Sometimes I get requests from family and friends to find a great recipe for a particular dish. I am finally getting around to filling those said requests. I have another one on the table, Bethany, let Brian know I have not forgotten about him. This recipe request was from my dear friend, Crissy, also known as my matchmaker. You see almost 6 years ago, she threw a New Year’s Eve party and decided it was a good idea for Blair and I to hang out. We hit it off that night and as they say the rest is history. Every month we get together with Crissy, her fiancé, and another couple for monthly dinner club. Crissy has been asking for me to find a recipe for Pad Thai at home. And folks, here it is and believe me when I tell you that it is awesome.
As I mentioned when I posted the Drunken Noodles, I am a little bit intimidated at making Thai at home, but honestly when you have a recipe that works the authenticity is there. The ingredient list may seem daunting, but from the various other dishes that I have made, I had most of the ingredients either in the fridge or in my pantry. The only thing I did not have and had to make a special trip to the Asian market (again) was the tamarind concentrate. From the comments on Courtney’s blog, I got that tamarind paste is an even better option since it will last longer than the concentrate. This discovery of course was after I had already purchased the concentrate so I stuck with that. We all know that I am not a seafood lover and that meant swapping out the shrimp in traditional Pad Thai for chicken. If seafood is your thing, simply substitute the chicken for 12 ounces of peeled and deveined shrimp. We ate this on the couch watching the first NFL football games of the season and if I hadn’t spent 30 minutes whipping it up in the kitchen, I would have been convinced it came from our favorite Thai takeout place.
1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate*
2/3 cup hot water
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
8 ounces dried rice noodles about 1/8-inch wide
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 chicken breasts, 12-16 ounces total
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium shallot, minced
6 tablespoons chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
3 cups (6 ounces) bean sprouts
5 green onions, green parts only, sliced thin, divided
Lime wedges, for serving (optional)
What you’ll do:
In a small bowl, dissolve tamarind concentrate in hot water. (If not using the concentrate, then skip this step and proceed to the next). Stir in fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, cayenne and 2 tablespoons of oil and set aside. Place noodles in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Soak until they are softened, but not completely tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside. Whisk together the eggs and 1/8 teaspoon of salt in a small bowl and set aside.
Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper and cut into bite-size pieces. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over high heat for about 2 minutes, or until just beginning to smoke. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Off heat, add the remaining tablespoon of oil to skillet and swirl to coat. Add garlic and shallot and return pan to medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes or until light golden brown. Add eggs and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until fully scrambled, about 30 seconds. Add softened noodles and toss to combine. Pour the liquid mixture over the noodles and increase heat to high. Cook, tossing constantly with tongs, until the noodles are evenly coated with the sauce. Add 1/4 cup of peanuts, bean sprouts, chicken and all but 1/4 cup of green onions to the noodles. Continue tossing until well combined and noodles are tender, 2-3 minutes. If needed, add 2 tablespoons of water to skillet to tenderize the noodles and continue cooking.
Transfer to serving dishes and sprinkle with remaining green onions and peanuts. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.
*Tamarind concentrate can be found in Asian grocery stores. If you are unable to find it, substitute 1/3 cup of lime juice and 1/3 cup of water in place of the tamarind concentrate and light brown sugar in place of the granulated sugar. Do not serve this version with lime wedges.