To prepare the dry noodles, soak them in cold water, pushing them down so they are completely covered. Let soak for about an hour or until pliable.
- 454 g flat rice noodles
To prepare the dry noodles, soak them in cold water, pushing them down so they are completely covered. Let soak for about an hour or until pliable.
First, roughly chop the palm sugar, and then place into a pot, along with the fish sauce, tamarind pulp, soy sauce and Thai chili powder. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Once the sugar has fully melted, turn off the heat and set the sauce aside.
Preheat your oven to 350º degrees Fahrenheit. Roast the peanuts for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden; set aside to cool.
Squeeze out the excess water from the tofu and cut it into bite-size pieces. Cut the green onions into 2" -inch pieces. Mince the pickled radish and set aside. Grind the dried shrimp in a mortar and pestle (or finely chop). Clean and de-vein the shrimp.
Set yourself up to cook the first batch. Get the bean sprouts, crack one of the eggs and measure out half of the chicken stock.
Pulse the peanuts in a food processor a few times, until roughly chopped. Set some of the peanuts aside for garnish and place the rest into a separate bowl to be used in the pad Thai.
Roll the lime, applying some pressure to help release the juices. Halve the lime width-wise and slice each piece into 4 pieces.
Before you start cooking, drain the rice noodles. Line up your ingredients in order of use, remembering to add only half of everything because Pad Thai must be cooked in smaller batches.
Heat a wok over high heat. When the wok starts to smoke, add the peanut oil. Begin by cooking the tofu until it just starts to turn golden. Next, add the garlic and cook for a few seconds. Then add about 2 handfuls of the noodles and toss for about 30 seconds to coat them in the oil.
Add about three quarters of the stock. Once the stock reduces down, test a noodle to see if it’s cooked. Add more stock if the noodles are still a bit too firm. Move the noodles aside and drizzle the side of the wok with a bit more oil. Add the egg and let set for about 10 seconds. Scramble it slightly then fold it into the noodles.
Move the noodles aside once again, add a touch more oil, and then add the prawns. Let them cook for a minute or so, flipping them over so they cook on both sides. Once they look cooked on the outside, stir everything together. Immediately turn off the heat and add about 4 tablespoons of the sauce.
Sprinkle with some of the dried shrimp, pickled radish, a few peanuts and toss. Just before serving, add the green onions, a few handfuls of bean sprouts and fold everything together.
To finish, garnish with some of the peanuts and a squeeze of fresh lime. You can also add some fresh cilantro if you like. Serve.
Before you cook the second batch, measure out the rest of the oil, crack another egg and have your chicken stock ready. Rinse out the wok with warm water and wipe it clean with some paper towel. Follow the same order as before. Serve immediately once cooked.
The amounts in this recipe are just a very loose guide. You may want to add more fish sauce, tamarind or bean sprouts…whatever suits your fancy. You may even want to add more sauce to the Pad Thai; it's all up to you. Once you make it a few times, you’ll know what your preferences are.
Serving chili powder, limes, peanuts and sugar on the side is how it's done in Thailand. You can also serve extra fish sauce and hot sauce, so guests can add what they like.
With this dish, the best advice we can give is to have everything ready before you start cooking. Then get your wok nice and hot and away you go.
Most recipes do not add chicken stock, but it is the way we learned to do it in Thailand (I even have the cute pink apron to prove it…ha ha). It’s just a fool proof way of cooking the noodles. If you add the sauce right away, there is greater potential for sticking. Another bit of advice…don’t add the green onions and bean sprouts until you are ready to sit down and eat. Pad Thai is at its best when it's made and eaten immediately.
Soaking the Noodles:
Many recipes say to soak the noodles in warm or even hot water. I have found soaking them in cold water is a foolproof way to never over soak them. You can even soak them overnight if they are placed in cold water.
If you are in a panic though…you can soak them for about 10 to 15 minutes in warm water. Just make sure to take them out once they are pliable, otherwise they will become mushy. Any leftover noodles will keep for quite a few days in the refrigerator.
Making the Sauce:
Thai chili powder is simply ground Thai chilies. It adds a nice bit of heat to the sauce. If you cannot find Thai chili powder, you could use Sriracha sauce or a pinch or two of cayenne. Just don’t substitute with the American version of chili sauce, as it contains extra flavorings, such as black pepper and oregano.
We use about 4 tablespoons of sauce per batch, but really it’s up to you how much you use. The sauce can be made a few days in advance and refrigerated. Try to remember to bring it to room temperature before you use it.
