A new year. A new beginning. Maybe? Every year brings with it a renewed sense of optimism for the year to come and the opportunities it represents. Each year, I try to get out ahead and make something out of it. I try not to use the word “resolution” for a couple of reasons, but mostly because I feel that there is so much hype surrounding it that you are almost setting yourself up to fail. I like to think of the new year as a chance to do something different, to be different, or to do more of something that I didn’t do the previous year. In this case, I made a deal with myself that I would do more blogging this year, to make up for all the posts that never got written last year. And this brings me to my first post…
First a little background on the name: my bf goes to this tiny little Thai place with some buddies from work pretty much every week. On Friday. Thus, I dubbed it Friday Thai-day, partly because I can’t understand why someone had never thought of it before me, but mostly because it sounds fun and it’s fun to say. Having said this and despite going there every week to eat lunch, he had never once tried Pad Thai. Something I fail to understand to this day, so please go ahead and shake your head for me, because my neck hurts from doing it so often.
Anyway, after repeatedly bugging him that he had to try it and finding various Pad Thai recipes on Pinterest and in one of America’s Test Kitchen’s (ATK) cookbooks, we attempted it – a couple of ways. The first time, we found the sauce too sweet, due to the ketchup based sauce and large amounts of additional sugar. Also, the noodles got clumpy when we added everything together in the pan, as we cooked them the traditional way. The second time, we altered the sauce slightly to make it more spicy and to limit the sugar, but used America’s Test Kitchen method of cooking the noodles, which was to use hot tap water, pour it over the noodles, and then let it sit for about half an hour. Ultimately, this resulted in a rather too al dente noodle for my taste, and for me that meant the whole dish turned out a little disappointing.
The most recent, and most successful I might add, time that we made it, we altered the sauce yet again, based on two different online recipes, as well as the info we read in America’s Test Kitchen. And, as we were inspired by the noodle method in ATK, we boiled the water like one usually would, took the pot off the heat, and added the noodles and let them sit for 25 minutes. I would recommend that you stir. AND STIR OFTEN. Otherwise the noodles stick together and no one wants that. NO ONE.
So, here is our best version of Pad Thai to date:
We used traditional rice noodles. You will need half a package for this recipe. It served the two of us, and gave us 2 leftover meals, for lunch the next day.
First, prepare the chicken. For this, you will need:
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 tbsp corn starch
salt, pepper to taste
Cut the chicken into approximately 1 inch pieces and mix together with the egg, cornstarch, salt, and pepper.
Meanwhile heat a large pan, or a wok, on medium heat and add 1 tbsp canola/vegetable oil.
You may also want/need, depending on where your preferences lie:
2-3 green onions
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
some bean sprouts
Next, prepare the sauce.
1/2 tsp chili flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
~1 inch-sized ginger
1/3 cup soy sauce
2-3 tbsp sriracha hot sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce or oyster sauce
1 tsp peanut butter
By this time, the pan/wok should be hot and you should be good to start stir frying the chicken.
The chicken should take between 5 and 10 minutes to cook. Once the chicken is fully cooked, take it from the wok and put it in a bowl and set aside.
Once the chicken is cooked, you can scramble an egg to incorporate into the final dish. You don’t have to do this, but it tastes good and is reminiscent of Asian cooking. If you don’t want to, ignore this step, and you can simply add the noodles to the pan, with the chicken, and finish the Pad Thai.
I realize at this point, the dish is looking a little albino, but it shouldn’t last too long. Once you’ve added the noodles and given everything a good stir, pour the sauce over the chicken and noodles and stir until coated.
You can chop some green onions and peanuts to put on top. The green onions add some freshness and the peanuts add some crunch and bit of saltiness. You can also top with bean sprouts, which is more of a traditional addition. You can however eat it without the toppings straight from the pan. Tempting, I know!
A couple of minor adjustments can be made if you like – you can make the whole dish a little spicier (or less spicy) by adding more or less sriracha. My bf likes to have spice leaking out of his eyes when we do Asian food, so the 3 tbsp of sriracha may be a bit much for some. The sauce could also be made with chicken broth, if you don’t like soy sauce.
Otherwise, I hope you enjoy our version of Pad Thai!
Thanks for reading! Happy eats!