I used to be intimidated by Thai food thinking that it was all explosively curried or insanely spicy. Then one night Ryan took me to a Thai restaurant in Manayunk (Philadelphia), and my entire view changed. Since then we've found what we consider to be the best Thai in the area a little farther up the Schuykill Expressway at a place called Chiang-mai. I highly recommend going there if you like Thai food. It's reasonably priced, fantastically delicious, and it inspired me to come up with a Chicken Pad Thai recipe of my own. I don't think it will ever beat theirs, but we love it just the same.
Don't be intimidated by the long list of ingredients. The majority of this meal is prep work. For a vegetarian version omit the chicken or substitute with tofu.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients (Serves 4)
3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
6 Tbsp fish sauce
6 Tbsp white sugar
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp crushed red pepper (less if you don't like it spicy)
1 Tbsp. chunky peanut butter
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
4 green onions, chopped
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 large skinless, boneless chicken breast halves cut in to bite-sized pieces
2 c. bean sprouts
1 8 oz. pkg of rice noodles, cooked per instruction*
1 lemon cut in to wedges
*Time Saver: Package instructions for rice noodles often say that they should be soaked in cold water until soft. This takes 30-50 minutes (too long!) so I never bother. Instead I heat about 3 quarts of water to a rolling boil, boil the noodles for 4 minutes, drain them in a strainer and pour cold water over them to prevent further cooking. Then add as indicated below.
1. Combine the white wine vinegar, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, red pepper, peanut butter in a bowl and mix together. Set aside.
2. Heat the sesame and olive oil together in a wok or a 4-quart saute/simmer pan. Crack the eggs in to the hot oil and cook until firm.
3. Just before the eggs are done stir in the chicken and cook for 8 minutes.
4. Add the garlic and green onions. Saute until translucent (about 2-3 minutes).
5. Pour the mixture from #1 in to the wok/pan.
6. Add the shredded carrot and bean sprouts. Simmer for 3 minutes.
7. Add the cooked rice noodles and mix everything together.
8. Serve hot, garnished with fresh cilantro and lemon wedges.
Wine Pairing: Prosecco or Pinot Grigio