A faster, easier version of Pad Thai, this yummy recipe will leave you craving more. The key to perfect Pad Thai is in the cooking (or “not” cooking) of the noodles – learn how to get them chewy-perfect with this recipe. Included is a simple, but authentic pad thai sauce which is tangy and a little spicy. When it’s all put together, you’ll find there isn’t a noodle dish better than world-famous pad Thai!
For the Pad Thai Sauce :
- 3/4 tablespoon tamarind paste (dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water; look for tamarind at Asian/Chinese or Indian food stores)
- 3 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 1 to 3 teaspoons chili sauce (or 1/2 teaspoon or more dried crushed chili or cayenne, to taste)
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
For the Pad Thai :
- 8 ounces rice noodles (or enough for 2 people, linguini-width)
- 1 – 1 1/2 cups chicken breast (or thigh, chopped)
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil (more or less as needed for stir-frying)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- Optional : 1 – 2 fresh red chilies (minced)
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 3 cups bean sprouts
- 1/2 cup cilantro (fresh; chopped)
- 3 green onions (sliced)
- 1/3 cup peanuts (crushed or roughly chopped; or other nuts, such as cashews)
- Garnish: lime wedges
- Gather the ingredients.
- Make the sauce by combining sauce ingredients together in a cup. Stir well to dissolve tamarind and brown sugar. Taste-test for a tangy balance between sweet and sour. Add more sugar if too sour, or more tamarind if too sweet.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil and dunk in rice noodles. Stir to separate. Only cook until they are soft enough to be eaten, but just barely: still firm and a little “crunchy” (they will finish cooking later in the pan).
- Drain the noodles and rinse well with cold water to prevent sticking. Set aside.
- Place chicken slices in a small bowl. Stir together the cornstarch and soy sauce and pour over chicken. Stir well and set aside.
- Warm up a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil plus garlic and minced chili, if using. Stir-fry until fragrant (30 seconds).
- Add marinated chicken. When wok/pan becomes dry, add the chicken stock. Stir-fry 5 to 7 minutes, until chicken is cooked.
- Add noodles and pour Pad Thai Sauce over. Using two utensils, use a gentle “lift and turn” method to fry noodles (like tossing a salad). Stir-fry in this way 5 minutes, or until noodles are chewy ‘al dente’. If you find your pan too dry, add a little more oil.
- Add bean sprouts and continue frying 1 more minute, or until noodles are cooked. Noodles are done to perfection when they taste chewy and a little sticky. Taste-test for seasoning, adding more fish sauce until your desired flavor is reached (you can add up to 1 tablespoon fish sauce).
- Top with generous sprinklings of fresh cilantro, green onion, and crushed/chopped nuts. Add fresh lime wedges to be squeezed over before eating, and if desired, serve with Nam Prik Pao Chili Sauce (homemade recipe) on the side.
- For even more flavor, make a double batch of the pad Thai sauce. Then, as you’re stir-frying the noodles, add more sauce until you’re happy with the taste (you can also add extra fish sauce).
- Any leftover sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.