Easy Pad Thai

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First, an apology — I have not been updating this blog, and when I have, it hasn’t been with anything remotely like what I normally eat. Cheese enchiladas? We eat those maybe once every three months. Maybe. I also haven’t been eating as much bacon, so the kil’t kale is out, as well as any number of other things on this blog. 

The fact is – and I feel like I say this a lot — I’ve been struggling with what to cook. We’re on a tighter budget than ever before, which is good overall, but bad when it comes to making dinner. On a budget, I stick with tried and true favorites, things I know won’t go to waste and are relatively inexpensive. And when this constraint is combined with a picky eater, you can see how I might get frustrated.

But I couldn’t resist posting this pad thai recipe. It is, quite simply, the best version of this dish I’ve ever made. The base is a recipe from Eating Well, but I feel like since I end up doubling the sauce, it might not be as healthy as they claim. The nice thing, though, is that you end up using more bean sprouts than rice noodles, keeping the dish from becoming too heavy.

I usually serve this topped with chopped peanuts, cilantro, and lime, with a drizzle of sesame oil. The picture doesn’t show that, of course, because I had none of those things in my house during the most recent time I cooked it. But it’s also excellent with just a few sesame seeds on top, drizzled with toasted sesame oil and served with sauteed shiitakes, onion and bok choy on the side.
Easy Pad Thai

  • 1 pound of chicken tenders, or 1 block firm tofu, pressed and cubed
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil, plus 1 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 6 ounces wide rice noodles (if you can’t find these, try whole-wheat spaghetti)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, quartered, very thinly sliced
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 cups mung bean sprouts (fresh or canned — I can never find fresh when I want them)
  • 1/2 cup scallions, sliced very thinly
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Chopped, dry-roasted peanuts
  • Lime wedges, sesame seeds, sesame oil, desired garnishes

First, prepare your desired protein. Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat, then add protein and cook until brown. If you are using chicken, break up with a wooden spoon into bite-sized pieces as it cooks. Once cooked through, put the cooked chicken or tofu into another bowl and set aside. Sprinkle with a bit of rice vinegar, fish sauce, or soy sauce if you wish.

While the protein is cooking, cook rice noodles as the package directs, but subtract one minute from the cooking time. Drain; set aside.

In the same pan as you cooked the protein, pour in remaining olive oil and add garlic and jalapeno. Saute for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add eggs and scramble until quite hard-set, about two minutes.

Add noodles, sprouts, rice vinegar, fish sauce and sugar and heat through. Cook until sauce thickens or is mostly absorbed. Serve, garnished with peanuts and the other condiments of your choice.

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