I do hate to tell a lie. So if I’m being honest, I wasn’t the biggest fan of pad thai prior to visiting Thailand. This may be due, in part, to the fervor with which my person loves this dish. If nothing else, I am what could be described as “needlessly defiant” and his absolute obsession with it made me go “meh” to pad thai whenever it was suggested. With all that said, I’m never one to turn down a new experience, so while traveling I tried this dish. I tried it both in restaurants and from street carts and I urge you to take any snobbishness you may harbor and throw it out the window because the street cart pad thai was infinitely superior to the restaurant pad thai. It was fresher and cheaper, plus you get to eat it at the nearby picnic tables with cold beer watching all the tourists mosey along.
We were lucky enough to take a cooking class in Chiang Mai where we learned the traditional way of making this delicious noodle-based dish. Upon returning home (and waiting an appropriate amount of time, since we were a bit fed up of Thai food in the weeks following our trip) we decided it was time to put those cooking skills to use! I was able to find most of the necessary ingredients in my regular market; I began by chopping the bean sprouts, scallions, garlic, chicken and tofu:
Then I put on the noodles to boil while heating up the skillet. The noodles should only take a few minutes to cook, so keep an eye on them!
This process of cooking it all up takes a little finesse and pay attention, cause it happens fast:
First, heat regular vegetable or canola oil over low heat, then throw in the garlic to flavor the oil. Then add the chicken and tofu, cook for about one minute. Next break an egg (if you’re into that sort of thing) and add oyster sauce and fish sauce, then crank up the heat. Now, add the noodles to the mix, followed immediately by a tablespoon on water. This is a very important step, but a little scary. Do not be afraid! Forge ahead and add the rest of the veggies. Give it a stir or two and BAM! It’s done.
The entire process only takes about 5 minutes once the pan is hot and it is well worth it. This dish is traditionally garnished with peanuts, red pepper flakes and lime. All of that, as always, is completely up to you!
What’s your favorite Thai or Asian dish?