I love Pad Thai. I think I even love them more than Chinese stir-fried noodles. Mmmm, well, actually, just writing it, I’m not so sure about that anymore. The two just can’t compare. Both noodle types don’t have the same consistency at all, Pad Thai are large flat rice noodles, but Chinese noodles are thin round egg noodles. The first dish sauce is nowhere close to the other dish sauce. While I think the Pad Thai is great with beef, and Chinese noodles are better with chicken, I also think that both dishes are perfect in their vegetarian version too, completely meatless. In my recipe below, you’d just have to skip the meat step. In Thailand, they would serve the Pad Thai either vegetarian, or with beef or chicken, or often with shrimps as well.
Now living back in Europe, I often must adapt to the constraint of not living in Asia any longer and I always challenge myself to find the right ingredients in order to cook proper Asian food. When I want to semi-improvise a super weeknight dinner though, I have to adapt with what’s available in my pantry. Pad Thai normally contains soy bean sprouts, which I love (and recommend), but I did not have them at home, so I passed. Pad Thai sauce’s base is sour and made of tamarind paste, but I have never found tamarind paste in Nice (yet) so I replaced it by lemon juice (Fyi, lime juice is also okay, as it is very much used in Thai food in general). To add a bit to it, I tried adding a bit of oyster sauce in the dish and it turned out nice along with a bit of soy sauce too, so I’ll keep doing it. Don’t be shy on scallion, it plays a huge part in the delicious taste of the Pad Thai. All in all, my Pad Thai was – with all modesty – AMAZING, and I know that at home I am not the only one looooooving it now!
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 shallots, minced
- 2 tbsp of sugar
- 3 tbsp of lemon or lime juice
- 3 tbsp of fish sauce
- 1 tsp of hot pepper paste or purée
- 2 portions of large flat Thai rice noodles
- 2 tbsp of vegetal oil + 2 tbsp of peanut butter / or 3 tbsp of grilled sesame oil
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 portions of beef, very thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp of soy sauce
- 1 tsp of oyster sauce
- 1 scallion
- 1 small handful of peanuts, chopped
- 1 handful of soy bean sprouts
- Soak the rice noodles into lukewarm water for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Mince the garlic and shallots.
- Prepare the sauce in a small bowl: combine the sugar, fish sauce, hot pepper purée and lemon juice.
- Slice the beef and reserve.
- Beat the egg and reserve.
- Heat oil in a wok, along with peanut butter (or sesame oil instead).
- Briefly cook the garlic and shallots.
- Add the rice noodles to the wok and stir constantly. Pour the sauce from the small bowl over the noodles. Adjust by adding a bit of oil if needed.
- Pull the noodles towards one side of the wok, and pour the beaten egg to the free side of the wok. Quickly scramble the egg, then gently smash it into tiny crumbs while combining to the noodles.
- Add the beef to the wok.
- Immediately pour the soy sauce and oyster sauce over.
- Keep combining it all.
- Chop the scallion and add it to the wok.
- If you like soy bean sprouts, now is the time to add them.
- Chop the peanuts and spread over the pad thai.
- Turn off the heat and serve immediately.
Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi. © 2017 All Rights Reserved.