want it) (I use a "sweet chili sauce" see above)

3 Tbsp. brown sugar (not packed)


1. Place noodles in a pot of water and place on the stove. Bring to near a boil, then remove from heat. Allow to sit while you prepare the other ingredients (about 10 minutes).

2. Combine the sauce ingredients together in a cup, stirring well to dissolve both the tamarind paste and the brown sugar.

3. Check the noodles. Noodles are ready when they are soft enough to be eaten, but are still firm and chewy. Drain and rinse through with cold water.

4. Warm up a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1-2 Tbsp. oil plus garlic. Add the chicken. Stir-fry 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add chicken stock 1-2 Tbsp. at a time until the chicken pieces are cooked (about 5-8 minutes).

5. Add the noodles, and pour sauce over it. Using two spatulas, wooden spoons, or other utensils, quickly stir-fry the noodles. Use a "lift and turn" method (like tossing a salad) instead of the usual stir-frying motion, or the noodles may break apart.

6. Fry the noodles in this way for 1-2 minutes. If you find your wok/frying pan too dry, push noodles aside and add a little more oil to the bottom (but no more broth, or the noodles will become soggy).

7. Add the bean sprouts, egg and black pepper. Continue "tossing" for 1 more minute, or until noodles are cooked. Noodles are done to perfection when they are no longer "hard" or translucent. They should be opaque and chewy-sticky wonderful!

8. Taste-test the noodles for seasoning, adding more fish sauce as needed (I usually end up adding up to 1 more Tbsp. fish sauce, as I like mine on the salty side). Toss well to incorporate.

To serve, lift the noodles onto a serving plate. Top with generous amounts of cilantro, green onion, and chopped nuts and lime juice/ wedges.

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