There are many ways to make Pad Thai. I know this because I read dozens of recipes before I embarked on one of my own. This has always been my practice. I like to understand the science behind the recipe and then I can adapt it to suit my family and my unique style of cooking.
When I cook I think of only two things. First, will they eat it if I bother to make it? Second, how can I make this as easily and quickly as possible? If there is even a tiny shadow of a doubt that they won’t eat it I will not make it. If it is too labor intensive then I will not bother, no matter how amazing it looks. I learned this the hard way with Martha Stewart and her Home Made Marshmallow horror show a few years ago, but I still adore Martha regardless.
As my kids have gotten older I have less time at home to cook, however, making sure that I have nutritious food on hand for everyone is at the very top of my daily list of priorities. So I spent a few hours researching Pad Thai.
I make this for my own kids, but I’ve made this twice for fairly big dinner parties. I use the term “dinner party” loosely as most of my dinners and parties include many kids and less and less adults, cloth napkins, polished silver, and other makings of an adult dinner party. I made this to rave reviews for a 16th birthday party.
Please note that THERE IS NO NEED TO BOIL RICE NOODLES! You can soak them in a bowl of warm water and make yourself a gin and tonic instead. Because the noodles are made of rice, this dish is essentially gluten free with the exception of the soy sauce, but use Tamari instead and this problem is solved.
I served this with egg rolls, pot stickers and plain white rice for those kids (the ones who won’t eat anything new – ever).
Ingredients for the Sauce:
2 TBS sesame oil
4 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
3 Tablespoons lime juice or 2 limes squeezed in pan
3 Tablespoons tangerine juice or 2 tangerines squeezed in pan
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
Ingredients for the Pad Thai:
8 oz. Pad Thai noodles
½ lb. thin-sliced boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
½ Tablespoon sesame oil
2 medium carrots purchased grated
1 red pepper chopped
1 head broccoli chopped into bite size pieces
1 zucchini diced
Salted/roasted peanuts, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1. In a glass bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients and set aside or if drunk just add the ingredients at the end and stir into the noodles and vegetables.
2. You can cook the rice noodles by submerging them in a bowl of warm water until they are tender or let them sit while you do the following steps. This is the drunk mothers way to do it, so they are not overdone.
3. Heat a large wok and add sesame oil. When oil is hot add the chicken and ginger and cook until chicken is white.
4. Add vegetables and cook for 2-3 minutes so they are still crunchy. Remove the pan from heat and toss in the noodles and sauce. Toss well to combine. Garnish with chopped cilantro and peanuts and serve warm or whenever.
*I do not use egg in my Pad Thai because my children do not like it, but if you would like to add it then scramble one egg along with the chicken and ginger in step 4.