How to Cook Amazing (and Authentic) Pad Thai

List: Posted: 11/02/11

Pad Thai is "the" Asian dish of the moment and can be found on the menu of gourmet Asian restaurants everywhere.  Both healthy and delicious, Pad Thai is made of stir-fried rice noodles with eggs, fish sauce and bean sprouts, and garnished with crushed peanuts, green chiles and lime.  It can be prepared with chicken, shrimp or made vegetarian with tofu.  Pad Thai is a national dish of of Thailand and variations of it are served throughout many Asian countries.

 

Although there are a lot of ingredients, Pad Thai is pretty easy to make.  Just be sure to have all of your ingredients ready and prepared (chopped/ minced/ peeled), because once the wok is hot (or large skillet), the cooking process needs to go pretty quickly.

 

This recipe is for chicken Pad Thai.  To make a vegetarian version, omit the chicken and fish sauce (you can substitute this with soy sauce), and add 8 ounces of cubed tofu, if desired.

 

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces dried flat rice noodles, 1/4 inch thick

  • 5 tablespoons peanut oil

  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 4 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed

  • 2 scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths

  • 1 cup bean sprouts

  • 2 tablespoons nam pla (Thai fish sauce)

  • 2 teaspoons tamarind paste

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

  • 2 small fresh green chiles, preferably Thai, seeded and sliced

  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Directions:

 

First, submerge the rice noodles into a bowl of boiling water and cover with a lid to soak.  Noodles will be cooked in about 15 minutes.  Once cooked, drain the hot water, replace the bowl with cold water, and set noodles aside.

 

Next, put 2 tablespoons of peanut oil into a wok or large skillet and heat over medium-high heat.  Once hot, add the eggs and scramble with a whisk or fork.  Scramble the eggs as quickly as possible; they should be very thin with very little curd.  Once cooked, remove eggs from pan and set aside.

 

Add the remaining peanut oil to the pan.  Add the garlic and chicken, stirring frequently until the chicken is fully cooked.  Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside on a plate.

 

Next, add the scallions, half of the bean sprouts and turn the heat to high.  Saute for about 3 minutes, then transfer these ingredients to the plate of chicken.

 

Place the drained noodles, eggs, nam pla, tamarind and sugar in the pan and cook until heated, about 3 minutes.  Next, add the chicken, scallions and bean sprouts and toss to combine and heat, about 2 minutes more.

 

Serve immediately with the peanuts, cilantro, chiles and remaining bean sprouts as garnishes on top.  Place the lime wedges to the side of the serving plates.


Serving Suggestion:

 

Pad Thai is best eaten the night it is made, as the delicate rice noodles can become mushy if refrigerated and then re-heated.  However, Pad Thai can be eaten chilled as a rice noodle salad.  To do this, combine 1 head of shredded Asian green cabbage, 1 cup rice vinegar and 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, toss in a large bowl, and serve with the Pad Thai on top.  

 

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