Whenever we find a new Thai restaurant, the first thing Sarah orders is pad thai. It's one of her favorite dishes, and it's a quick and easy barometer of whether the rest of the food on the menu will be good. I've never tried to make it before, because I always assumed it was way too complicated. After I made this curry a few weeks ago, I ended up with a big chunk of tamarind and no idea how to use it, so I started looking around for recipes that would use it. Pad thai kept popping up, and when I found this site that walked me through every single step of the process, and saw how simple the sauce really was, I decided I had to give it a try. Because there's no way I'm going to retype or copy/paste everything from the original, I highly recommend you go give that site a read, then come back and look at my recipe. If nothing else, note that you will cook this in batches, not all at once. Everything from how to make the sauce to how to prepare the meal to how to season a wok is covered there, and it's worth the read!
After I had the sauce mixed to about how I thought it should be, I asked Sarah to come taste it and she said it should be a little sweeter, so I upped the sugar amount a little bit from the original recipe. Once it was done, she said this was her new favorite pad thai, so I think I did ok!
- ½ cup strained tamarind pulp
- ½ cup fish sauce
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- dash white pepper
- 8 ounces dried thin rice noodles (also called rice sticks, Banh Pho, or Chantaboon)
- 1 pound extra-firm tofu
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 4-8 eggs
- ½ cup ground peanuts
- 3 Tablespoons chopped garlic
- 4 handfuls shredded carrots
- Bean sprouts
- Vegetable oil
- 1 lime
- Mix tamarind, sugars, and fish sauce in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add cayenne and white pepper. Taste sauce and adjust to your personal liking. Remember that you'll be serving this with lime, so it doesn't need to be TOO tart. Once sauce is flavored to your taste, remove from heat and keep nearby.
- Soak rice noodles in hot water until they are pliable but not soft (think spaghetti 2-3 minutes before it's done cooking). Drain and set aside.
- Cut tofu and chicken into small chunks.
- Heat a large wok over high heat until very hot, to the point of smoky. Add 2-3 tablespoons of oil and add ¼ of the chicken. Cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is halfway cooked, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add ¼ of the tofu and garlic and 1-2 tablespoons of the sauce. Cook, stirring frequently, until tofu starts to brown around the edges.
- Add 1-2 cups of noodles and about ¼ cup of sauce. Stir regularly until noodles are fully cooked and soft and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
- Push noodles to one side of wok and add 1-2 eggs. Let set for 15-20 seconds, then toss everything together.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of chopped peanuts and a handful of shredded carrots. Stir a few times, then remove from heat.
- Move finished product to a plate/bowl and continue in batches until done cooking. Serve with slice of lime.
This recipe makes ~4 servings. I used one egg per serving when I made it, I'll almost certainly use two next time. I also didn't include bean sprouts because Sarah isn't a big fan, but since you're making each serving individually, I could have (and should have!) added some in for mine. Some of the other things mentioned on the original page to add in: shrimp, garlic chives, pickled turnip, and dried shrimp. They didn't mention carrots, but I asked Sarah what she wanted in her pad thai and she mentioned them, and I can't argue with her on this one because they were delicious.