Right up front, let me say that I’ve never eaten Pad Thai in a restaurant. Lots of Chinese but never Thai. That being admitted, recipes online from Thai cooks make me think this could pass. At any rate it’s one of our favorite dishes, and one of the best ways to incorporate plenty of vegetables into your meal.
Lots of chopping is involved. Plan on setting aside a good hour to do all the prep, but once that’s done the dish comes together very quickly. I tend to use a basic mix of onions, sweet peppers, celery, carrots, and mushrooms. Then I add any other vegetables that happen to be in the refrigerator – broccoli, zucchini, spinach, sliced radishes are all good – and a can of bean sprouts. This is a good way to use leftover cooked chicken, or add shrimp during the last few minutes of cooking. Skip the meat altogether or try some cubed tofu. Prep the rice noodles by laying them in a tray and pouring boiling water over them. Allow to sit about 10 minutes before draining and adding to the cooked vegetables and chicken. They will get soggy/mushy if allowed to sit in the water for too long, so don’t do this step far in advance of adding it to the cooking pot.
I sometimes add about 1/4 cup of chunky peanut butter to the sauce, or drizzle sweet chili oil over the top. My son loves spicy so he adds sriracha sauce to his. If you like it spicy you can add some chili garlic paste to the sauce. This is the kind of “recipe” that you can truly make your own.
– Joan, 29 January 2021
- 1-2 cups cooked chicken, shredded, or 1 lb. uncooked, shelled shrimp
- 1 lb. mushrooms, sliced about 1/8″ thick and sautéed
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 cup celery (3-4 stalks, sliced)
- 1 cup carrot (2-3 carrots, julienned)
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 14-oz. can bean sprouts, drained
- 3 eggs, beaten well
- 4-5 oz. rice noodles (1/2 of a package), soaked
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- optional garnishes – fresh cilantro, peanuts, red pepper flakes or sriracha sauce, sesame seeds
Chop onion, pepper, celery, carrots, and garlic. Mix brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, and fish sauce (add up to 1/4 cup peanut butter or a tablespoon of chile garlic paste to the sauce if desired). Set aside sauce. Steam broccoli in a microwave for 1-2 minutes, until just slightly softened but still crunchy, and set aside.
Place the rice noodles in a shallow tray or large bowl and cover them with boiling water. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes while you cook the egg and sauté the vegetables.
Heat about a tablespoon of toasted sesame oil in a large fry pan. Pour in the beaten eggs and cook over low-medium heat just until set. Turn out onto a cutting board and cut the egg into strips about 1/4″ wide. Drizzle any sesame oil left in the pan over the eggs. Set aside.
Sauté onion, pepper, carrots, and celery for a few minutes over medium heat, until slightly softened but not browned. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Pour in sauce, add drained noodles, and cook for about 5 minutes. Add broccoli, bean sprouts, chicken (or shrimp, cooking just until shrimp turn pink), cooking for 3-5 minutes. Add cooked egg strips and toss it all together. Serve immediately with fresh chopped cilantro, coarsely chopped peanuts, red pepper flakes or sriracha sauce, or sesame seeds for garnish.