I enjoy cooking and consider myself to be pretty good at it. This is one of my favourite dishes and I’m posting it because I know it’s a popular one. This recipe is restaurant quality Pad Thai if you can find the ingredients. I live in a large city with many Asian supermarkets close by. Not everyone will be able to find some ingredients, so I’ve included notes with substitutions. It won’t taste exactly the same but will still be outstanding. This will serve 2-3 people.
175 g (6 oz) dried instant rice noodles
1 ½ tbsp tamarind paste (note 1)
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 ½ tbsp oyster sauce (note 2)
2-3 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
2 garlic gloves, minced
1 shallot, minced
175 g (6 oz) chicken breast, thinly sliced (note 3)
½ cup firm tofu, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 eggs, lightly beaten (note 4)
1 cup bean sprouts
4 stalks sawtooth coriander, thinly sliced (note 5)
10 stalks Chinese chives, trim bottoms, cut into 2-inch pieces (note 6)
Garnish: (note 7)
½ cup shredded cabbage
¼ cup roasted peanuts, finely chopped
- Place noodles in a large heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak for 5 minutes then drain in a colander and rinse under cold water. Don’t let them sit for more than 5-10 minutes so ensure you have prepped everything in advance.
- Mix sauce in a small bowl.
- In a large non-stick or seasoned wok or frying pan, heat oil over high heat. Add the garlic and shallots, cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add the chicken and tofu and stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Push everything to one side, pour in the egg on the other side. Scramble with a wooden spoon and add extra oil of too dry. Once cook, mix into chicken.
- Add sauce. Then add noodles and stir for 2-3 minutes until noodles are soft and shiny.
- Stir in bean sprouts, coriander, and chives, mixing well, then quickly turn off heat.
- Immediately plate, sprinkling on chilli powder depending on how spicy you like it. On the side add the chopped peanuts, shredded cabbage, and squeeze a lime wedge over the dish. Enjoy!
- Tamarind paste is what gives Pad Thai it’s unique taste. If you can’t find it locally, it is available on Amazon. Some places use ketchup (eww) as a substitute. If you must, this is a substitute sauce: 1 tbsp ketchup, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 2 tbsp fish sauce, 2 tsp oyster sauce, 1 tsp dark soy sauce, 2 tbsp rice vinegar (or white vinegar). It will be close to the real thing.
- If you are allergic to shellfish or vegan, I’ve seen an imitation vegetarian oyster sauce in Asian markets.
- To make the dish vegan, leave out the chicken and double the tofu.
- I don’t add the egg when I prepare it but it’s part of the dish. Eliminate to make the dish vegan.
- Sawtooth coriander is milder than ordinary coriander or cilantro. You can chop up cilantro leaves as a substitute. I personally don’t like cilantro.
- Chinese chives taste more like a vegetable than a herb. A substitute would be green onions/scallions because they will give the dish a similar appearance. Cut off the white ends and use the green stems. Use only half as much because they have a sharper taste to Chinese chives.
- The garnishes are optional except the lime. Definitely serve with limes.