During Diana’s first visit to Chicago (well, first visit to see me — as far as I’m concerned, that trip was a whole new beginning because it made her LOVE Chicago), we had a small dinner party with our friends, Lucy and Rachel. Our small dinner party was really a Thai feast — a feast that featured our Thai Magic Green Beans and a number of other dishes, including pad thai. It is the perfect addition to planned dinner or potluck since it can easily be the dish that feeds your picky eaters (with nothing but noodles and sauce), your pescatarians (throw in some shrimp) or the one thing with animal protein (seared steak or some chicken?!) when you’re serving a bigger dinner and balancing out the options. These noodles are the ultimate crowd pleaser.
We love this because 99% of the time, we have everything we need to make it already in the house. Dried rice noodles last practically forever requiring only a quick soak to bring them to life. The sauce can be made in bulk ahead of time and stashed in our fridge to satisfy a craving that doesn’t include take-out — and the oil-y, salty, dishes that usually come along with ordering in. While you can absolutely buy pad Thai sauce in a store, we really like to put it together ourselves since it is incredibly easy and then there are zero preservatives or weird things we can’t pronounce on a label. Also, you can control your heat level — Diana and her sister Venessa just made this for their family and her nephew isn’t a spicy food fan yet, so they could decrease the heat level. Bottom line — pad Thai is delicious and you can completely make the recipe your own. Please excuse us while we devour some noodles…
ab + DZ
- 8 ounces pad thai rice noodles
- ¼ cup high-heat oil like wok, grapeseed, canola or peanut oils
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 pound chicken, shrimp, steak or fried tofu cut in ½ inch pieces (Fried tofu is a pre-made item you can get from Asian grocery stores -- don’t try to fry your own tofu unless you REALLY love to clean your kitchen)
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 cup pad thai sauce
- ½ cup crunchy peanut butter
- ¼ cup thinly sliced scallions, about 6 scallions
- 2 cups mung bean sprouts, rinsed thoroughly and drained, divided
- ¼ cup roasted peanuts, finely chopped
- 1 lime, cut in wedges
- Place pad thai noodles in a large bowl and cover with warm water; soak for 30 minutes or until soft. Drain and cover until ready to use.
- Heat a wok or large saute pan over high heat and add about a tablespoon of oil. Just before the oil smokes, add the eggs and allow to cook for about 1 minute. Using a wooden spoon, break up the eggs into small pieces -- a zig-zag motion helps. Cook for another 1 minute until egg pieces begin to brown. Remove eggs from pan -- scraping up any brown bits -- and set aside. Add remaining oil and cook chicken, shrimp or steak in batches, allowing them to cook through and brown. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add noodles, pad thai sauce and peanut butter. With tongs, toss noodles to coat. Allow the sauce to simmer -- you can add water if you feel like it isn’t coating easily and the noodles need to be more tender. Fold in fried tofu, if using. Add egg, bean sprouts and scallions, tossing to incorporate. Garnish with minced peanuts and a wedge of lime. Enjoy immediately!
- ⅔ cup liquid tamarind concentrate
- ⅔ cup rice vinegar
- ¼ cup tamari
- ⅓ cup fish sauce, we like Red Boat best but look for sauces with as few ingredients on the label after anchovies and water
- 1 packed cup palm sugar or light brown sugar
- ¼ cup garlic powder (you can absolutely use fresh garlic, but then it will not last in your fridge)
- ⅓ cup Sriracha
- Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook sauce until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes. Set aside. Will keep in your refrigerator for up to six months.
- If you're making this with children, reduce the amount of sriracha in the sauce and you can use additional sriracha when serving.