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Pad thai was one of my first Thai food loves. As a Thai noob, totally out of my ethnic-food-league at the time, I was told, “Don’t worry, just order the pad thai and you’ll be fine.” Order I did. And now, even after many a mind-blowing, horizon-and-palate-expanding, Thai food experience, pad thai is still a go-to for me. Some times, ya just gotta have it.
This is the best recipe I’ve been able to come up with for a DIY, non-pre-packaged-sauce, version and it most definitely hits the spot :) You can make it with chicken or use the veggie suggestions. Either way, I think you’ll be happy with the results. Have at it y’all!
DIY Pad Thai
I was originally inspired by this recipe from Martha Stewart
Start-to-finish Time – 30 minutes
14 oz pad thai stir-fry rice noodles, cooked as directed
2 eggs (optional), lightly whisked
1 tbsp vegetable oil and more as needed
1 large onion, julienned
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced/ grated
1 large chicken breast, thinly sliced (Optional, feel free to leave out, reduce, or sub in extra firm tofu. If you decide to go veggie, some finely grated red cabbage adds some nice complexity.)
2 medium carrots
2 tbsp sweet-and-sour sauce
1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp fresh lime/lemon juice
4 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp peanut butter (preferably crunchy)
* if you are making this gluten-free, be careful to make sure the sauces you use are wheat-free
mung bean sprouts
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1) Prepare noodles as directed.
2) Add vegetable oil to large wok or skillet and pre-heat over medium heat. Add whisked eggs and scramble until mostly cooked (about 1 minute). Remove from wok and set aside.
3) Add onions, garlic, and ginger to wok. Saute ~3 minutes. Add chicken or tofu (if using). Using a vegetable peeler, shred entire carrot in to wok in ~2 inch strips. Season with salt and pepper. Saute together until chicken is thoroughly cooked.
4) While chicken is cooking, make sauce:
Combine all sauce ingredients and whisk until well combined.
5) When chicken is finished, reduce heat to low. Add scrambled eggs, noodles, sauce, bean sprouts, and cilantro to wok and mix. Heat thoroughly and serve.