home cooked dinners by the season

Pad Thai

Pad Thai

This recipe is a little more involved than my last several posts. But believe me, it’s worth it. Make it on the weekend when you have plenty of time, the first time you try it, rather than a weeknight when you’re in a hurry to eat. Or plan ahead and prep some of the ingredients the night before. Start to finish you’ll be in this an hour for preparation. It’s the chopping that takes the time because the actual cooking takes tops – 10 minutes.

Use a wok if you have one because the larger surface area will make the cooking go faster and the high sides will help keep all the ingredients in the pan. A large sauté pan is a good substitute. If you are a purist and for the most fresh flavor, roast the whole dried red chiles and the peanuts yourself. But to save time, the dried red chile flakes and pre-roasted peanuts will do. And if that’s the deal breaker – the difference between making it and not, then I say go for it.

Once you’ve made Pad Thai at home, you’ll find it hard to ever be as satisfied when ordering it in  a restaurant. The freshness of the ingredients and incredible flavor will be difficult to beat.

Pad Thai
 
Serves: 4-5
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces dried rice noodles (1/8-1/4-inch wide)
  • Pad Thai Sauce (see note)
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced or ground chicken breast (thinly sliced pork tenderloin or Bay shrimp can be substituted)
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup chopped green onions
  • 12 ounces bean sprouts
  • ¾ cup chopped roasted unsalted peanuts (see note)
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon red chile flakes (see note)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 6 lime wedges
Instructions
  1. Put rice noodles in a medium size bowl; cover with warm water and soak until softened about 20 minutes do not over soak (noodles should be soft but still have some texture); drain well.
  2. Make Pad Thai Sauce (see below).
  3. Cook and stir garlic in the oil in a wok or large saute pan over medium heat just until slightly softened, about 30 seconds; add chicken and cook and stir until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add drained noodles and stir.
  4. Evenly pour and stir Pad Thai Sauce into noodles; bring sauce to a simmer.
  5. Move noodles to one side of the wok; crack one egg into the pan and break the yolk; cover egg with the noodles; repeat with the other egg on the other side of the wok. Cook eggs until the yolk and white are set, about 3 minutes. Gently fold eggs through noodles by lifting them with tongs. Do not over fold. Remove pan from heat.
  6. Add green onions, bean sprouts, peanuts, chiles and cilantro to noodles; gently lift noodles with tongs to evenly distribute ingredients.
  7. Transfer Pad Thai to a serving platter; garnish with lime wedges.
Notes
Pad Thai Sauce: Whisk together ⅓ cup white vinegar, ¼ cup sugar, ¼ cup soy sauce (light soy sauce can be substituted), 3 Tablespoons fish sauce, 1 teaspoon paprika and 1 teaspoon grated lime peel.

To roast peanuts, put raw peanuts on a baking sheet; roast in 350 degrees F. oven until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes; remove from heat and allow cooling.

Substituting ground red chile peppers for the Chile flakes gives a fuller, more authentic flavor. To prepare, put 6 small, dried red chile peppers on a baking sheet; roast in 350 degrees F. oven just until slightly darkened, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven; allow cooling. Break each chile pepper in half and discard seeds; grind into a fine powder.

 


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