Let’s all give a big cheer for the fact that the weekend has arrived! It is going to be a cold one here in Minnesota with highs below zero farenheit, and I am seriously excited! Why am I looking forward to the coldest temperatures of the last four years? Not surprisingly, because I start thinking of what meals to make while we’re nuzzled in at home. I’ve eyeballed a few of my favorites, but haven’t quite decided on which to make. This Paprikash is the perfect cold-weather comfort food. And this African Peanut Soup would certainly warm us up. Then again, a hot sandwich made from this Cheddar and Stout Meatloaf is also tempting, or maybe these Roasted Root Vegetables . Since we’ll likely be house-bound the whole weekend, I may even make this Ragu alla Bolognese on Sunday night, as Aria has been begging for pasta. Bring on that frigid north wind!
Then again, this pad thai is also a perfect cold-weather meal. While it may sound odd, there’s just something about a piping-hot Asian noodle dish that reminds me of Winter in St. Paul. I suppose it’s because we often trek to our favorite Thai restaurant for bowls of spicy coconut curry or pad thai once the season turns. My kids– like most, I suppose– can be frustratingly picky eaters at times. But they love ethnic food, and for that I am so thankful. I never really had the opportunity to try ethnic foods while growing up in western North Dakota, but once we moved to a large city, I was hooked. And Thai cuisine is one of my favorites. While we still love to eat pad thai at our fantastic local hole-in-the-wall restaurant, I decided to look for a recipe to make this amazing dish at home. It was surprisingly difficult to find one that perfectly captured the sweet richness of the peanut sauce, as well as the ‘tang’ I was looking for. I tried several from various cookbooks, but was always disappointed. In the end, I tried my own hand at it, and it turned out to be exactly what I was after.
I also love that I can make pad thai healthier at home. I like to use brown rice noodles, rather than the white; and I buy good locally-sourced free-range chicken that has been properly raised. You can also make it with shrimp, or leave the meat out and go vegetarian. This version has just the right amount of sweetness, perfectly balanced by vinegar. Feel free to customize it a bit to fit your exact taste. The one bit of advice I’ll give about making this dish, is to be prepared and work quickly. This dish doesn’t take much time to get on the table, but, once it’s done you’re going to want to sit down and eat it right away. If there’s one rule about eating pad thai, it’s that it doesn’t have a long table life. Eat it while the noodles are steaming hot, or they’ll cool and begin to clump together. Give it a try, and enjoy your weekend!
The Recipe: Pad Thai
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1/3 cup tamarind concentrate
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 bunch green onions
8 ounces of bean sprouts
8 ounces Pad Thai brown rice noodles
1 pound chicken breasts, thinly sliced
reserved pasta water
1/2 cup chopped peanuts, or more to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, or more to taste
Thai chiles, thinly sliced (optional)
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
In a small bowl, mix the hoisin sauce, tamarind concentrate, rice vinegar, and fish sauce together. Set aside. In another small bowl, add the two eggs and mix with a fork. Set aside.
Prepare the green onions by cutting them in half, and then slicing them thinly or at a diagonal — however you prefer. In a 12-14 inch skillet add a bit of olive oil and begin the cook the chicken over medium heat. This will not take very long, as it should be sliced a bit thinly. Meanwhile, add the rice noodles to the boiling water. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, or until the noodles are al dente. Make sure not to over-cook them, as they will turn to mush rather quickly.
While the noodles are cooking, push the chicken to the outside of the pan. Add a bit of olive oil to the center and scramble the eggs. When they are scrambled, and about 2-3 minutes before the noodles are done, add the green onion. Then a minute later, the sprouts (you’ll want these to remain crisp, but still get warm). Pour the sauce into the pan, as well. Stir. Make sure to reserve some pasta water. Drain the noodles when they are done. And quickly add them to the pan. Using tongs, begin folding all of the ingredients together. Add a medium ladle of pasta water to loosen the mixture up. Add more if needed. When everything is combined, mound onto a plate and garnish with peanuts, cilantro, lemon, and Thai chiles and serve with sriracha sauce, if you can handle the heat. Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by Relishing It. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! xo