For as much as I enjoy pad thai as well as cooking Asian cuisine I’m surprised that this meal was my first attempt at making pad thai at home. It was a success! I’m sure this recipe could be played with a lot and tweaked to personal preference, so as usual you can use this as a guide or as inspiration.
The Not So Scientific Method
Depending on how much you can put away in one sitting this should make 3-4+ servings (I can eat a good amount of this).
Tamarind, or en Espanol tamarindo – 3-4 medium pods, this is the tangy ingredient they use in the Mexican kids’ candy Lucas. I got mine from a Latino grocer, but some Asian markets will have it as well as the ethnic food section of certain mainstream grocery stores
Vegetables – I had a huge carrot (so maybe like 2 normal sized carrots), you can julienne cut them by hand, but I have a food processor so I used an attachment to do the heavy lifting of julienne cutting for me. 3-4 giant leaves of napa cabbage (could substitute bok choy or other greens)
5 Green onions and 4 big cloves of garlic
1/2-1 Tbs fresh grated ginger – I also threw in a pinch of galanga (related to ginger), which is a specialty spice you probably have to get at an Asian market, I’m sure the recipe is fine without
Shrimp and/or tofu…or chicken – I didn’t actually use (have) any of these, although I generally enjoy shrimp with pad thai
3 Beaten Eggs
2-3 tablespoons Oil for Cooking – I used peanut oil, and I always just eyeball the measurement, it should be enough to coat the pan plus a little extra
Nooooooodles – A package of rice noodles
1/4 cup Brown sugar
1/3 Soy sauce
Ground/minced Peanuts – it’s really a garnish so you don’t need to make more than 2 tablespoons, but if you’re using a food processor you might as well make more at once and blend about a cup of peanuts
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce – here’s the deal, other recipes call for like 1/2 a cup of this stuff, but the fish sauce I own smells like @$$ (understatement) so I’m afraid to put ANYWHERE NEAR that amount…I had to throw the last dish I made out because of what it did…anyway, I do believe this is a necessary component, however you will have to decide how strong your fish sauce is and adjust for personal preference
Lime slices – works as garnish or flavor enhancer
Large pot, colander, large skillet or wok, fork, chopping knife, small fry pan or sauce pan, bowl and a stove.
- Remove tamarind flesh and seeds from hard pod shell and remove large “veins”.
- Fill bowl with about a cup of hot water and place tamarind in to soak.
- Prep veggies by washing; peel and then julienne carrots and chop napa cabbage leaves to bite size (about 1″x2″) pieces.
- Fill large pot with water and bring to a boil, cook rice noodles according to instructions, or, if you’re like me and buy them from a place where all the instructions are in Thai, then boil for around 5 minutes until soft, then drain. Be sure to keep an eye on these, once they are soft they are done; if you overcook this type of noodle it’ll be a big mess when you try to stir fry them.
- Chop the white and beginning of the green parts of the green onions, crush or mince the garlic and grate ginger.
- Heat oil in wok/skillet on medium and add green onions, garlic, ginger, and if you have it, galanga. Cook about 5 minutes.
- Most fun part: take the soggy tamarind seeds and squish the goo-seed combo in your hands above the small saucepan to separate the pulpy flesh from the seeds – the part you want will come through the spaces between your fingers (your hands will be covered with goo), just squish and wipe as much as you can into the saucepan, will end up around 1-2 tablespoons…you could also just buy the pre-made paste. You can add some of the leftover water to the sauce if necessary.
- Add carrots to wok/skillet and cook for about 5 minutes (can place lid on), then add napa cabbage and cook 2 minutes.
- Scoot the veggies to one side of the skillet, pour a bit more oil into the pan and then pour the beaten egg in, scramble, then mix with veggies.
- Add noodles to the egg veggies, then pour sauce in until desired coating is reached.
- Stir well and cook for a few minutes to evenly combine ingredients.
- After plating, top with ground peanuts and a slice of lime, chopped cilantro is appropriate here as well (didn’t have any on hand).
- Serve with a delicious spinach salad topped with oranges and savor your restaurant favorite at home.