Thursday, May 19, 2011

(Not So Traditional) Pad Thai


Pad Thai is one of those things that is so varied that it's almost impossible to claim what is "traditional" and what is not. It is widely said that there is "a different Pad Thai for every cook in Thailand", so I'm not too bent out of shape straying from tradition on this one. 

Not only does this Pad Thai taste really good,but you can get every ingredient at the supermarket. This is not the case with "traditional" Pad Thai, lest you have a Asian market down the street. I just wanted to share an approachable recipe without making you hunt for tamarind paste and palm sugar. I've even read that it's "traditional" to use ketchup, so take this recipe as you will. 

Pad Thai


Noodles:
4 to 6 oz of rice noodles (rick sticks), cooked and drained per package instructions. 

I use 2/3s of a 6.75 oz package of rice noodles. I used to use the whole thing, and you wouldn't think it, but it's a huge amount of food. Obviously you can adjust for serving size, but this feeds 2.5 healthy eaters pretty well

You're also going to want to cut these AT LEAST in half, if not much more after cooking. They are next to impossible to manage while cooking (let alone have kids eat it) without a bit of snip snip. Trust me on this. 


Sauce:
6 Tbs Fish Sauce (1/3 Cup + 1 Tbs)
3 Tbs Ketchup
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbs Sugar
1 Tbs Chili-Garlic Sauce (Sambal Oelek or Lee Kum Kee. I prefer the Lee Kum Kee. Look for these in the Asian section. One or the other should be there.)
1 Tbs Rice Wine Vinegar
1 tsp Lime Juice
1 tsp Peanut Butter (Chunky or smooth, just beware of your children's ability to eat peanuts)

Mix well to combine

Sauce

Stir-Fry:
10 oz diced chicken breast (I usually cook the chicken ahead of time, but you can easily do this raw. Anywhere between 10-16 oz will be fine)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups bean sprouts
6 garlic cloves, minced
5 green onions, chopped
3 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks (About a cup)
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 limes, sliced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts, divided

Prep is pretty quick on this one. I'll just show the pics:

Chicken
Eggs

Bean Sprouts


Garlic
Green Onions
Carrots
Sliced Onions
Cilantro
Limes
Peanuts


(If you have a Slap Chop, it works really well for nuts) 

TIME TO COOK

When you are ready for service, get everything together. I've said it before, proper mis en place is essential for doing any stir-fry. Ensure you have everything ready to go because there's not a ton of time for stopping once you begin. I like to arrange it in order because I'm anal like that.


Put a tablespoon or so of oil into your pan. Make sure you have a "wok sized pan" because this gets big in a hurry. Nothing worse than trying to stir an overflowing pan.

Ok, Let's do this. If you are starting with raw chicken, cook it now. Remove the chicken when it's done, we'll add it in at the end.

Cook Carrots, Sliced Onions and Garlic for about a minute. DO NOT let the garlic burn. If you think it's about to go over on you, add the sauce.


Add Sauce. Cook for 3 minutes. 


Add Eggs. Stir until they eggs are cooked. You can't really tell, but you'll get the feel for them being done. 2-3 minutes, tops. 


Add Chicken. Cook for 1-2 minutes. 


Add Noodles. Ok. This is going to be a pain, and if you didn't cut up your noodles, this is going to be a HUGE pain in the butt. Keep turning the noodles over and over until you get uniform coverage. It will take a little while. Just keep at it. (If you cannot manage, carefully cut the noodles with a pair of scissors right there in the pan, just be fast about it or take the pan off the heat)


Add Green Onions, Sprouts, HALF of the Peanuts (again, omit if your kids can't handle them) and HALF of the Cilantro. Also a huge pain to turn this all over. Hope you have a pan big enough to handle it. 


Done!


Serve with leftover Cilantro and Peanuts and a squeeze of lime. Add some Sriracha for an added kick of goodness.


Enjoy!

2 comments:

  1. John and I made this! We used the whole 6. whatever oz package of noodles. It didn't look like yours, and I don't know what we did wrong... we also used tofu instead of chicken. Our noodles didn't have the nice color yours did! Maybe not enough sauce, or we didn't have enough oil in the pan from cooking the tofu? It was still good, even if it wasn't very saucy.

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  2. i'm sure it was the amount of sauce. like i said, using just that much more noodles makes a oddly large difference. you can double (or just mathematically increase) the sauce and accommodate the extra noodles.

    as far as the tofu, that shouldn't make a difference. it'll soak up some of the sauce, but not enough for it to matter.

    anyway, so happy you guys tried it!

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