Thai pickled radish is not the same as Chinese picked radish. It is optional in this recipe, but it adds a nice texture.
A mortar and pestle works really well for breaking up the dried shrimp. A food processor or chefs knife aren't recommended, but they will work. Just be sure to chop them really well, as the dried shrimp can be quite hard.
Cooking the Pad Thai:
Before you start cooking, it’s important that all of your ingredients are at room temperature.
Peanut oil is used, due to its mild flavor and high smoke point (over 450°F).
If using chicken, add it to the wok before you add the tofu. Let it cook for 2 or 3 minutes and then add the tofu (if using) and proceed with the recipe.
Cook only 1-2 portions at a time, just like they do in Thailand. Smaller portions are key to the success of this recipe.
A quality, well-seasoned wok is essential for the success of your Pad Thai. If foods stick when you normally cook with it, the Pad Thai will stick even worse. The wok we used was a heavy cast-iron wok, which is considered to be a “Western Style” cast- iron wok. The advantage to this wok is that it retains the heat really well. However, that can sometimes be a disadvantage, because it stays so hot you have to be more careful, since you cannot adjust the heat so quickly. That is why I turn off the wok after the prawns are cooked.
Certainly not a dumb question. In fact, I had to do a little research myself to help you out and I'm still not sure. I always referred to smaller shrimp as shrimp and larger shrimp as prawns... go figure..:) - a statement that clearly highlights my own confusion. And I've cooked for 25 years professionally.
Nevertheless, I found this blog article that might (or might not help) shed some light on the issue for those of you that are curious. Note: quite long.
http://elyclarifies.blogspot.com/2005/03/shrimp-vs-prawns.html (cut and paste).
I guess it comes down to gill structure, if you can believe it.
And other than cooking time, it won't make any difference in most recipes.
Actually it is not about the size! t is about the shell and legs.
Crustaceans are Arthropods that have an ecoskeleton (like a permanent suit of armour). It's not water tight however, which differentiates them
from insects. Crustaceans also have gills and a special aquatic larval stage.
Dividing Crustaceans up gives us 6 classes. Basically, these groups cover:
* Copepods (planktonic swimmies)
* Ostrocods (small marine swimmies)
* Branchiopods (brine shrimp and Daphnia)
* Branchiurans (parastic)
* Malacostracans (lobster, crabs, woodlice etc.)
It's the Malaconstracans you've asked about, so they divide even further (a very diverse group!)
Here we have Isopods, Amphipods and Decapods. It's the Decapods (meaning 10 legs) that contain all the lobsters, crabs, shrimp and prawns.
So, Mantis shrimp, king prawns, and snapping shrimp are all Decapods (think of that classic "prawn" body plan - long slender body with lots of legs and the head at the front with all the antennae). They're all quite closely related - at least with respect to their "order". After "order", we divide organisms up into "family", then "genus" and "species".
I hope this quickly explains the Phylum Crustacea...to answer your question in one statement:
Prawns and shrimp are very closely related - belonging to the same order (Decapoda). Both can occur in marine, estuarine and freshwater environments, depending in the species in question.
If you look carefully and examine them you can see the difference if it matters to you.
Me- I prefer the sweet flavour of fresh water prawn-just had them barbecued in Bangkok-gorgeous and yummy with loads of garlic. But for Tom Yum smaller shrimp in the shell works perfectly.
I just made this & the cucumber sunimono (sp?) salad and loved them both! The only problem I had is the noodles & the eggs were sticking to my wok. I know I used plenty of oil, but both batches had the same problem. I had to scrape noodles & eggs off my wok when I cleaned my kitchen. Any suggestions?
Two things are really important to avoid sticking.
1) the wok and oil have to be very hot before adding your ingredients - just to the smoking point.
2) your wok should be well "seasoned". Seasoning a wok is a bit tricky but it is very important. You season a wok (or pan) by heating with oil for a long time. When heated, the metal expands and opens up the pores in the metal. The oil can then go into the pours to lubricate it. If your wok (or pan) is not heated through before adding the noodles, when the metal expands, it will expose non lubricated surfaces that LOVE starchy noodles and eggs.
I found some types through google:
Keep in mind, the quality of your Wok is also important. And you never want to season a non-stick wok.
I ended up buying Tamarind concentrate (didn't realize it) and added the 6 tbsp. to the sauce. Whew! Way too strong. So I threw out that batch and started over. I guessed and only used 1 tbsp. and it turned out delish! I only found M sized noodles as well. I think my next step is to find a good Asian store in Arizona!
