a long overdue recipe for pad thai

authentic pad thai // kitschandcamera.comafter trekking through thailand, i can safely say: there is a reason pad thai is so mainstream.authentic pad thai // kitschandcamera.comi can also validate the rumors – it really is better over there.  i was astounded by how fresh and light it tasted in thailand, although i attribute that primarily to the fact that it’s prepared that day and, in most cases, to order.  i’m not sure i can say the same of our thai food joints…authentic pad thai // kitschandcamera.comi’ve been meaning to share this recipe for pad thai for a while now (several months, actually, considering i learned this back in october!) – because i was shocked to learn how simple it is to create delicious pad thai.  it comes together so quickly to create a deeply-layered flavor explosion: salty and sweet and spicy and rich.

after investing in a few key ingredients, this dish can easily become a weeknight staple.authentic pad thai // kitschandcamera.compad thai is comprised primarily of rice noodles, bathed in a peanut-y soy sauce.  dried shrimp paste and tamarind juice add complexity to the sauce [both of those you should be able to find in your local asian grocer], while a squeeze of lime at the end brightens the dish.

the key to good pad thai is not overcooking the rice noodles – they should be light and not overly chewy or dense.  the sauce shouldn’t feel like it’s weighing them down, but rather lifting them up!  authentic pad thai // kitschandcamera.com

A RECIPE FOR AUTHENTIC PAD THAI serves 1-2

(courtesy of chiang mai’s thai farm cooking school)

//ingredients:

  • 80 g rice noodles — about a handful, uncooked
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 2 tbsp tofu or chicken, cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp pickled radish, chopped
  • 1 tbsp crushed roasted peanuts
  • 1/3 cup ripe tamarind juice (or 2 tsp white vinegar mixed with 3 tbsp water)
  • 1.5 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (can sub soy sauce)
  • 1 tsp chopped scallion
  • 1 tbsp dried shrimp paste
  • pinch of chili powder
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1-2 cloves crushed garlic
  • pinch of salt

//directions:

  1. heat oil in a wok on medium heat.  when hot, add tofu and fry until it becomes crunchy.
  2. turn heat to low.  add garlic, radish, dried shrimp & chili powder. stir until fragrant.
  3. add tamarind juice or vinegar and noodles. turn heat up to medium.
  4. stir fry until noodles are soft, ~2 minutes.
  5. move the noodles to one side of the wok, making room to crack the egg.  add egg and scramble gently with a fork to cook.
  6. add fish sauce, sugar, salt, peanuts, bean sprouts and scallions.  bring heat to high.
  7. stir fry an additional 1-2 minutes, until thoroughly mixed.
  8. serve with lemon and garnish with extra scallions.

authentic pad thai // kitschandcamera.com

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