Pad Thai-riffic!

One thing I love about our new neighborhood is the close proximity we are to asian markets. There is a thriving neighborhood called “Argyle” that is home to many Vietnamese and Thai Chicagoans. I’m in heaven while grocery shopping within the Argyle neighborhood… because so many of the asian ingredients I use can be found at much better prices here.

While shopping in Argyle, I decided to make some Pad Thai. Making pad thai sauce from scratch is often a lengthy process involving lots of ingredients to get the perfect sweet and spicy flavors reminicent of traditional pad thai. So while shopping in the asian markets, I found a pre-made pad thai sauce that looked promising. With it, I made chicken pad thai.

Pad Thai is a dish of stir-fried rice noodles with eggs, fish sauce, tamarind juice, red chili pepper plus a combination of bean sprouts, shrimp, chicken, or tofu, garnished with crushed peanuts and cilantro. Its normally servied with a lime wedges – the lime juice added to the dish really freshens it up! In Thailand, it is also served with a piece of banana flower.

There have evolved two different styles of Pad Thai: the version most often found in the streets of Thailand, which is relatively dry and light; and the Western version which may be covered in a red oil and can be heavy tasting.

Outside of Thailand, Pad Thai is one of the best-known Thai dishes, and is very popular in Thai restaurants in America and Australia.

Here is my cheater’s recipe for Chicken Pad Thai:

1 bottle pre-made pad thai sauce

1/2 package of bahn pho noodles (small or medium width)
3 cloves garlic
1/2 large onion, sliced
1/4 cup carrots, sliced in matchsticks
1-2 boiled chicken breasts, chopped
1 block tofu, diced
2 eggs, cooked & scrambled
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 stalks green onion, sliced
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
crushed peanuts
lime wedges

In a pot, boil water and add rice noodles.
Cook noodles until softened; drain & set aside.

In a large pan, add oil and prepare scrambled eggs.
Remove from pan; set aside.

In same pan, add oil.
Add garlic, onions and sliced carrots.
When softened, add cooked chicken.
Add entire bottle of sauce; stir to coat.
Add tofu; stir to coat.
Add cooked noodles & scrambled eggs.

To serve, plate noodles and top with cilantro, green onions, bean sprouts, peanuts and lime.

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