Arms flailing and thrashing to keep my dizzy head above crashing waves of deadlines, presentations, and life in general, I was tempted to abandon the task of making dinner altogether and make an SOS call for pizza. I picked up the phone…and set it back down: I couldn’t. I knew I would feel terrible as, for one, I don’t eat wheat, and for another, a pizza was certainly not a cure for my temporary depression.
I needed something refreshing, full of flavour, and nourishing. Something exciting to make, even. My hands were restless, desperately craving to do some chopping, slicing, and wok-frying.
I needed a pad thai fix.
Not too many limitations, other than a general starting point ratio of 1:1:1:1. What for? Yup, soy sauce, tamarind paste, brown sugar, and fish sauce. As for bean sprouts, chives, scallions, rice noodles, egg, firm tofu and if you’d prefer, chicken and shrimp, they are completely to your own personal liking. Have fun, prep well, and keep the wok smoking hot!
Ingredients for the singleton pad thai:
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp tamarind paste
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar (or palm sugar if you have it)
70g dried medium-width rice noodles
2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
1 free range egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup julienned carrot
1/2 an onion, thinly sliced
1 large clove of garlic, minced
2 scallions, cut into 1-inch long sections
2 pieces firm dry tofu, thinly sliced
3/4 cup bean sprouts
2 tbsp roasted chopped peanuts
extra bean sprouts
To make the pad thai sauce, combine the soy sauce, tamarind paste, fish sauce, and sugar in a small bowl and set aside. Soak the rice noodles in room temperature water. Meanwhile, prep all the ingredients – once you start cooking everything will come so fast you won’t have time to leave your wok (it will literally be on fire).
Heat your wok until very hot, then add 1 tbsp of the coconut oil and swirl it until shimmery. Pour in the egg, and allow it to set a little before scrambling it. Once the egg is cooked and lightly golden, transfer it to a plate.
Heat your wok again, until very hot, then add 1 tbsp coconut oil. Once the oil is hot, add the carrots and onions and saute until lightly browned. Add the garlic and scallions, stir until fragrant. Push the onions and such to one side of the wok and add the dried tofu to the empty side. Leave them the slices to brown for about a minute without stirring, then incorporate in the sauteed vegetables, adding the bean sprouts and the scrambled egg. By now, the rice noodles should be softened, with just a bit of resistance; add them to the wok, and pour in the pad thai sauce. Mix until the sauce is evenly distributed, then check the seasoning (add more salt or sugar to your taste) and test the noodles for doneness by sampling a piece.
Once you’re happy, transfer to a plate and garnish with the roasted peanuts and bean sprouts. Serve with a squeeze of lime.
There really is no secret to making pad thai; just taste-test a lot while it’s cooking, and make it often.
Enjoy and have lots of fun!