I am trying to work through my pantry. This evening I called out ingredients to my family and when I got to “rice stick noodle” my husband suggested Pad Thai. In my experience, Pad Thai at home is this sticky, icky mess that doesn’t remotely resemble the Thai restaurant staple.
I decided to give it another go. I started researching recipes on Pinterest. One claimed to taste just like the real thing but contained ketchup. Another suggested peanut butter, and I finally decided on the most un-Pinteresty looking recipe from SouvenirFinder.com. Heck yes I want my pad Thai to taste like Bankok street food!
The first go around I didn’t have tamarind concentrate. So I improvised and used peanut butter instead. I was delightfully surprised. I didn’t end up with a sticky ball of noodles that was overly sweet. It was a balanced dish with lots of flavor. Second time around my father gifted me a jar of tamarind concentrate and the recipe was even better – I even had time to snap some photos before inhaling it.
Simple homemade pad Thai
For the sauce:
- 2 oz. brown sugar
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate (sub peanut butter)
- squeeze of lime
- 1-2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce (or more to taste)
For the stir fry:
- 8 ounces Thai rice stick noodles
- 1/2 pound chicken breasts, sliced thin (you could add tofu and shrimp as well, just don’t marinate them)
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1/2 onion, sliced very thin
- 3 baby bell peppers, sliced very thin
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup chicken stock
- 3 green onions
- 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts
- cilantro, for serving
- lime wedges, for serving
Fill a large bowl with very hot water and soak the noodles for 20 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside. They should be pliable but not soft – way less than al dente. Don’t worry, they soften up when you put them in the pan later.
Meanwhile, mix together the ingredients for the sauce in a medium bowl. Add the chicken and marinate until noodles are done.
Remove chicken, squeezing out sauce, and pat dry with paper towels. You’ll be using the remaining marinade as the sauce so if you’re worried about salmonella, just heat the sauce in a small pan until boiling and set aside.
Heat a wok or large frying pan with 1 tablespoon oil until smoking. Add half the chicken and leave undisturbed for a couple of minutes until nice and browned. Flip chicken pieces and brown on the other side. Set aside. Repeat with remaining chicken.
Add another tablespoon of oil. When pan is hot again, add the onions and baby bell peppers. Cook until softened, about three minutes, scraping up any browned bits as you stir. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the noodles and chicken stock and stir frequently until noodles are softened, about three minutes.
Push noodles to the side of the pan and add the egg. Let it set and stir until firm and browned. Add the green onions, sauce, chicken and sprouts and mix thoroughly. There might be some sticking to the bottom of the pan, but that’s ok, it’ll still be super yummy.
Serve in bowls and top with a good squeeze of lime, some chopped peanuts and fresh cilantro.