Pad Thai (Sauce and Ideas)
Another outline! Smitten Kitchen does a brilliant job of describing the different pieces that are everything in this dish, but the sauce is straight from Joanne Chang’s, ‘Myers+Chang At Home’. Below is what I did along with my thoughts – and this turned into yet another favorite one-pot wonder – enjoy!
Pad Thai Sauce
1/2 c. EACH tamarind concentrate (Maggi has one that I used) AND fish sauce
1/4 c. EACH honey AND unseasoned rice vinegar
1 T. minced garlic
1 t. red pepper flakes (I strained these out at the end…for the one person in our family who doesn’t love the heat)
2 T. EACH cornstarch AND water
For The Rest
400 g tofu, drained, pressed and cubed – AND/OR – a couple of cups of shrimp or cubed chicken – Chang uses calamari and bacon – fry whatever protein you’re using with some salt and pepper and set aside, though I used both sesame oil and avocado oil with the tofu and let it all get quite brown
400 g rice noodle sticks (vermicelli), soaked for 10 minutes in boiling water and drained
~a tablespoon or more of minced ginger and/or garlic and maybe a chopped small onion or shallot – Smitten Kitchen also recommends chopped, pickled preserved radish but I couldn’t find any
~a couple of cups of chopped vegetables – this time I had some cauliflower and asparagus
~bean sprouts – I used a whole 454 g/1 lb bag
~3 or 4 eggs
garnish ideas – sriracha, chopped green onion or chives, cilantro, lime wedges, fresh (Thai!) basil, pickled red onion, cashews (or peanuts)
For the sauce – in a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water to form a slurry and set this aside. Place the remaining ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil while whisking. Simmer for 2 minutes, then carefully strain out the red pepper flakes if you wish. If the heat is staying (for the win!), then while you have a gentle boil, slowly whisk in the slurry and then continue to whisk as the mix boils and the sauce thickens. This might take a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat when you’re satisfied and set aside until you need it or refrigerate it up to 3 days ahead.
If all of your chosen bits and pieces are prepped and ready to go then grab a large wok or your biggest non-stick skillet and heat up a splash of oil over medium-high heat, add in the ginger/garlic/onion and sauté for a quick minute before adding in the vegetables that you may, or may not be using. Stir this mix for a couple of minutes then add in the noodles gradually (you may not need them all, plus they make everything very difficult to stir), and all of the sauce.
Once you’ve got this new mix coated in sauce as quickly as you can, push it all to the side and quickly scramble the eggs. When the eggs are just cooked, add in all of the sprouts – and even some basil and cilantro – toss well and make sure all ingredients are warmed through, then turn off the heat and start dishing it up into bowls. I found that both tongs and a large spoon worked well.
Add the protein(s) and garnish as you wish – super delicious!