Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pad Thai

This is the 100th post on the blog! Good work, family--I think we've created something wonderful here. Keep on postin'! Now that I'm writing this 100th post, I feel like I should commemorate it with some kind of special recipe, but this is just what I made for dinner tonight. In the end I guess that's the most appropriate thing to post, since the only theme for our blog is "food the Magidows cook".

I learned this recipe from my roommate, JiJY, and it's the 'dry' style of pad thai, rather than the saucier American style. You can use any meat and add vegetables as you like, though it's best kept simple. The most important trick is to keep the noodles undercooked, since you want them to stay robust at the end. Tamarind sauce can be a little harder to find, but most Asian stores carry it--unfortunately there are no substitutions for this and you need it to proceed. If the paste is very thick, thin it with hot water so that it pours readily but still coats a spoon.

1 lb. 1/8"-wide rice noodles (aka 'medium rice sticks', 'ban pho')
1 lb. meat, diced (chicken or pork) or raw shrimp, whole
2 shallots, minced
2 small hot chiles, sliced thin
1 small onion, sliced thin
(you can also add 1-2 c. of another vegetable here, such as broccoli or spinach)
2 eggs, beaten with a dash of fish sauce and a pinch of sugar
3-4 green onions, in 1.5" pieces
2-3 c. fresh beansprouts

1/3 c. tamarind sauce
3 Tbsp. oyster sauce
3 Tbsp. fish sauce
3-4 Tbsp. brown sugar
oil for frying

1/4 c. peanuts, roasted and crushed
lime wedges
cilantro for garnish

Soak the noodles in hot tap water until they're soft enough to bend without snapping, but still firm (about 30 min.), drain. Using kitchen shears, snip the noodles a few times so that they will be easier to manage in the pan.

In your largest frying pan or wok, heat 3-4 Tbsp. oil until very hot. Add the shallots and hot chiles and stir over high heat for ~1 min. Add the meat and a dash of fish sauce and cook until the meat is cooked through and beginning to brown (if you use shrimp, hardly cook them at all). Add the onion slices and cook until they just begin to stoften. Add the vegetable (if it is something chunky like broccoli you should blanch it before adding) and cook until just tender, adding some fish sauce and oyster sauce partway through cooking.

Clear the meat and veggies to the side of the pan and add a little more oil. Pour the beaten eggs into the center of the pan and stir them constantly until they cook through and are fluffy. Mix everything in the pan together well.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the drained noodles to the pan. Pour the tamarind sauce over and add some more oyster sauce and the brown sugar. Combine the noodles, meat, vegetables, and sauce until everything is well coated. Taste and adjust for seasoning using the above sauces. Add the green onions and beansprouts and toss until they soften a little.

Serve with lime wedges, cilantro leaves, and crushed peanuts to garnish. The texture should be somewhat dry and the noodles should be resilient. I'm not sure how to make the saucier style of pad thai, but I think you would just add more oyster sauce and sugar and reduce the tamarind.


Anonymous said...

Heres a good video recipe for pad thai at

The Middle Child said...

So, I find that adding a bit more brown sugar, and a couple tablespoons of dark soy sauce pretty much approximates the "pad lao" that a place in Madison served. It's pretty tasty this way - a bit saucier, but the sweetness comes out nicely.

JiJY said...

You have a 'pak chee roi nah'.