Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Chicken Pad Thai

Happy Veteran's Day!  I hope you do something special to commemorate the day.  I might end up commemorating Veteran's Day by staying in bed and nursing my sore throat.  I am feeling under the weather.

I have wanted to make Pad Thai for a while, but all the recipes require tamarind paste.  I looked at the grocery stores near me to no avail.  I visited a Korean grocery store while shopping at a thrift store with friends.  Among the unending row of sauces and pastes, they carried blocks of tamarind paste.

Tamarind paste come from a tree indigenous of the tropical areas of Africa, but it has been in cultivation in the Indian subcontinent for a long time.  The fruit is a pod three to six inches in length.  It is eaten throughout the world: Africa, China, the Caribbean, South America, Indian, and Southeast Asia.  It is an ingredient is Worcestershire sauce.

I used a recipe from about food and made it as directed.  It is believed that Viet traders brought a stir fried rice noodle dish to the ancient Thai capital of Ayuthaya.  

In the 30s and 40s a Thai Prime Minister wanted to westernize Thailand, called Siam, and lessen Chinese influence in his country.  To replace Chinese noodles, a new noodle called Pad Thai was created.

The ingredients for this recipe are 8 ounces Thai rice noodles, 1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken, 1 teaspoon corn starch, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 4 minced garlic cloves, 4 cups bean sprouts, 3 green onions, 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, 1/3 cup cashews, 1/4 cup chicken broth, vegetable oil, lime wedges, 1 tablespoon tamarind paste, 1/4 cup warm water, 3 tablespoons fish sauce, 3 teaspoons chile sauce, and 3 tablespoons brown sugar.

To make the sauce, I dissolved the tamarind paste in the warm water.  I added 3 tablespoons of soy sauce.

I added the chile sauce and brown sugar.

I cooked the noodles according to the packaged instructions.  They still had a little bit because they would cook more in the sauce.  

The marinade for the chicken is made with corn starch and 3 more tablespoons of soy sauce.  I put the diced chicken in the marinade and set it aside.

In a hot skillet with oil, I cooked the garlic for less than a minute. 

I added the chicken and marinade.  I cooked this for 5 to 7 minutes.  I added a tablespoon of broth each time the pan became dry.

I added the noodles and the sauce.

I stir-fried this for two minutes.  I used two utensils to lift and stir the Pad Thai, like you stir a salad.

I added the bean sprouts and continued stir-frying the Pad Thai for another minutes.

 I garnished with cashews, green onion, cilantro, and a squirt of lemon.

Pad Thai is one of my favorite dishes, and it didn't disappoint.  The noodles were not as crispy and fried as I would have liked because I didn't use enough oil.

The flavors were fresh and fragrant.  There is sweetness from the brown sugar, saltiness from the fish sauce, and a little sour note from the tamarind paste.

 This is definitely best the first day.  The noodles were a little soggy the second day.  I am very impressed with my first Pad Thai attempt.  This won't be the last Pad Thai recipe on my blog.


Trish - Mom On Timeout said...

Looks and sounds delicious! Definitely need to give this a try!

laura said...

Trish, Thanks! I definitely won't be the last time I make pad thai!