Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pad Thai

For dinner on Friday I made Pad Thai, one of Mark's favorite dishes.  The key to making Pad Thai is the sauce.  In the past, I would either have my mom's friend make the sauce for me or I'd have to buy it from a Thai grocery store.  The other ingredients are relatively easy to find, but having a limited amount of sauce meant that I didn't make this dish that often.  Until recently that is.  I found a Shrimp Pad Thai recipe in an issue of Cooking Light.  They had a recipe for the sauce so I decided to give it a try.  It turned out really good!  This is the 2nd time I've made Pad Thai with this sauce and it was delicious both times.

The pad thai recipe is my own, but the sauce comes from Cooking Light.  Also, this recipe is for Chicken Pad Thai, but you could also use Shrimp, which I've done several times.  If you use shrimp though, I would recommend that you saute the shrimp separately, then add it to the dish when you add the sauce and mix everything together.  In the past, I've found that putting the raw shrimp in the dish early on makes the whole thing kind of "shrimpy" or "fishy" tasting.  Traditional pad thai has tofu on it, which I often include because I like tofu.  But of course, if tofu is not "your cup of tea", it is optional and won't change the nature of the dish.  Also, I usually put bean sprouts in it, but they didn't look fresh at the grocery store today so I opted not to use them.  I'm going to put it in the recipe though, since I usually include it.

An important ingredient to the pad thai sauce is fish sauce.  This sauce is used in a lot of Asian dishes, not just Thai ones.  I haven't been able to find it in American grocery stores around here...not sure about in Houston.  But you can definitely find it in any Asian grocery store.
Sriracha Sauce, Fish Sauce, and Rice Noodles
Last tip before we get to the recipe:  this is a "chop and drop" type of recipe.  Things cook pretty quickly once you get started, so I would prep everything before hand so you can just drop everything in as you need it.

Chicken Pad Thai
3 tbsp Olive Oil
4 cloves garlic, coursely chopped
4 medium sized eggs
4 chicken tenderloins, cut into bite-sized pieces
3/4 of a container of extra firm tofu, cubed
1 bag (13-15 oz) uncooked flat rice noodles
4 stalks of green onions
1/2 cup peanuts, coarsely chopped
2 cups bean sprouts
All the ingredients, ignore the coffee maker and toaster oven in the background

Pad Thai Sauce Ingredients:
3 tbsp dark brown sugar
3  tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
3  tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp Sriracha sauce

1. Soak the rice noodles in warm water until they are soft. I never cook them first, even if the package directions say to.  I just soak them until they are soft, then add them to what I am cooking.  Once soft, drain the water and then use kitchen scissors to cut noodles in half--makes it easier to eat them.

2. Mix together all the ingredients for the Pad Thai Sauce and set aside.

3. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat.  Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add garlic to the pan and fry until lightly brown.  Add eggs to pan, scramble them, and cook it until the scrambled eggs start to brown (you want it to be decently browned).  Add chicken and tofu to the pan.  Stir occasionally until chicken is cooked through.

Garlic, Egg, Chicken, Tofu--eggs have browned
4. Add the sauce and mix with all the ingredients in the pan.  (There's going to be excess liquid in the pan from the sauce, but the noodles will soak that up).

5. Add the noodles to the pan and stir everything together so that the noodles absorb the sauce and all ingredients mix together.

6. Lastly, add the green onions, nuts, and bean sprouts and mix everything together for about 1 minute.

7. Remove from heat and serve. 

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