I think I’ve figured out a good trick for making Pad Thai sauce in tamarind at home. Prepare as many portions as you like, but only cook one or two at a time.
This is especially helpful if you don’t have a big wok and a super-powerful stove. It might sound onerous to only cook a little at a time but wait until you see how fast it cooks.
Pad Thai of course is a noodle based stir fry in a sweet and sour sauce. To me the sauce’s defining ingredients are Thai style fish sauce. Basically salty fermented fish juice and extract of the tamarind fruit.
Had to get this at my Asian market. This is the concentrate which prefer to tamarind paste. It’s our primary source of acidity though some people use vinegar or lime instead.
In a pinch you could replace both of these ingredient with Worcestershire sauce. This is vinegary fermented fish sauce flavored with wait for it tamarind.
It wouldn’t be exactly the same but it would do the same job and you suppose the other key ingredient is sugar.
you are using two or three tablespoons of sugar for two large portions. A lot of people use brown sugar or various less refined sugar.
They’d all work. About a tablespoon of fish sauce. Smell like feet taste like meat very strong source of umami.
You only need a little. And you could use soy sauce instead to keep meatless.Like a little bit of soy with the fish sauce Maybe a teaspoon. Now the tamarind extract.
you are using two teaspoons of the concentrate but you know about acidity. You might want to start with half quantity. I also love the smooth glossy texture that you get from concentrate.
If you mixed this with two parts water and one part concentrate, it would be like two parts water to one part concentrate. You’d get about the same strength as tamarind paste. You are not bothering because you are gonna add some water to the pan at the very end.
Now the secret ingredient to what I’ll describe as “mall Pad Thai” here in the States is ketchup. Before anybody sneers consider that many Pad Thai recipes call for vinegar, Sugar and tomato paste well guess. What ketchup is.
This lighten the color and also makes the sauce Pad Thai Sauce without Tamarind more glossy. you put in almost two tablespoons in there. You have to play with the basic proportion to find out what you like. And of course you could just buy a jarred Pad Thai sauce.
That’s still a little gritty but the sugar will dissolve as you do everything else.For garnish, a large handful of peanuts. you’ll chop those up a bit not too fine.
The whole point is to have some crunchy texture against soft noodles. Today is good day to have little prep bowls.
One bunch of green onions. You could use any onion but these are good for method because they cook almost instantly if you slice the whites really thin. And then you have the greens up here that you can set aside and use as a raw garnish. The rest will go into my aromatics bowl Fresh ginger.
A little thumb size piece Slice off the skin and chop it up. Equal amount of garlic peeled and coarsely chopped. Don’t go too fine on the garlic or it’ll be liable to burn here Into the aromatics bowl with that. Then do one red chili thinly sliced.
you are leaving behind the top which is where a lot of the heat lives. Gonna pick big pile of cilantro leaves for garnish Highly optional.
The other table garnish will be some lime wedges which you probably won’t need if you use as much tamarind concentrate and mung bean sprouts.
These came washed and prepped you just need to have the open bag handy Now protein. A couple eggs Vegans can totally skip them.
These scramble so much better. If you salt them pretty heavily beat thoroughly and then let them sit for like 10 minutes. The salt kinda loosens the proteins and it helps them cook in these delicate thin sheets that you like in a stir fry.
One chicken breast should be enough protein for two dinner size portions. Shrimp or tofu work great as well. The trick with the chicken breast is to cut into three section and then make very thin slices across the grain.
You should be able to meat fibers plain as day cut across them basically slicing as thinly. It helps to have a freshly sharpened knife for this cutting across the grain will get us much more tender piece.
Thin meat slices in stir fry tend to chewy. Now you’ll push those in to two separate piles for my two big portions.
Gotta keep salt handy and final ingredient will be some water. Stir fries go fast that you want to have every single thing prepped before you actually cook.
you’ve got all ingredients within arm’s reach Now find Pad Thai way easier to cook in a nonstick pan. This makes it fool proof and gonna boil noodles right in here.
There’s no need to get second pan dirty and water boils in flash in a wide pan. A little pinch of salt there.
