It seems to me that back in the states, Pad Thai is by far the most popular dish in Thai cuisine. Every time I ask my friends what they like the most, the answer is almost always Pad Thai. I’m not saying it isn’t popular in Thailand as well, but for whatever reason it seems to have skyrocketed to the top as Americans’ “favorite Thai dish”.
Who wouldn’t love such a concoction? Noodles, eggs, meat/tofu, peanuts, bean sprouts, lime? It’s awesome! I will say though that the Pad Thai available in the states is not nearly as good as the Pad Thai available in Thailand … at least in many restaurants … why? Because of the sauce. So many restaurants in the states cover the Pad Thai in a thick peanuty sauce that takes over the taste of the entire dish. My best friend Cory can attest to this … Pad Thai in Thailand = much better!
So, here I offer you a traditional recipe for Pad Thai. This recipe is a perfect blend of flavors, none too overwhelming, that will satisfy everyone’s Pad Thai craving. I’m not promising this is better than all Pad Thai you’ve had in the states, but let me tell you, it’s still pretty fantastic. Enjoy!
Phad Thai Jay - Vegetarian Phad Thai
- 1/3 cup plain vegetable oil
- 4 oz 2-3 millimeter wide dried rice noodles, prepared
- 2/3 cup Phad Thai sauce
- 1 TBSP shrimp paste in oil, optional
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 medium shallot, peeled and finely chopped
- ¾ cup firm tofu, optional
- 2 large eggs, cracked into a bowl
- 6-7 stalks Chinese chives
- 2 cups bean sprouts
- Sugar, dried red pepper flakes, fish sauce, lime, chopped peanuts, Chinese chives
- Cut the chive blades into 1-inch pieces; reserve bottom parts for garnish. Mix 1-inch pieces with bean sprouts and set aside.
- Set a flat pan or wok over medium-high heat, add half of vegetable oil.
- Once oil is hot, add noodles followed by sauce (and shrimp oil is using); stir constantly keeping the noodles moving at all times.
- After 30-40 seconds or once noodles are slightly softened, push them to one side of the pan and add the remaining vegetable oil.
- Add garlic, shallots, and tofu (if using). Stir on one side of the pan but still move noodles around on other side so they don’t burn.
- Once garlic and shallots have browned slightly mix in with the noodles and push mixture back to one side of the pan.
- Pour broken eggs onto empty side of the dish; scramble with spatula and then let cook undisturbed on one side of the pan before flipping and breaking them into smaller pieces.
- Once eggs are done your noodles should be soft and chewy, sauce has been absorbed into noodles, and little bits of shallots and garlic are crispy.
- Take off the heat and mix all together. Add two handfuls of chive-bean sprout mixture and give a gentle stir.
- Serve topped with 2-3 TBSP chopped peanuts, a wedge of lime, and chive stalks. Season individually to taste with fish sauce, sugar, and dried red pepper flakes.
- This dish cooks very fast! Make sure that you watch the heat, add things immediate, and don’t overcook. This is one of the more stressful dishes to make (at least for me!) and definitely takes practice!
- Cooking the egg is the hardest part! You want to make sure the excess water is out or it will end up a goopy mess. Let the egg fry up. You can break it apart and sort of scramble it in the pan as well. Any method works.