Tamarind concentrate is much stronger than the brick of tamarind (the one you soak). Good thing you realized this before you made the Pad Thai, thanks for pointing that out...great tip.
Medium sized noodles will also work fine, if you cannot find the larger size. In fact some restaurants only use the medium size.
Finding a good Asian store in your neighborhood is also a great idea. When I really started to get into Thai food I found the ingredients hard to find, so I called all of the local Thai restaurants and asked them where they bought their ingredients. I now have several stores to choose.
The key to this smokin' recipe has to be the tamarind paste that is the foundation of the entire thing. I have now done it twice, and each time, although slightly different, got astonishing responses from some of my most experienced (read critical) and well travelled foodie friends. And do make certain you make the effort to hunt down the palm sugar - it really is different than anything more readily available out there...
Sorry if this sound silly, but what do u mean by "never want to season a non-stick wok"?
I used a non-stick wok to cook the dish and I had also "oil-ed" the rice noodle a little bit before cooking. Anyways, me and husband love the dish and this is only my first attempt!!!
nice video. a few helpful hints, you can soak the rice noodles in warm water to soften, but not cook, the rice noodles. which in turn will reduce prep and cook time slightly.
and in the drill-down video "what is tamarind," to make the tamarind pulp a bit quicker, we usually boil it down and break it up while it is heated, and then strain it. again this is just to speed up prep time.
never used the radishes or dried shrimp myself in pad thai, but i've seen it used before. it does add body and flavor to the dish.
*I LOVE THIS SITE! and you forgot the "Sriracha sauce" condiment at the end! lol love that stuff. this dish goes especially well with spicy papaya salad.
when i made the sauce it smelt really bad, i don't know if it was the particular brand of fish sauce i used (blue dragon) or if it might be that i really dont like fish that much, even though other people in the room who do like fish agreed that something didn't smell right. anywho, is there anything else i can use instead of fish sauce, maybe a veggi version, i want to make it again, just without the pong :-) thanx
If the fish sauce you are using makes seems too fishy, you may want to try and new brand (before giving up on it all together).
Good fish sauce should have a pleasant smell of the sea, not an overwhelming smell of fish; it should also not be overly salty. Some good brands to try are “Try Chang” or “Golden Boy”, the second one is very recognizable as it has a baby boy sitting on a globe with a bottle in his arm.
There are vegetarian fish sauces available. If all else fails you could just leave the fish sauce out...did I just say that...don't tell anyone...but I do strongly encourage you to try other brands of regular fish sauce as it really adds unique and wonderful flavors to these types of dishes - and they wouldn't be quite the same without it.
Hope this helps! Good luck
You could definitely use chicken instead of shrimp or prawns. I would still highly recommend the fish sauce and even the dried shrimp but you can easily use the some diced chicken. In fact I quite like it with chicken and have eaten this way a few times.
Like I said, I would use diced chicken (not too big) and stir fry it first and then just continue on with the recipe...tofu (if using) etc.
Just have all of your mise en place ready before you get going and have fun with it.
Hope this helps!
Thank you so much. I've having Pad Thai and never know the "mystery" of adding the chiken stock. My dish is a little bit dry after adding the eggs and it doesnt create thin strips like a normal restaurant dish so I didnt add it in. In my opinion, the fresh noodle does make a difference, it make the dish a little bit chewy, not too soft as the dried ones. Just my personal reference though.
This is the first time I try and everyone loves it. So wonderful, thank you.
Hey, does anybody, for any reason at all, have a good recipe for Thai Sizzling Spinach?!?
There is a small Thai restaurant in my area that is run by a man and his two daughters, and none of them speak particularly good English! His recipe is AMAZING and I REALLY wish that I could recreate it, in some way.
In case you don't know quite what to look for, it's spinach leaves wilted in a thai peanut sauce with cashews, peanuts, and a choice of proteins or veggies.
If you find a recipe online, please post a link to this page.
When I was first outfitting my kitchen, I invested in a very heavy stainless steel wok from Calphalon. I'm realizing now this was a poor choice because it is very hard to keep food from sticking. Any tips on salvaging this expensive piece of equipment or should I just suck it up and buy a lightweight wok from the Asian market?
You might want to contact Calphalon and see if they might be able to give you some tips. Also, I am not sure what their return policy is but it's worth it to check because if you are really not happy with it perhaps they will take it back. Cheers!
