I love to cook, but sometimes I just want an easy meal to throw together. A cheap and easy one is even better. Pad Thai is an option that fits both criteria, plus it hits on my Asian food fixation. It is also easily made gluten free. Now, I’ve tried several versions of Pad Thai, trying to find something yummy and easy and have had many misses. But this recipe… well this tastes like something I get at a REALLY good Thai restaurant. Not the stuff that tastes like Taste of Thai out of a box Pad Thai. Blech.
I know there’s a lot of ingredients, but actual cook time is less than 10 minutes. We make this often, and keep many of these ingredients on hand. Don’t be intimidated, try it once.
The key, is fresh rice noodles. You can find these in a bag at your Asian grocery market. Do not use dried stick noodles from a box. They clump, and taste like cardboard. And take much longer to cook properly. The fresh are only $1.29 for a pound of them, and so much better. If using fresh noodles, use kitchen sheers to cut them up a little before cooking. I’ve found one that was nearly 3 feet long before.
The secret ingredient to a tasty Pad Thai, is tamarind juice. That is what provides the sweet tartness that is in a true Pad Thai. You can also find this dish in the Asian grocery market.
You can make this with either chicken or shrimp. We used chicken this time as that’s what we had on hand.
What’s your favorite easy Asian meal?
- 16 oz fresh flat rice noodles (if using dry, let them soak in cold water for at least 1 hour, or overnight)
- 1/2 cup tamarind juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce (soy sauce will work)
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 16 medium shrimp, peeled & deveined (or 1 pound cooked chicken)
- 2 ounces firm tofu, cubed
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup mung bean sprouts
- 1/4 cup crushed peanuts
- Fresh basil for garnish
- Lime, for garnish
1) In a small bowl, combine the tamarind juice, fish sauce, vinegar, sugar & paprika. Set aside.
2) In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook stirringfrequently, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the shrimp (or cooked chicken), tofu, and egg and cook stirring until the egg is scrambled, about 2 minutes.
3) Add the rice noodles to the hot skillet. Gently stir the tamarind juice mixture while pouring over the noodles to get the sugar off the bottom of the bowl. Stir gently, turn heat down to medium, and cover with lid to let noodles steam slightly about 3-5 minutes.
4) Serve the noodles with bean sprouts on the side, peanuts sprinkled over the top, and basil and lime for garnish.