Pad Thai (ผัดไทย)

Every time someone I meet for the first time finds out that I’m from Thailand the immediate response is, “I love Thai food!” When I ask them what their favorite dish is, their answer is always “Pad Thai.” Pad Thai is as loved in Thailand as it is overseas. The best thing about it is that you can get this quick and delicious noodle dish just about anywhere in Thailand, especially on the busy streets of Bangkok. Other than using the right ingredients and understanding some key techniques, for me the secret behind a really good Pad Thai is the smoky aroma that can be achieved by using a very hot wok over a gas stove. I recently bonded with a friend over this very desirable je ne sais quoi element of the dish, and we decided that it is was an essential characteristic for an outstanding Pad Thai.

Even if you can’t achieve this smokiness that I’m talking about, here are some tips to making a Fat Cat approved Pad Thai: 1) Use a cast iron pan or a wok that has a big surface area to help the sauce evaporate and to prevent overcooking the noodles. 2) Don’t boil your noodles before stir frying. Trust me, they’ll have plenty of time to cook in the wok. 3) You can substitute the classic thin and flat noodles for glass noodles as I did. Glass noodles are commonly used in Thai cuisine and I especially like the texture that it adds to this dish. 4) The ingredients are the key components of the dish and substituting an ingredient may change the flavor of your Pad Thai entirely- try your best to stick to the recipe!

 Pad Thai

  • 1 small pack thin and flat rice noodles or glass noodles
  • 1/2 cup of bean sprouts
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of crushed peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon of preserved radish
  • 1/4 cup of Chinese garlic chives
  • 1/4 cup of cubed firm Tofu
  • 1/2 tablespoon of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of small dried shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

For the sauce

  • 2 tablespoons of lime
  • 4 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of tamarind water
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chili flakes
  1. Put the noodles in water at room temperature until they are flexible enough to twirl around your fingers, then strain and set aside
  2. Over medium heat, add all the ingredients for the sauce into a pan and mix until slightly sticky. Keep stiring and be careful not to burn the sauce. The leading flavors should be sweet and sour
  3. In a wok add oil and garlic and cook over high heat. Once the garlic is golden add the dried shrimp, tofu and preserved radishes and cook until fragrant
  4. Push all of this to one side of the wok and crack an egg and scramble on the other side, then mix it into the tofu mix and push to one side of the pan
  5. Add the noodles to the other side of the pan and separate the noodles with your spatula so that it doesn’t stick.
  6. Pour half of the sauce onto the noodles and the other half onto the tofu mix
  7. Lastly, add the bean sprouts, chinese garlic chives and peanuts
  8. Serve it on a plate with the condiments of chili flakes, lime, crushed peanuts, sugar, fish sauce

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