I don't have a wok, would my cast iron 12 inch pan work ok? Also I have an electric stove, I hear that a flat surface pan works better in this instance as the electric heat surface does not heat up a wok as well as a flame. What do you suggest?
Yes, when trying to cook a stir fry over electric heat, woks are not ideal as they don't heat up well enough. Traditional woks sit inside a round opening with a flame directly underneath. This makes the bottom and sides of the wok extremely hot. Even a gas stove doesn't compare, but you can still obtain good results.
Woks on electric stoves don't heat up well enough, so it is best to use a stainless-steel fry pan with a large surface area so the food cooks quickly. Make to get the pan nice and hot before you start cooking. Cheers!
Hello everybody. I used a stainless steel frying pan and it did the job quite good. None of the ingredients stuck to it. Then I could enjoy a better dish than the ones I tryied in restaurants. An al dente texture for the noodle made a great difference. Thanks a lot!
Is there a substitute for the radish?
Since this sauce contains components that all last for a very long time on their own, the sauce will keep for several weeks in a tightly-sealed container in the refrigerator. As with all things, make sure you taste it/smell it before using to make sure. Cheers!
I just completed a four week Thai cooking series in Oakland, CA taught by a Thai lady fiercly committed to "authentic" thai cooking. I wanted to give Rouxbe kudos for having much more authentic ingredients and techniques in your Thai based recipes than you see in most websites or cookbooks in North America. From the tamarind paste, dried shrimps and preserved cabbage, to soaking the noodles in cold water, you perfectly matched the "authentic" approach we just learned. Thanks for putting up such a quality product!
I've made this dish ~10 times now, and I'm still working on perfecting it. I thought I would post my various problems and solutions, and invite feedback from the other Pad Thai enthusiasts. I cook this dish with gas, a 14 inch stainless steel fry pan, and a plastic spatula.
Problem 1: Clumpy noodles
It seems like there's multiple opportunities in the cooking for this problem. Tonight I rinsed the noodles after soaking them to remove starch in case this is a cause. I also used a salad spinner to thoroughly dry them. They looked very sticky and a little brittle within a few seconds of hitting the pan, but were perfect as soon as I added the stock.
I've also managed to clump them up when I'm cooking the shrimp or even the egg. My guess is that the shrimp cook too slowly, and the noodles will to stick together while they're cooling on the side of the pan. Is it really the lower temperature that causes the sticking in the phase, or is it that I'm not actively moving them around?
I've tried solving this by increasing heat to cook the shrimp faster. I don't think my pan responds quickly enough for this to make a difference. If the shrimp/prawns are on the large side I've split them in half to accelerate the cooking. Regardless they always take more than a minute to cook, and the noodles suffer. Tonight I cheated with precooked shrimp, but I would really prefer to master this with raw shrimp. I am certain that my pan and oil are at the proper temperature when I start the dish. Maybe it can only be properly done in a wok.
Problem 2: Burning garlic
Even though I give it just a few seconds before adding the noodles it burns almost every time. I think part of this is that I have some difficulty fully incorporating the ingredients while cooking. I'm moving the tofu, noodles, and garlic around with the spatula but the garlic tends to stay on the bottom of the pan, hence the burning. If I turn the temperature down, the pan will not be hot enough to cook the egg in a timely manner. My solution has been to add it after the noodles. This always works, but I would like to know why I can't repeat the recipe exactly with good results.
Problem 3: Trouble folding the ingredients evenly
I'm not sure why this is happening, and I don't have this problem with any other dish I can think of. Even though I fold and move with the spatula, the noodles, tofu and shrimp all like to hang out by themselves in these little cliques. By the time I turn off the gas to add the sauce and finishings things are fairly well distributed, but this problem is probably part of the reason the garlic tends to burn. I was thinking of breaking the noodles in half next time to see if that would help.
On the plus side, the sauce is absolutely delicious and easy to make. I also love cubing the tofu into pretty small pieces to maximize the surface to volume, and give all surfaces a really nice crispy crust. I'm probably overcooking it a little but I do like it this way. I've looked at many other recipes and have never seen one that uses chicken stock. I think this is an awesome way to get a little more flavor into the noodles, and also offer a little control over their final texture (assuming I don't clump them up).
In spite of my problems, I love the flavor of this Pad Thai more than the closest take-out options. I'm still not consistently good enough to feel confident serving this to friends though. Any critical feedback is welcome. I'll keep practicing.