So last night, I took to the kitchen and cooked up a pretty damn good pad thai dish! Kyle gave it an 8.5 (on the 'ol 10-point scale) and that was after he took a taste from the pan before it was finished cooking and made a God-awful face. (duh.) I do admit there was a bit of veggie prep (I highly recommended prepping everything before you start cooking this dish) but once things started moving, the cooking part was quite basic. And the results....MMMM!! I'll admit that I was a little skeptical while cooking because the recipe doesn't call for any spices but it really turned into a wonderful dish. I only very slightly modified the recipe which you can see in italics below but overall, I really stuck to the recipe. DEFINITELY give this one a shot!!
This simple home-style noodle dish made with chicken and shrimp is quick and easy to prepare. The right noodle is essential. Look in Asian markets and well-stocked food stores for the flat ribbon-shaped noodle called sen lek in Thai. They are 1/8 inch wide and made with rice flour.
- 1/2 lb. dried rice ribbon noodles (I couldn't find ribbon so I used regular flat rice noodles)
- 2 Tbs. vegetable oil, or as needed
- 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast half, about 1/4 lb., cut into strips 1/8 inch thick (I used 1lb chicken)
- 1/4 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup minced shallot or yellow onion (I used shallot)
- 3 Tbs. tomato ketchup or tomato paste (I used tomato paste)
- 2 Tbs. plus 1 1/2 tsp. Thai fish sauce
- 2 Tbs. lime juice or rice vinegar
- 1 Tbs. sugar
- 1 egg
- Large pinch of red pepper flakes (small pinch for me)
- 4 Tbs. chicken stock (I used about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 lb. mung bean sprouts
- 6 green onions, including tender green portions, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
- 1/3 cup chopped roasted peanuts (omitted)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves (for garnish - omitted - forgot)
- 1 lime, cut into 6 wedges (for garnish - omitted)
- Place the noodles in a bowl, add warm water to cover and soak until soft and pliable, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- In a nonstick wok (I used a 12 inch non-stick frying pan) over medium-high heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the oil. Add the chicken and toss and stir until opaque, about 1 minute. Add the shrimp and toss and stir until bright pink, about 1 minute more. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Return the wok to medium-high heat and add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil. Add the garlic and shallot and toss and stir until golden, about 1 minute. Increase the heat to high and add the ketchup, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar. Toss and stir until thickened, about 30 seconds.
- Crack the egg into the middle of the wok and lightly beat. Cook, without stirring, until set, about 20 seconds. Gently fold the egg into the sauce; tiny egg flecks should peek through the sauce. Add the noodles and red pepper flakes and, using tongs, toss to coat with the sauce.
- Add the stock, 2 Tbs. at a time, to moisten the stiff noodles, and cook until the noodles begin to cling together and are almost tender, about 3 minutes. Add the bean sprouts, green onions, carrot, chicken-shrimp mixture and half of the peanuts. Toss to combine and cook until the bean sprouts begin to wilt, about 3 minutes. (I probably cooked the dish for an extra 4 minutes or so while adding about 1/4 cup chicken stock at the end and letting it cook down in order to finish cooking the noodles. The noodles were al dente when I served up the pad thai.)
- Divide among individual plates and top with the remaining peanuts and the cilantro. Squeeze the lime wedges over the noodles. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Asian Flavors, by Joyce Jue (Time-Life Books, 1999).
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes