Saturday, September 13, 2008

Chicken Pad Thai

Not too long ago I found a Thai restaurant near my work called Thai Chadda. The restaurant is in the food court where a lot of us from work go to eat, and they make the food quite fast. It's not one of the best Thai places, but their chicken pad Thai is quite good. It's tangy, spicy and lightly sweet. So, after searching for recipes for this great dish, I finally decided on this one I found on About.com, because it was actually the less difficult one. Anyway, my pad Thai came out fabulous and almost as good as restaurant quality.

INGREDIENTS (serves 2-3)

  • 8-10 oz. thin Thai-style rice noodles - look for linguini-size rice noodles (made in Thailand) at Asian/Chinese stores
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups raw chicken breast or thigh meat, sliced
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups fresh bean sprouts
  • 3 spring (green) onions, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup crushed or roughly chopped peanuts
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Lime or orange wedges for serving
  • oil for stir-frying
PAD THAI SAUCE:
  • 3/4 Tbsp. tamarind paste dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water (look for tamarind at Asian/Chinese or Indian food stores)
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1-3 tsp. chili sauce (depending how spicy you want it)
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar (not packed)
DIRECTIONS
  1. Place noodles in a pot of water and place on the stove. Bring to near a boil, then remove from heat. Allow to sit while you prepare the other ingredients (about 10 minutes).
  2. Make the Pad Thai Sauce by combining the sauce ingredients together in a cup. Stir well to dissolve both the tamarind paste and the brown sugar. Set sauce aside.
  3. Place chicken slices in a small bowl. Pour the marinade (2 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp. soy sauce) over the chicken. Stir well and set aside.
  4. Check the noodles. Note that you will be frying the noodles later, so you don't want to over-soften them at this point. Noodles are ready when they are soft enough to be eaten, but are still firm and chewy. Drain and rinse through with cold water. Set aside.
  5. Warm up a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the wok/pan is hot, add 1-2 Tbsp. oil plus garlic. Stir-fry until fragrant (30 seconds).
  6. Add the chicken (together with the marinade). Stir-fry until the wok or pan becomes dry (30 seconds to 1 minute).
  7. Now begin adding some of the chicken stock. Add only a few Tbsp. at a time, enough to keep the chicken frying nicely. Continue until all the chicken stock has been added and chicken pieces/strips are cooked (about 5-8 minutes).
  8. Add the noodles, and pour the Pad Thai sauce over the noodles. Using two spatulas, wooden spoons, or other utensils, quickly stir-fry the noodles. Use a "lift and turn" method (almost as though you were tossing a salad) instead of the usual stir-frying motion, or the noodles with break apart.
  9. Fry the noodles in this way for 1-2 minutes. If you find your wok/frying pan too dry, push noodles aside and add a little more oil to the bottom (but no more broth, or the noodles will become soggy).
  10. Add the bean sprouts and sprinkle over the ground black pepper. Continue "tossing" for 1 more minute, or until noodles are cooked. Noodles are done to perfection when they are no longer "hard" or transulcent. They should be opaque and chewy-sticky wonderful!
  11. Taste-test the noodles for seasoning, adding more fish sauce as needed (I usually end up adding up to 1 more Tbsp. fish sauce, as I like mine on the salty side). Toss well to incorporate.
  12. To serve, lift the noodles onto a serving plate. Top with generous amounts of fresh coriander, spring onion (green onion), and crushed or chopped nuts. Add fresh orange slices or lime wedges (lime is great squeezed overtop), and serve with a bottle of Thai chili sauce on the side, for those who like it extra spicy. ENJOY!

1 comment:

It IS all in me. said...

I like your blog. I'm inspired to get more exotic with my own cooking now. I love Thai but never want to bother looking for all the ingredients.