The other day, a very dear friend’s daughter ended up in the E.R, seizing from a high fever. After a long, stressful day and night, she gave me a call, requesting my Pad Thai for dinner that night. Of course, I was delighted to provide one of my favorite meals with someone else who gets as excited about it as I do! So now you can too! I know there’s a million versions out there, but I find this one to be simple and tasty, and you’re not going to be scraping out tamarinds or using impossible-to-find ingredients. I pretty much always have the stuff on hand to make this, and it’s ideal for gluten and dairy free people, because it’s naturally that way. Yay for Thai food!
Pad Thai a la Tamara
First: before you start masterfully combining ingredients into the delicious sauce, throw a pot of water on to boil. Make the sauce while the water heats up.
Ingredients for the peanut sauce:
1/4 c. peanut butter (natural, I use chunky)- warmed so it’s melty
1 T. red curry paste
1/2 c. coconut milk (full fat canned stuff tastes best)
3 T. fish sauce
Juice of 1 lime
1 T. chili sauce (Sambal Oelek Ground Fresh Chili Paste- green lid, gold label with a red rooster on it)
2 T. rice vinegar
1 T. fresh grated ginger (MUST be fresh…ground just doesn’t cut it)
2 t. fresh grated or pressed garlic (again…fresh)
Put it all in a bowl and mix it up until it’s a pinky reddish brown smooth sauce. Doesn’t need to be heated.
Second: The water is boiling! Turn off the heat and put in one 6 -8 oz package of Pad Thai noodles (wide rice noodles), mix ’em around a bit, and let sit for 10 minutes or until they’re soft, but not mushy. While they’re sitting in the water, cook the meat.
Now for the meat! This dish can be left without meat if you wish, or use tofu or shrimp. I use chicken because, again, it’s easy.
Take 2 frozen chicken breasts (boneless, skinless), and semi-defrost them. They’re easier to cut into bite-size chunks when they’re still a little frozen. Throw them in a frying pan with a little oil (I use sesame or avocado oil), more freshly grated ginger and garlic, and a tablespoon of the chili sauce. Cook until done and drain off the liquid.
Your timer should now be going off for the noodles, so drain them in a colander and put them into a bowl, along with the chicken and the sauce. Mix it up and voila! Tasty.
To serve it, I would recommend having a bowl of crushed peanuts, a bowl of cilantro, a bowl of bean sprouts, and a bowl of lime slices on the table. Layer a bit of each on and you’ve got the tastiest Pad Thai around (and it looks fancy!).
Serves about 4, depending on how hungry you are and if you have side dishes 🙂 Leftovers are never a bad thing, in my opinion.