Noodles sold for Pad Thai are usually flat and narrow though you can use wider ones. Half of this package will feed two people two ounces or 60 gram per portion. And I’m sure this is gonna make some people unhappy. But you’ve been breaking these and put them in the water.
If don’t the noodles are so long that you have a lot of trouble integrating them with the sauce and other ingredients at the end. You are just stirring to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom.
The traditional way to cook Thai rice noodles is to cover them in boiling water from a kettle or something and then let them steep. You have found straight up boiling to be quicker and easier to control and you are only gonna parboil them 2-3 minutes max.
Then in this goes to a strainer and you’ll shock with cold water to stop them from cooking and sticking to each other. Let that hang and drain and they’ll hold there until you ready to finish cooking them.
you’ll wipe out pan real quick back on the stove heat on high. You can get away with high heat in a nonstick pan. As long as the pan is full of food to absorb the energy.
you are using that bit of virgin oil as a thermometer. The instant you see it just start to smoke. You’ll season first pile of chicken real quick and then drop it in the pan.
Get the pieces pushed out into a single flat layer. you are not speeding any of this up. By letting meat just sit there.
We can get little brown color on it without overcooking the interior. They’re gonna cook most of the way on that side. When you can see the bottom two thirds of these is opaque. You are gonna throw in half of aromatics the green onions, the chili, the garlic, the ginger.
The top of chicken is still raw and that’s just fine. This is exactly how you would do it with whole shrimp too by the way for the same dish.
I wanted to devise process that did not involve cooking. A bunch of things one at a time dumping them out putting them back in again. Lots of recipes have you do that.
you just want to put things in the pan and keep them there. So you’ve pushed everything over to one side of the pan and the chicken should still not be quite cooked. That’s fine. This Pad Thai Sauce without Tamarind is delicious.
Time for half of beaten egg in a really thin layer. Spread it around let it sit and start to solidify wait for it. Then you can scrape at it with the spoon and this gets you those thin sheets of egg. That are really nice in stir fry.
Salting the eggs also helps them to not overcook even. When you get some color on them which is what you are trying to do here.
The salt loosens those proteins so they don’t squeeze out all the water out of the egg. So you’ll push all of that egg to one side go over to the sink. Grab some of those par boiled noodles and there they go.
They’ll finish now. Half of sauce is gonna go in next or maybe less than half. You can always add more. So in goes half of that sauce. Then gonna grab a big handful of those mung bean sprouts.
mean really like half bean sprouts half noodles. That’s way healthier too. You also like to get some of the peanuts mixed through everything. You’ll garnish with some at the end but a little peanuts all the way through.
Some people prefer to keep the bean sprouts totally raw add them at the end. You like for them to basically blend in with the noodles and you can kinda mistake them for the noodles.
They’re just barely gonna cook anyway because you’re almost done here. You like to keep your sauce really tight and dry not much water in the sauce that’s why didn’t dilute anything. So that now at the very end you can just add as much water. As you want to get that level of saucy texture that I desire.
So you are just gonna wait until this is looking pretty much as mixed as you can get it. And grab water. Pad Thai Sauce without Tamarind is weird to do in real time.
There we go and that just deglazes the pan too which is really really nice. You’ll just give that a few seconds to cook and tighten up again. The water help you get everything really smoothly mixed together.
If you were cooking several portions at once in this little pan. You just wouldn’t be able to get the intense heat that gives a stir fry its characteristic flavor. You need big wok on a rip roaring burner for that. But for one big dinner portion this perfect.
Garnishes on the side. Pile of cilantro more peanuts to sprinkle on top for heterogeneity lime for squeezing and maybe you’ll put the onion greens on top. The feet smell fish sauce boil right out don’t worry about that.
It’s gone and check chicken pieces brown and yet not overcooked. That’s quite a magic trick with thin piece of white meat.
And now you can turn around and do the next portion which should take literally. No more than three minutes as we have just proven. Please do not take this as an attempt at definitive Pad Thai Sauce without Tamarind.