authentically authentic pad thai


I don’t know why I got a sudden urge to try making a Thai dish. I’ve never been a huge fan or anything — although I certainly don’t hate it. Just felt like something different, I guess.

The name is a joke, because when I was looking on, every recipe would have at least one commenter squawking about how “It’s nawt awthentick!!” Granted, some of them clearly WOULD have gotten you laughed out of a Thai kitchen. Like using soy sauce instead of fish sauce? Even a newb like me knows you can’t call it pad thai if it don’t use fish sauce, even if the stuff does smell like the hooha of a crack whore that’s ain’t bathed since the Iran-Contra hearings.

In the end I couldn’t find any one recipe that I liked, so this is a conglomerate of a few different ones, with some additions of my own.

Soak 12 oz. of rice noodles in cold water until softened. This will take up to an hour, so be prepared. I like the medium-width noodles best, not too broad or too fine. And you might want to crack then in half first, if they’re long. I wound up having to cut them because they were so long that I couldn’t initially get them to integrate with the other ingredients, no matter how much I stirred.

Cook a couple of chicken breasts, allow to cool, then shred into bite-size pieces. You can substitute shrimp, pork, tofu, or pretty much anything else for chicken. Just make sure it’s pre-cooked.

 To make the pad thai sauce, combine:

in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Whisk while it’s simmering to break up the tamarind pulp. Set aside.

Heat up 1/2 cup peanut oil in a wok. When it’s popping add:

  • 3 crushed garlic cloves
  • 4 eggs

Stir until the eggs are scrambled.

Add your softened, drained noodles and your meat or meat substitute.

Stir in:

  • pad thai suace
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cup crushed peanuts (You’ll want to crush them ahead of time.)

Stir for a few minutes, then remove from heat and toss with about (I didn’t really measure here):

  • 1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 tbsp. Sriracha sauce. This will give it a nice heat without overpowering the flavors. As I get older, I find myself less interested in spice levels that melt your face off and totally destroy the flavor of what you’re actually eating.

Serve with a lime wedge and some soybean sprouts on the side.

So that’s my pad thai recipe. I don’t know if actual Thai people would turn up their noses at it or what, but I really like it.


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