Easy, Accessible Pad Thai

Printable Version (Recipe Only)

This pad thai recipe uses commonly stocked ingredients like ketchup and Worcestershire sauce to mimic the flavor of tamarind, brown sugar in lieu of palm sugar, and crushed red chili flakes (like the kind you use on pizza and pasta) to provide the heat normally brought to this dish by Thai chilies.

Unfortunately, there is no good substitute in my opinion for the rice noodles which are the heart of this dish. Luckily, they are light, ship inexpensively, and keep forever. If you don't have an Asian market nearby where you can buy them in person, you can order them online from web retailers like amazon. You might even be able to find them at your neighborhood Cost Plus (World Market). But don't discount the Asian section of your grocery, either. With the increasing popularity of so-called *ethnic* cooking, new ingredients are popping up everywhere.

Easy, Accessible Pad Thai

Serves 3 to 4
Time: 30 to 45 minutes
Printable Version

- 8 ounces wide rice noodles, about half a typical packet (sometimes labeled as Pho noodles, but get the wide ones - they're about 1/3" wide uncooked)
- 2 eggs, whisked and lightly seasoned with salt
- 2 cups mung bean sprouts
- 1/2 to 3/4 lb. of the protein of your choice (I prefer shrimp or chicken, and today it was chicken), cut in bite-sized pieces and lightly seasoned with salt, a teaspoon of minced garlic, and a pinch of sugar
- oil for frying
- 1 or 2 green onions and some cilantro, chopped for garnish
- 4 lime wedges for garnish


- 3 Tablespoons ketchup
- 2.5 to 3 Tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 Tablespoon lime juice
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons brown sugar (or white sugar if you don't have brown)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon crushed chili flakes (more or less to taste - I'd say this makes the dish about a 7 on the *How hot you want???* scale)

1) Soak the noodles in enough hot water to cover for about 12 to 15 minutes or so, until all the noodles go completely limp when pull them up by the handful out of the water.

2) Mix all sauce ingredients in a bowl and stir thoroughly to incorporate all the seasonings evenly.

3) While the noodles are soaking, in a large wok or non-stick pan, saute/stir-fry your protein in about a tablespoon of oil brought up to medium hight heat and set aside.

4) You probably still have enough time to scramble your eggs before the noodles are done soaking, so scramble your eggs and set them aside with your meat.

5) Once the noodles have been softened (but not too soft - you still want them to retain their texture and not get soggy), pour out the water, rinse a couple of times with cold water, and drain thoroughly.

6) With the heat still on medium high, add 1 or 2 Tablespoons of oil to the pan, wait about 20 or 30 seconds to heat it up, and add in the noodles. Let the noodles sit for about a minute so as not to disperse the heat. After about a minute, give them a toss to redistribute them. Do this 3 or 4 times total before adding in the rest of your ingredients.

7) Add in the rest of your ingredients - meat, eggs, sprouts, green onions, and sauce - and toss thoroughly to season each noodle strand.

If you like some crispy/charred bits to your noodles, now is the time to add another Tablespoon of oil to the pan, and just let your noodles sit for a minute and a half to two minutes. This will crisp up some of the edges.

The crispy bits - my fave. :)

8) Garnish to taste with green onions and serve with lime wedges. The added fresh lime juice gives the dish extra zip.

If you're like me, squeeze some sriracha on top, or add some chilies in vinegar or prik nam pla to the mix - the hotter, the better!



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