I could eat these Pad Thai noodles all day long. (In fact, I’m eating some right now.)
My supper club recently hosted a Thai-themed night and my contribution was this lighter version of Pad Thai that I’ve been slowly tweaking over the years. And though I am by no means an authority on Thai cooking, this seems to be a favorite among friends and family. After all, who doesn’t love a big bowl full of noodles?
Light & Fresh Pad Thai
STEP 1: THE NOODLES
Rice noodles are tricky. They can go from rubber to mush in a matter of seconds so don’t prepare this meal drunk (or otherwise mentally compromised).
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Turn the heat off and add a whole package of flat rice noodles (found in the Asian section of your supermarket). Stir to loosen the noodles and cover the pot.
Allow noodles to soak for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 15 minutes, test a noodle. If it is rubbery and hard to swallow, soak another 2-5 minutes until noodles are soft but still have some chewiness to them (al dente).
Immediately drain noodles well. Drizzle a couple tablespoons of peanut or canola oil over the noodles, toss and set aside. As the noodles soak, start on the stir-fry….
STEP 2: THE SAUCE
Do you know what this is?
I’m sure you all thought of cheeky answers, but it’s just a block of tamarind paste. You can find this at specialty supermarkets or Amazon. Tamarind paste gives Thai cuisine that bright, lemony flavor, but if you are just not up for experimenting, plain lemon juice is fine.
Measure out 1 tablespoon of tamarind paste and mash it up in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of hot water until smooth. (If your paste has seed husks, press the mixture through a sieve.)
To the tamarind pulp add 2 tablespoons ketchup, 2 tablespoons sugar, 6 tablespoons fish sauce and 1 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce or Siracha. Whisk until smooth and set aside.
Step 3: ASSEMBLY
- Peel and de-vein 1 cup of uncooked shrimp. Slice 1 large, uncooked chicken breast into thin strips. Set aside.
- Peel and grate 5-6 large cloves of garlic.
- Break 3-4 large eggs into a dish. Set aside.
- Thinly slice 4 large scallions. Finely chop a large handful of cilantro. Set aside.
Add 5 tablespoons sesame oil to a large wok or skillet and heat over high heat until hot. Next, toss in garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Stir in chicken and cook another 30 seconds. Finally, add the shrimp and only half the sauce. Cook for 30 seconds.
Cook’s Note: Not a shrimp eater? Swap it out for more chicken or ground pork. Whatev.
Before adding the egg, push the chicken/shrimp mixture to one side of the skillet. Pour one more tablespoon of sesame oil onto the empty side and pour in half of the eggs. Allow the eggs to cook, untouched, for a couple minute until they are no longer soupy. Stir the egg lightly to break up, push to one side and repeat with remaining eggs.
At this point, add 1-1/2 cups bean sprouts to the pan, toss and cook for 1 minute. Unfortunately, our local stores have not carried bean sprouts for at least 2 years so I pop open a can of bamboo shoots, drain them, and add them with the shrimp and the sauce instead.
Add the noodles to the pan along with the remaining half of sauce, toss and cook for 30 seconds or to make life simpler, just dump the skillet mixture directly onto the noodles in the bowl and toss with the scallions and cilantro.
Serve up the noodles and garnish with extra cilantro, scallions and chili sauce if desired.
What made supper club even more enjoyable is that we got to host our lovely dinner guests in our newly remodeled rumpus room complete with open windows and cool breezes.
Tasty noodles. Adventurous foodie friends. Cool, rainy evenings. Here’s to the good life!
Are you a part of a supper club?
- 1 package flat rice noodles (about 16 ounces)
- 1 Tablespoon tamarind paste (or 2 T lemon juice)
- 2 Tablespoons hot water (omit if using lemon juice)
- 6 Tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 Tablespoon ketchup
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 Tablespoons chili-garlic sauce or Siracha
- 7 tablespoons sesame oil
- 5-6 large garlic cloves, peeled and grated
- 1 large uncooked chicken breast, thinly sliced
- 1 cup uncooked shrimp, peeled and de-veined
- 3-4 large eggs
- 1-1/2 cup bean sprouts (or 1/2 cup drained bamboo shoots)
- 4 large scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 large handful of cilantro, chopped
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles, stir and cover. Allow noodles to soften for 15-20 minutes until al dente. Drain well and dump into a large bowl. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil, toss and set aside.
- Meanwhile, soften tamarind paste with hot water and press through a sieve. Add the fish sauce, ketchup, sugar and chili sauce and mix well. Set aside.
- In a large wok or skillet, heat 5 tablespoons of oil over high heat until hot. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds or until golden brown, stirring constantly. Add chicken and cook another 30 seconds, stirring occasionally. Add shrimp and sauce together and cook 30 seconds.
- Push this mixture off to one side of the skillet. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the empty side and add half the eggs. Cook eggs until the whites are no longer runny. Break up the eggs with your spatula and push aside. Repeat with another tablespoon of oil and eggs.
- Toss in bean sprouts or bamboo shoots and cook one minute.
- Loosen noodles with more cold water and drain well.
- Add the entire meat/sauce/egg mixture to the noodles and toss well.
- Garnish with cilantro and green onions and chili sauce if desired.