Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Pad Thai

Pad Thai has always been one of my favorite selections at Thai restaurants. I based the recipe I used on one I got from I also got a lot of guidance from the Pad Thai entry at Chez Pim. I was happy with the result, and all the people I served it to also seemed to enjoy it.

Most Pad Thai recipes call for Wok, and if you have one you should use it for this. If you don’t that doesn’t mean you can’t make it though. I don’t have a wok, so I just used my big soup pot in its place. I wouldn’t recommend using a regular pan though, the speed with which you’ll need to be moving things in the pan will probably cause you to fling about half your meal onto the stove.

When making this I also followed the advice of Chez Pim and made it one serving at a time rather than trying to make all of it at once. I think this worked out well, it just takes a little prep in advance. Also, while this seems silly, read all the instructions in advance, not as you go. It’s a lot easier if you know what to expect

Pad Thai

Serves 2

8 oz. Rice Stick noodles, medium thickness
1 ½ cups cut up chicken
2 Tbs Soy Sauce
2 tsp corn starch
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
4 cloves minced garlic
2 Tbs minced and pounded lemon grass
4 Green onions, green and white parts, cut up into pieces 2-3 inches long
Peanut oil for stir frying

For Sauce:

3 Tbs tamarind concentrate mixed with ¼ cup hot water
2 Tbs fish sauce
1-3 tsp chili sauce, depending on how you like it
3 Tbs brown sugar


Coarsly chopped lightly salted roasted peanuts
Lime wedges

1. Mix the corn starch and the soy sauce, and place it in a bowl with the chicken to marinate. Set aside.

2. Put the noodles in a pot of warm water and let sit. You want the noodles to come to a consistency where they are chewy, but still pretty toothsome. The majority of the cooking of the noodles will be in the stir frying, if you over soak them now they will fall apart when you stir fry. This should take 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Make the sauce by whisking together the diluted tamarind paste, fish sauce, chili sauce, and sugar. I thought that when I tasted the sauce by itself, it was rather disgusting, but when mixed with the rest of the dish it tasted really good.

4. Prep is key when making the Pad thai, especially if you’re making multiple servings. I put each ingredient in a little ramekin or bowl next to where I was cooking, so I would be able to grab things quickly as it was time to add them to the pot. For the chicken I used a big spoon, so that I wouldn’t have to get raw chicken on my hands and then reach into the other ingredients. For the cooking, I’m going to describe how to make one serving at a time

5. Heat the oil in the wok / pot over high heat. When it gets hot, add half the chicken, and stir fry. After 30 seconds or so add a small amount of the sauce. When the chicken is just starting to look cooked on the outside, add some garlic. Continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through 5-8 minutes.

6. Once the chicken is cooked through, add about 2 cups of noodles to the pot, along with 1 cup of bean sprouts (I just did all of this in estimated handfuls) and half the lemon grass. Add about between 1/4 and 1/3 a cup of sauce to the mix. To stir fry the noodles you want to use a sort of lift and turn method. A lot of recipes suggest using two spatulas for this, but I found one worked just fine. The reason for this is because you don’t want to break up the noodles.

7. Stir fry the noodles until they are sticky and translucent, then quickly remove from heat and add some green onions. Dump the Pad Thai out onto a plate, and garnish with some crushed nuts, cilantro, and a wedge of lime.

8. Add more oil to your pot/wok and start again on the next serving.

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