Recipe courtesy of Pretty Thai for a White Guy

Pad Thai

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 5 hr 10 min
  • Active: 1 hr 50 min
  • Yield: 4 servings (plus additional pad Thai sauce and mix)
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Pad Thai Sauce:

Pad Thai Dry Mix:

Pad Thai:


Special equipment:
a wok
  1. For the pad Thai sauce: Bring the tamarind and 1 gallon water to a boil in a large stockpot, then lower to a simmer. Cook at a low simmer until reduced to about 5 1/2 cups, about 3 hours. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl. Discard the solids and reserve the tamarind water.
  2. Wipe out the stockpot and add the palm sugar and 5 1/2 cups water and cook over high heat, stirring as needed, until the palm sugar has dissolved completely. Add the fish sauce, vinegar and reserved tamarind water and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and let cool. (The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for several months.)
  3. For the pad Thai dry mix: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the peanuts on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Roast until golden brown, about 14 minutes. Carefully pulse the roasted peanuts in a food processor until fine (stop before they turn into peanut butter). Remove 5 ounces of the ground peanuts and reserve for garnish. To the 3 ounces remaining in the food processor, add the dried shrimp and salted radish and process until a very fine, fluffy mixture forms. (The dry mix will keep in the freezer for several months.)
  4. For the pad Thai: Meanwhile, soak the rice noodles in cold water until soft, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  5. It is recommended that the pad Thai is cooked 1 portion at a time. Preheat a seasoned wok over high heat and add a small amount of oil. Add 4 ounces chicken and cook until browned on all sides and approximately 90 percent cooked through. Add a bit more oil and crack 1 egg into the wok. Cook the egg to over hard (do not scramble the egg; it will break up naturally as you toss the noodles). Add a quarter of the shallots and cook until browned (be careful not to let them burn). Add a quarter of the noodles and some oil around the top of the wok and begin to toss the noodles with the wok spatula, being careful not to cut through the noodles. Cook until the noodles become translucent. Add enough pad Thai sauce to cover half of the noodles. Add 1 tablespoon pad Thai dry mix, mix together and cook, spreading the noodles out in a thin layer on the bottom of the wok and allowing the sauce to cook and caramelize the noodles until the sauce is almost completely reduced in the bottom of the wok (be careful not to burn the noodles). Make room for some bean sprouts in the front part of the wok. Add the bean sprouts and toss the noodles on top of them so they quickly cook. Add 1/4 teaspoon lime juice, Thai chile powder as desired, some Chinese chives and more pad Thai sauce and cook, combining all the ingredients with the wok spatula and adding sauce as desired. Taste and adjust with more sauce, dry mix and/or Thai chile powder. The pad Thai should be sweet, salty, spicy, sour and bitter.
  6. Transfer the pad Thai to a plate and sprinkle some reserved ground peanuts on top; add a lime segment. Serve immediately and repeat the process with the remaining ingredients. Reserve the remaining pad Thai sauce and pad Thai dry mix for future meals.

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