Several years back I was out of town on a business trip and was wandering downtown looking for somewhere to go for dinner. I stopped at one particular restaurant and had a quick browse of the menu in the window. Most of the menu was what you would expect but there was one dish listed that caught my attention.
There under pasta, was a dish called “Pad Thai”, described as a noodle dish with chicken, shrimp, bean sprouts, and rice noodles. This immediately caught my attention, it sounded really good, it tasted even better. From that point forward Pad Thai became one of my favourite dishes.
I’ve tried making it at home on numerous occasions to varying degrees of success. It’s not an overly complicated dish but can be tricky to make. The key is the sauce, store bought sauces tend to be far too sweet. A good Pad Thai sauce should have some sweetness to it but should have some sour notes. It’s really about the Tamarind sauce, it’s what gives the dish its distinctive flavour.
I find Tamarind root difficult to find but most groceries stores will sell a Tamarind paste which you can find in the aisle with Asian sauces. Mix one packet of the paste with 2 tbsp of water and instant Tamarind liquid.
Chicken and Shrimp Pad Thai.
The first step in making Pad Thai is to get your noodles ready. Place them in bowl of hot water and let them soak for about 20-30 minutes or until they begin to soften.
Now make your sauce. Mix together Soy Sauce, Lime Juice (fresh is better if you have the limes), Fish Sauce, Chili Paste, Brown Sugar, & Tamarind liquid. Mix everything together season with pepper and set aside.
To make my Tamarind liquid I mix together one packet of the Tamarind paste with 2 Tbsp of water.
Next up is to chop and prep the rest of your ingredients. The dish comes together quite quickly when cooking so it’s vital to have everything pre-chopped and ready to go.
Check your noodles, if they are ready remove them from the bowl of water and give them a quick rinse under cold water and let drain.
Once you’re ready heat your wok (or large frying pan) over medium high heat. Add your cooking oil and heat until it begins to shimmer. Add in your shrimps along with the garlic and green onion. Saute until the shrimp begin to turn pink. Remove from the pan onto a plate and keep warm.
Next up is your chicken. Add your chicken and saute until the chicken pieces begin to brown. To help prevent the chicken from sticking it’s a good idea to quick move the chicken pieces around the wok. Once the chicken has started to brown remove to the plate with the shrimp and continue to keep warm.
Add your eggs and break the yolks. Let them set for about a minute and then lightly scramble them. Add in your bean sprouts, noodles, and sauce and combine everything. Add the chicken and shrimp mixture and continue to stir-fry for 2-3 min until everything is heated through.
Transfer the dish to a serving bowl and sprinkle the chopped peanuts and crushed chilies over the top. Normally I would also add a handful of chopped cilantro as well.
Garnish with some chopped green onion and lime wedges.
Chicken and Prawn Pad Thai
- 1/2 medium rice stick noodles
- 3 tbsp. brown sugar
- 3 tbsp. fish sauce
- 3 tbsp. lime juice
- 3 tbsp. Tamarind liquid
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. chili paste (sambal oelek)
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 3 tbsp cooking oil
- 1/2 – 1 lb raw shrimp (peeled and deveined)
- 2 chicken breasts cut into slices
- 1/4 cup of sliced green onion
- 3 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups bean sprouts
- 1/2 cup peanuts (coarsely chopped)
- 1/4 tsp dried crushed chilies
- Cover the noodles with hot water and let soak 20-30 minutes until softened. Remove from hot water, rinse with cold water and drain well.
- Combine next 7 ingredients and set aside
- Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a wok over medium high heat. Add the shrimp, garlic and green onion until the shrimp begin to turn pink. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
- Add 1 tbsp of oil back to the wok and the chicken. Stir-fry the chicken until it begins to brown. Transfer to the plate with the shrimp and continue to keep warm.
- Add the eggs to the wok and break the yolks. Let the eggs cook until partially set, then stir-fry until set.
- Add the bean sprouts, noodles, and sauce and toss until coated. Add in the chicken and shrimp and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until everything is heated through.
- Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle the peanuts and crushed chillies over the top. Garnish with chopped green onion and lime wedges.