Pad Thai Noodles
Pad Thai Noodles are a delicious, tangy, sweet and spicy dish that has become incredibly popular in the United States. It’s made with stir-fried rice noodles, tamarind, fish sauce, egg, red chili and typically topped off with crushed peanuts. There are an endless number of variations you can make on this dish, including chicken, shrimp, tofu, or my favorite, all of the above. It’s a very complex and nutritious meal that will please just about anybody who tastes it.
It became very popular in Thailand during the 1930’s when the government encouraged people to make their rice usage by making noodles out of it. This was done because of the huge profits they were making from the exporting of rice and the economy needed the boost. Today, Pad Thai is still called a national dish in Thailand and you’ll find it being served in the finest restaurants as well as street vendors on every corner.
There are a number of ways you can make Pad Thai noodles, but my favorite is a drier style with firmer noodles. It’s taken me a few years to get this down exactly right, but I’ll share with you my secret for the perfect Pad Thai Noodles. The recipe I use is made from scratch and it will most likely require a visit to you local Asian market, but it certainly worth the extra effort. If you’re looking for a quick fix and don’t mind something less than perfect, there are jars of pad thai sauce you can buy at the store, saving you a lot of time. But, we’re not going to do that, so let’s get cooking!
|Pad Thai Noodles|| |
- 13 oz Ban Pho - Rice noodles (thin variety)
- 6 tsp Fish Sauce
- 8 tbsp Tamarind Juice
- 6 tbsp Palm or Coconut Sugar
- 8 tbsp Peanut Oil
- ¾ lb. fresh Shrimp, shelled, deveined and butterflied
- 1 package firm Tofu (Cut into thin strips ~1 in. long and ½ in. wide)
- 10 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
- 6 Shallots (you can substitute ½ a medium red onion)
- ½ cup Shrimp (small dried)
- ½ cup Sweetened Salted Radish, chopped
- 4 tsp dried Red Chillies, ground
- 6 Eggs
- 6 cups Bean Sprouts
- 2 cups Garlic Chives, cut into 1-1/2 in. pieces
- 1-1/2 cup Unsalted Peanuts, crushed
- 1 Lime, cut into wedges
- 10 sprigs Cilantro
- 8 Green Onions, cut into 1 in. pieces
- Soak the dried rice noodles in cool or lukewarm water for about 45 minutes to an hour. Do not let them sit for too long or they will get too soft when you cook them. They should still be firm when you remove them from the water.
- While the noodles are soaking, in a bowl, mix together the fish sauce, tamarind juice and palm or coconut sugar. Stir this will crushing the sugar to help it dissolve. You'll want to taste this to make sure it has that special salty sweet and sour flavor.
- Drain the noodles and set them aside.
- I prefer to make this dish in single serving batches. If you try to cook too much at one time, your ingredients will absorb all the heat from the wok and you'll end up simmering the food rather than stir-frying it. So, separate your ingredients into 6 even batches.
- Heat your dry wok on as high a heat as possible until it's smoking hot.
- Add 2 tsp of peanut oil and very quickly stir fry the shrimp until they turn pink (it shouldn't take very long at all).
- Add a quick sprinkling of fish sauce to the shrimp right before removing them from your wok.
- These next steps are going to happen very fast, so it's best to have all of your ingredients prepped, measured out and ready to go.
- Swirl in a couple of teaspoons of peanut oil and wait 30 seconds for it to heat up.
- Add the cut up pieces of tofu and fry for about 2 minutes, stirring gently so you don't break them apart. They should have a nice light golden color to them.
- Add the garlic to the tofu and stir fry for about 20 seconds. Just a couple of quick tosses should do the trick.
- Add the sliced shallots (or thinly sliced red onion) and toss a couple of times.
- Add in the sweetened salted radish, dried shrimp and ground dried chillies, stirring and tossing very quickly with the other ingredients. Less than 30 seconds.
- Add the drained noodles and toss well with the other ingredients, cooking very quickly for less than 2 minutes.
- Push the noodles up along the sides of the wok, leaving an open area of the wok in the middle.
- Add 1 tsp. of peanut oil to the wok. Crack and pour in an egg, scrambling it lightly as it cooks.
- Use your spatula to chop up the cooked egg and toss it with the noodles and other ingredients.
- Add in the sweet and sour sauce you prepared earlier and toss with the noodles.
- If your noodles are too firm, add in a couple of tablespoons of water to and let them cook a couple minutes longer.
- Once your noodles have cooked to your liking, add the shrimp back in along with ⅔'s of the bean sprouts and all of the garlic chives.
- Cook until the vegatables are wilteded and transfer to a serving plate.
- Garnish with the remaining bean sprouts, chopped peanuts, cilantro, green onions and a lime wedge.