I am constantly on the search for Authentic Thai recipes. I love exploring such unique flavor combinations and textures. Part of me wants to live in Thailand for a summer and take cooking classes until I am a pro, but don’t tell the Mr. cause he would pack us all up right now and take me up on that offer. So to keep it on the down low, all I can really do is download Thai food apps and search the internet for awesome recipes. I tried a great Pad Thai back in New York, and it was really tasty. But it didn’t have Tamarind Paste (only at an Asian market), which is supposedly what makes it authentic. So I found this recipe from the NY Times and decided to try it. It was good, but I liked my original recipe better. I’ll include both recipes and you can decide which one does it for you.
NY Times Pad Thai
- 4 ounces fettuccine-width rice stick noodles (mine pictured are a little bit thinner, but still worked)
- 1/4 cup peanut oil
- 2 to 4 tablespoons tamarind paste
- 1/4 cup fish sauce (nam pla)
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped scallions
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 eggs
- 1 small head Napa cabbage, shredded (I didn’t have any so I used carrots instead)
- 1 cup mung bean sprouts
- 1/2 pound peeled shrimp (I used 1 chicken breast)
- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 limes, quartered
1. Put noodles in a large bowl and add boiling water to cover. Let sit until noodles are just tender; check every 5 minutes or so to make sure they do not get too soft. Drain, drizzle with one tablespoon peanut oil to keep from sticking and set aside. Meanwhile, put tamarind paste, fish sauce, honey and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and bring just to a simmer. Stir in red pepper flakes and set aside.
2. Put remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; when oil shimmers, add scallions and garlic and cook for about a minute. Add eggs to pan; once they begin to set, scramble them until just done. Add cabbage and bean sprouts and continue to cook until cabbage begins to wilt, then add shrimp or tofu (or both).
3. When shrimp begin to turn pink and tofu begins to brown, add drained noodles to pan along with sauce. Toss everything together to coat with tamarind sauce and combine well. When noodles are warmed through, serve, sprinkling each dish with peanuts and garnishing with cilantro and lime wedges.
The Mr: Ate about a pound of it
Me: 7 out of 10
The Wild One: Picked out the chicken and didn’t touch the rest
Tornado: Ate it! He always surprises me. It’s a different flavor, so I didn’t think he’d go for it, but he did!
Okay so try that one if you want to feel fancy since it was printed in The Times, but between you and me, this next one really rocks!
On a side note: At the Asian Market, I also saw a few glass bottles of Thai Soda Pop, which I thought would be a fun touch. So I grabbed a yellow one and brought it home. The Wild one was soooo excited to drink this new “juice,” and was jumping all around the kitchen. I popped off the cap and poured it in a cup, but it was thick and syrupy. All the directions were in Thai, so I didn’t really know the specifics of drinking this stuff. I poured some water in it, swirled it around and took a sip. It smelled like dishwashing detergent and tasted like detergent mixed with some sugar. By this time The Wild One was on the verge of a meltdown so I gave it to him. He drank it down in .3 seconds as I tried to decipher the bottle. I said to my friend, “this IS for drinking, right?” She was like, “I don’t know…that’s pretty gross. Is it alcoholic?” “I don’t think so – I mean they didn’t card me.” But I was a little nervous that I just let my 2 year old take a huge swig. So we waited for The Mr. and he said those diluted soft drinks were popular in Thailand but he’d never had that flavor. He took a drink and pulled a face. AW MAN! Thai beverage fail! I envisioned everyone being so excited, but really, it was completely nasty. We tossed it out, even though The Wild One has asked every single day if he can please drink some “yucky juice.” Really, kid? You want to drink detergent soda, but you won’t eat mouth-watering Pad Thai? Go figure.
Lip Smackin’ Pad Thai
- 3/4 cup bean sprouts
- 6 oz. pad thai rice noodles
- 4 eggs
- 3 Tbs lime juice
- 3 Tbs ketchup
- 1 Tbs brown sugar
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 3 Tbs peanut oil
- 1 Tbs minced garlic
- 1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 cups grated carrots
- 2/3 cup chopped peanuts
- 1 cup green onions
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Blanch the bean sprouts in boiling water for approximately 30 seconds, remove, and drain well. When the water returns to a boil, add noodles. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes until tender but firm; drain and rinse under cold water
- Beat the eggs with a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Stir together the lime juice, ketchup, brown sugar, and fish sauce in a separate bowl; set aside.
- Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the garlic for a few seconds. Add the pepper flakes and carrot, and cook for one minute, then remove. Add the beaten egg, and gently scramble. When the eggs have set, pour in the carrots, sauce, bean sprouts, noodles, peanuts, and green onion; toss together.