UPDATE: Hey there! I’m happy you found this popular recipe. I still love eating it at home and hope you will too. I wanted to leave you a quick note to let you know that I’m no longer posting recipes (as of January 2013). I *am* still posting, and welcome you to check out some of my newer posts.
I have had a love-hate relationship with Pad Thai for a while now. I loved it when I had it in Thailand and I hated it anytime I ordered it at a restaurant stateside. You see, the so-called Pad Thai I’ve had in restaurants has always been coated in this weird orange-colored sauce that scares me. It tastes funny too. But when I visited Thailand 7 years ago, I learned that real Pad Thai is not orange or scary. Not even a little bit.
I also learned that the peppers in the panang curry in Thailand are not bell peppers like they are over here. I learned this as the locals in the restaurant all laughed at me when I burst into flames. Well, maybe I didn’t burst into flames and maybe they didn’t laugh at me, but it was a lesson I will never forget. Peppers in Thailand are hot… even the ones that look like bell peppers.
Anyway, enough about spontaneous combustion. I was telling you about my love-hate relationship with Pad Thai. I still sometimes order it, holding out hope that I’ll find the same light, fresh noodles sans freaky orange sauce that I loved in Thailand only to be disappointed once again.
But no more. Not since I found an easy and tasty Pad Thai recipe in the latest issue of Everyday Food (which by the way is quickly becoming my favorite food magazine).
Granted, the recipe is not 100% authentic — it doesn’t use fish sauce and tamarind and the 100 other ingredients the authentic version calls for — but it is light and fresh and easy with a capital E. You can seriously have this ready in 30 minutes flat (and most of that time is just soaking the noodles). I’ve made it 4 times in 2 weeks and unless I am on a beach in Thailand, I am never ordering Pad Thai in a restaurant again.
** Updates **
- Several readers who tried the recipe loved the flavor but felt the noodles were a little too dry so they doubled the sauce recipe. So you may want to try that as well. I tried doubling the sauce but it made it a little too tangy for my liking, still a lot of people like it doubled. So give it a try if you like things a little saucy.
- Another idea for the dryness was to try boiling the noodles instead of soaking them… I haven’t tried it, but if you have, I’d love to know if that helps!
- A clarification… I noticed several pins that say “The blogger lived in Thailand and said it is closer to authentic than take out.” — So yeah… hi. I never lived in Thailand. I did visit for 2 weeks and eat several plates of Pad Thai on the beach, and this recipe does come closer to what I ate there than what I usually find in restaurants… But yeah, I didn’t live in Thailand. (just want to be upfront)
- A question… What else would you like to see? I’ve had one request for peanut sauce, and I’ll be posting that soon, but what else?
Now, let’s make some Pad Thai…
First, you need 8 ounces of wide, flat rice noodles. The kind I use comes in a 16 ounce box, so I use about half a box.
Soak the noodles according to the package directions. The ones I use get soaked in hot (not boiling) water (like the hottest tap water) for 25 minutes.
Chop up some cilantro and some salted peanuts. Also slice a lime into wedges. Set aside.
For the non-freaky, non-orange-colored sauce you need soy sauce, lime juice and brown sugar. (See nothing scary).
In a small bowl, measure 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
plus 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice (which is about the juice of 1 lime)
plus 3 tablespoons of soy sauce. Whisk this together until the sugar is dissolved.
If you have it around, add a squirt of Sriracha. A squirt amounts to maybe a 1/8 teaspoon. Just a little bit adds a nice flavor without making it spicy. If you really like spicy, you can add more but I usually just add a little squirt then Dan can add more when he’s eating if he wants it spicier.
Grab about 3 scallions (aka green onions). I keep mine in a small glass with some water. I find this keeps them fresher longer so I can use them up throughout the week (instead of finding them wilted and gross in the refrigerator after 2 days).
Separate the white and green parts. Slice the white parts thinly. Cut the green parts into ribbons (about 2 inches long).
You’ll need 2 eggs.
Beat ‘em up.
No, really. Beat ‘em good.
A lonely clove of garlic. If it is a runt, use 2. You’re going to want to mince it or use a garlic press (this is my favorite garlic press).
When the noodles are done soaking, drain them and set aside. Don’t worry if they don’t feel “done”, they will cook in the pan and be perfect. I was worried the first time but it all worked out even though the noodles felt a little leathery after their hot bath.
Heat a couple of teaspoons of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
Collect all of the prepared ingredients. You’ll want them handy because it all goes really fast from here. P.S. You want to have a clean plate or bowl nearby, you’ll need it in a minute.
Throw the white parts of the scallions and the minced/pressed garlic into the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, until it is fragrant (about 30 seconds).
Add the eggs to the skillet.
Cook it and scrape with a spatula…
until almost set (about 30 seconds – 1 minute).
Now you use that clean plate/bowl: put the eggs aside.
Toss the noodles in the pan.
With the green parts of your scallions.
Pour in the non-freaky, non-orange sauce.
Stir it all around until the noodles are soft (about 1 minute).
This is your opportunity to separate any noodles that are stuck together. They don’t always stick together but sometimes a few fall in love and you have to step in and break things up.
Add the eggs back to the pan and toss to coat
Breaking up the eggs gently.
Now comes the fun part…
Top off each serving with a little cilantro and chopped peanuts. Serve with a lime wedge. Eat it. It’s good. Seriously.
Easy Pad Thai
(adapted from Everyday Food)
8 ounces dried, wide and flat rice noodles
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus wedges for serving
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 squirt (about 1/8 teaspoon) Sriracha (optional)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3 scallions (green onions), white and green parts, separated and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 large eggs, light beaten (optional)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped roasted, salted peanuts
- Soak noodles according to package instructions. Drain.
- In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, lime juice, soy sauce, and Sriracha.
- In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.
- Add scallion whites and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add eggs and cook, scraping skillet with spatula until eggs are almost set (about 30 seconds). Transfer eggs to a plate.
- Add noodles, scallion greens, and sauce to skillet. Cook, tossing constantly, until noodles are soft (about 1 minute). Add egg mixture and toss to coat, breaking eggs up gently.
- Serve noodles with lime wedges, topped with cilantro and peanuts.
Notes and variations
- Per serving: 315 calories, 7g fat (0.9g saturated fat), 3.6g protein, 60.5g carb, 1.4g fiber
- Per serving: $1.50 or less.
- As long as you use a gluten-free soy sauce, this is a gluten-free recipe.
- Vegetarian, even. Skip the eggs for vegan.
- If you’re a carnivore try this: While the noodles are soaking, cut up 1 small chicken breast (or half of one of the colossal ones) into bite sized pieces. Marinate the chicken in a little bit of soy sauce and garlic (or make a little extra of the sauce for the noodles and marinate the chicken in that). OR: use shrimp (marinate same as chicken)… heck, use both. Cook them before you add the noodles to the pan.
- Leftovers: heat in the microwave or toss in a hot skillet for a minute to warm the noodles. Not as good as the first day but with a little extra lime juice, it makes a nice leftover-lunch.