homemade takeout

pretty pad thai

Chinese takeout is very popular at our house. When Derek and I moved to Northern Virginia, we tested out many Chinese takeout joints before settling on our favorite. (It’s China Express, if you’re interested.)

shrimp pad thai ingredients

As a big fan of noodles, I ordered lo mein enough times to make me tire of it. Next up, I ordered the pad thai. Thai food is one of my favorite cuisines but pad thai from the Chinese takeout joint just wasn’t quite cutting it.

golden boy fish sauce tamarind juice concentrate palm sugar spiciness: sriracha, chipotle pepper melting the palm sugar rice stick noodles

I set out to find the perfect homemade version and this is it. Some of the ingredients are harder to get in most regular grocery stores, so if your area has an Asian grocery store, I’d check there first. I took pictures of all of the ingredients I used in case you are going to go that route so you can just match the photos while shopping. But in this day and age where you can get everything on the internet, most of these ingredients can be ordered online (links provided in the recipe below) as well. And the shelf-life for everything is about a year, so it’s not a bad investment if you love pad thai as much as I do.

shrimpies onions + garlic + noodles + pad thai sauce ingredient dump

Before I get to the recipe, I wanted to share some notes with you… First of all, the pad thai sauce can be made in a larger batch than what you’d use for a single dinner. I recommend that you make a full batch (recipe below) since it keeps in the fridge for about a month, and since you’ve (presumably) gone out of your way to get all the ingredients. Secondly, you should really only cook about two servings at a time. Anything more and your noodles will get mushy and won’t really be as delicious. So keep that in mind when cooking for more than 2 people. Lastly, the best part of making a dish like this at home is that you control the quality and quantity of the ingredients. I mean, who hasn’t ordered shrimp pad thai only to get like 3 of those little buggers? Here, you can adjust the amounts to your liking. I really hope you give it a try!

shrimp pad thai

Meatless Monday note: With fish sauce as a main ingredient in the pad thai sauce, this recipe is obviously not vegan. But, you can make your own fish-free “fish” sauce at home. Here’s a recipe to try. Add tofu instead of animal protein, leave out the egg, and you have a vegan meal. Bon appétit!

nom nom

pad thai
printer-friendly recipe
adapted from Savory Sweet Life
serves: 2

ingredients:
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons palm sugar or 1 1/2 tablespoons white or brown sugar
2 tablespoons tamarind juice concentrate
5 cloves minced garlic, divided
Thai chili powder (or Mexican chili powder or Korean gochugaru or Sriracha)
4 ounces dried rice stick noodles
6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, or tofu
1-2 eggs
1 cup carrots, match sticks
1 cup green onion sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1-2 cups mung bean sprouts
1 cup cilantro
1 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
Lime wedges, for serving

directions:
To make pad thai sauce, heat a small saucepan on medium low and add the fish sauce, palm sugar, tamarind concentrate, 1 clove of minced garlic, and a pinch of Thai chili powder (or substitute). Cook sauce until palm sugar has completely dissolved. At this point, you will want to taste the sauce and tweak the sweetness or hotness (be careful, the sauce will be hot, temperature-wise). To make it more spicy add a little more Thai chili powder. Remove from heat and allow to cool while you prep the other ingredients.

Soak the rice noodles for 5-10 minutes in boiling water and drain, rinsing with cold water for a few seconds when the noodles are slightly firmer than al dente (check after 5 minutes of soaking). Using kitchen shears, cut the noodle clump in half.

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a wok or large (at least 12″) frying pan on high and cook raw chicken, pork, beef, tofu or shrimp for 3-4 minutes. Remove meat/tofu/seafood into a small bowl. Next, heat the remaining oil and then add the remaining 4 cloves of garlic and the red onion to the hot pan and stir-fry for 1 minute stirring the garlic mixture so it will not burn. Add noodles and stir for 1 minute. Add 3-4 tablespoons of the sauce, continually stirring the noodle mixture until well coated. Add cooked meat/tofu/seafood back and fry for 2-3 minutes. Move the noodle and meat mixture to one side of the pan and crack an egg or two on the other side. Scramble the egg with a wooden spoon and cook for 30 seconds. Add most of the carrots, green onions, and sprouts and cook for one more minute frying everything together. Test for noodle flavor, and if you need to, add more sauce. Test the firmness of the noodle. If the noodle is too firm, fry for an additional minute. Remove from heat and serve. Garnish with remaining carrots, spouts, and scallions and top with cilantro, toasted peanuts, and a wedge of lime.

pad thai sauce

pad thai sauce

ingredients:
1/2 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup (3 coins) palm sugar or 1/3 cup white or brown sugar
1/2 cup tamarind juice concentrate
4 cloves garlic, minced
Thai chili powder (or Mexican chili powder or Korean gochugaru or Sriracha)

directions:
To make pad thai sauce, heat a small pan on medium low and add the fish sauce, palm sugar, tamarind concentrate, minced garlic, and a teaspoon of Thai chili powder (or substitute). Cook sauce until palm sugar has completely dissolved. At this point, you will want to taste the sauce and tweak the sweetness or hotness. To make it more spicy add a little more Thai chili powder, a teaspoon or so at a time. Remove from heat and allow to cool and store in a glass or plastic container. When cooking the pad thai, use 3-4 tablespoons of sauce for every 2 servings. Store in the refrigerator for up to a month.

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This entry was posted in chicken, dinner, eggs, meatless monday, pasta, pork, seafood, vegan and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to homemade takeout

  1. jane says:

    just a note: we didn’t have any eggs when i made this recipe for the blog, but i promise the dish didn’t suffer!

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