Chicken Pad Thai
Connie "Kiyu" Guerrero
You have the option of either shrimp or chicken. Use the same ingredients and sauce. Please reduce the sugar or fish sauce to your own preference.
PAD THAI (MEAT & VEGGIES)
10 ozrice noodles
1-2 largechicken breast (sliced)
1/2 mediumcabbage (1/2
1 pkgfresh bean sprouts
1/2 mediumonions (sliced)
4 clovegarlic (crushed and chopped)
4 largegreen onions stalks (1/
1/2 ccashews or peanuts (chopped)
1 cfresh coriander (chopped)
1 cchicken stock, light
1/4 ccooking oil
1 Tbspcorn starch
3 Tbspsoy sauce (kikkoman light)
1 1/2 csnow peas (optional)
2 mediumcarrots (split in two and wedge cut)
PAD THAI SAUCE
3/4 Tbsptamarine paster (any asian market)
2 Tbspfish sauce
1-3 Tbspchili sauce (test to your taste)
1 Tbsprice vinegar (more or less)
2-3 Tbspbrown sugar (more or less)
1 1/2 Tbspsesame oil (optional)
How to Make Chicken Pad Thai
- Warm a pot of water on the stove until just before boiling. Remove from heat and immerse rice noodles. Allow to sit while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Chicken Marinate:
Here is a very quick Asian-style marinade for meat which you can use with any stir-fry. Place 2-3 Tbsp. soy sauce in a cup (use 3 Tbsp. for 1 1/2 cups sliced chicken, or 2 Tbsp. for 1 cup chicken). Add 2 tsp. cornstarch and stir until the cornstarch dissolves. Now pour this mixture over the sliced chicken. Stir to combine. Allow the chicken to marinate in this mixture until ready to use.
- To make the Pad Thai sauce, start with the tamarind paste. Measure approx. 3/4 Tbsp. of this sticky black paste into a cup. Add 1/4 cup water and add vinegar, stir until the paste dissolves in the water (it helps if you use warm water).
Now add 2 Tbsp. fish sauce, 1-3 tsp. or more red chili sauce, depending on how spicy you want it, and 2 1/2 to 3 Tbsp. brown sugar.
Note: This may seem like a lot of sugar, but you need it to balance out the sourness of the tamarind paste. This balance is what makes Pad Thai taste so wonderful!
If you're not sure how much sugar to use, taste-test the sauce - note that it will be very strong at this point (the taste will be "watered-down" when distributed over the noodles). Set sauce near the stove for use later.
- Check the noodles by picking out a few strands with your fingers. The noodles should have turned from translucent ("see through") to opaque (pure white).
Another way to see if noodles are done soaking is to check the texture. They should be soft enough to eat, but still firm. Remember: the noodles still have to be fried, so don't over-soak them, or they will turn out "mushy" instead of chewy.
I find about 20 minutes of soaking time is enough. Drain and run through with cold water to keep them from sticking. Reserve.
- Place a large (deep-sided) frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. When the wok/pan is hot, add 1-2 Tbsp. oil plus minced garlic and onions. Stir-fry until fragrant (30 seconds to 1 minute).
Add the chicken (together with the marinade). Stir-fry until the wok or pan becomes dry (30 seconds to 1 minute). Add your carrots and stir well, cover pan and let cook for 3 minutes.
Now begin adding some of the chicken stock. Add only a few Tbsp. at a time, enough to keep the chicken frying nicely. Keep stir-frying and adding stock until all the chicken stock (1/2 cup) is used up and chicken pieces/strips are cooked (about 5-8 minutes).
- Using a spatula or wooden spoon, push chicken to the outside of the wok or pan. Now add the egg, pouring it into the space you've made in the centre. Quickly stir-fry until egg is cooked (this part is like making scrambled eggs).
Don't worry if some of the chicken gets mixed up with the egg - Pad Thai is a messy business, so this is just fine!
- Now add the noodles (over the chicken/egg). Pour the Pad Thai sauce over the noodles, trying to distribute it as evenly as possible.
- Using two spatulas, wooden spoons, or other utensils, quickly stir-fry the noodles. Use a "lift and turn" method (almost as though you were tossing a salad) instead of the usual stir-frying motion, or the noodles with break apart.
After frying the noodles in this way for 1-2 minutes, add the bean sprouts, cabbage and sugar peas, plus about 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper (sprinkle the black pepper over). Continue "tossing" for 1 more minute, or until noodles are done.
When done, the noodles will taste soft but still chewy and a little sticky. At this point, you can add more fish sauce if you don't find the noodles salty enough (I usually add about 1 more Tbsp.).
Note: Do not add any more liquid (other than fish or chili sauce) as you finish stir-frying, or your noodles will become "mushy". If your wok/frying pan is too dry, push noodles aside and add 1-2 Tbsp. oil, then continue cooking the noodles until done.
- Continuing to use your 2 utensils, lift noodles onto a serving plate. Top with generous amounts of fresh coriander, spring onion (green onion), and crushed or chopped nuts.
More Serving Options: You can also add any of the following -
* fresh lime wedges
* a sprinkling of dried chili flakes (or ground up dried chili peppers)
* fresh-cut red chilies (but be careful - these are deadly!), OR
* a bottle of red chili sauce or garlic-chili sauce on the side, for those who like their noodles extra spicy
* cold lager (or a chilled glass of your favorite white/rose wine).