Chicken Pad Thai
I'm a little on the tired side writing this, but I got about 30 requests for the recipe after I posted it this morning so I figured this was something worth writing about! Excuse my poor storyline and lack of proofread content and skip straight to the recipe down there. There are a few basics I covered about technique and cooking instruments, but that's about as far as I could get today.
Chicken pad Thai. It's one of those dishes that pretty much everyone likes, yet never tries to make at home. We are going to change that! It's a dish that is all about technique and balance of flavors - balance of the 5 tastes: salty, sweet, bitter, sour, and umami.
Let's go over a few things before getting started on this. Pad Thai isn't a dish you can just read the directions as you go and prepare the ingredients as you go, it just won't turn out well. That's where my favorite word comes into play. Mise En Place. To set in place. I use this word often when I cook (despite the fact that my roommates make fun of me) because I find that implementing the technique makes cooking much more enjoyable and relaxing. Mise en place refers to having all of your ingredients in place before you start cooking. Pad thai is not a complicated dish to make, it just requires the proper mise en place!
What is a wok? A wok is a cooking instrument used in Asian cooking very often. It has a narrow bottom with very wide, tall sides that hold heat very well. The wok is ideal for Asian cooking because it allows you to shove already cooked things up the sides of the wok while allowing them to stay warm. There are many, many different kinds of woks out there, but according to Alton Brown, (who I completely trust) the best kind of wok is the cheapest. Carbon steel and NOT non stick are the ways to go! If you don't have one of these, a large skillet will do.
Another quick note, if you can't find some of the ingredients listed below, don't fret. Either check your local Asian grocery store of my favorite.. Amazon Prime! They have everything.
I've included step by step pictures below, along with the directions and ingredient list at the bottom!
CHICKEN PAD THAI
4 tbsp. fish sauce
4 tbsp. tamarind paste
1 tbsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
4 tbsp. palm sugar or regular sugar
3 oz. thin rice sticks (about half a package)
4 tbsp. peanut oil, divided
1 large chicken breast
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tsp. salt
4 cloves of garlic, diced
1 dried chili pepper, diced (or sub 1/2 tsp. chili powder)
3 green onions
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1/2 cup beansprouts
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
1. In a small saucepan, combine all the sauce ingredients together. Heat over low heat and whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn off the heat and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cover the rice sticks with hot tap water and let sit for 10 minutes. If using the thin rice sticks like pictured above, this is all the time you will need to let it soak. If you decide to use a wider rice noodle, they will need to soak for longer.
3. Chop the green onions into 1 inch pieces. Separate the white/lighter green pieces from the darker green pieces from the top. In a small bowl combine garlic, chili, and the lighter portions of the green onions.
4. In another bowl add the darker pieces of green onion and set aside. Add peanuts to their own bowl. Same with the beansprouts.
5. Chop the chicken breast into very thin pieces. I like to do it by cutting the chicken breast in quarters long ways (so you have four long strips), and cutting down the short end of the chicken so you have thin tiny pieces. I also like to make my sizes a little varied. My favorite part of pad thai is the little tiny chicken pieces that get super crispy so feel free to throw in tiny, tiny pieces.
6. You're going to want to have a spatula, tongs, and scissors out.
7. Heat either a wok or large skillet over HIGH heat on the largest burner you have. Add half of the peanut oil. Shake excess cornstarch off the chicken, and add the chicken to the pan and lightly salt it. Using your spatula, toss the chicken around for about 2 minutes or until it seems cooked through. If you heat is high enough, this shouldn't take long.
8. Once the chicken is cooked, remove from pan and set on plate aside. Allow the wok or pan to come back up to high heat, add the extra oil chili, garlic, and white parts of the green onions. IMMEDIATELY add the two eggs cracking them one by one on top of the garlic etc. so it doesn't burn. The trick with the eggs is you don't want them scrambled egg style. Whisk them around with your spatula, then spread the egg into the flattest layer it will go in the pan and don't touch it. (This will be tempting, I know). Let it lay flat for about 30 seconds then flip it (almost like an omelette). It should be brown at this point.
9. Quickly add the drained noodles, about half of the pad thai sauce, and the paprika to the pan. Use your scissors and cut the noodles a bit to allow all the other ingredients to incorporate.
10. Throw in the chicken, dark green onion parts, peanuts, and beansprouts. Use your tongs and toss to combine for about a minute.
11. Top with extra peanuts and enjoy!!!!