Chicken Pad Thai

Craving a flavorful, satisfying, and easy weeknight meal? Look no further than Pad Thai! This iconic Thai dish boasts a vibrant mix of textures and tastes. Today, we’ll explore the history of Pad Thai, demystifying its unique flavor profile, and offer a simple and delicious Pad Thai recipe you can recreate in your own kitchen. So, tie on your aprons and get ready to be whisked away to Thailand through the magic of food!

A Glimpse into Pad Thai’s History

The origins of Pad Thai, like many beloved dishes, are shrouded in a bit of mystery. However, most agree it rose to prominence during the mid-20th century, coinciding with Thailand’s modernization efforts. The government, seeking to promote rice consumption and national identity, is credited with popularizing this stir-fry noodle dish.

Pad Thai, literally translating to “Thai stir-fry,” incorporates elements of Chinese and Southeast Asian cuisine. The thin rice noodles, similar to those used in stir-fries, likely have Chinese influences. Meanwhile, the use of tamarind, palm sugar, and fish sauce is characteristic of Southeast Asian flavors. This fascinating blend of cultural influences is what makes Pad Thai so unique and widely enjoyed.

The Allure of Pad Thai: A Contrast of Flavors

The magic of Pad Thai lies in its harmonious balance of sweet, savory, sour, and umami flavors.

  • Sweetness: Palm sugar and brown sugar lend a touch of caramel richness, balanced by the tang of tamarind sauce.
  • Savory: The umami punch comes from a combination of fish sauce and the protein of your choice (chicken, tofu, or shrimp).
  • Sour: Lime juice adds a refreshing brightness, cutting through the richness and preventing the dish from becoming cloying.
  • Spicy: While not inherently spicy, Pad Thai often incorporates a touch of heat from Asian hot sauce, allowing for customization to your preference.

This interplay of flavors creates a truly addictive experience. Each bite is a delightful dance on your taste buds, leaving you wanting more.

Now, Let’s Cook! Easy Pad Thai Recipe Breakdown

Ready to create your own Pad Thai masterpiece? Here’s a simple and adaptable recipe that even novice cooks can conquer:

Ingredients:

  • Sauce:
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 tablespoon palm sugar (can be substituted with brown sugar)
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
    • 2 shallots, sliced
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • Juice of 1 lime
    • 1/4 cup Asian hot sauce (adjust to your spice preference)
    • 1 tablespoon tamarind sauce
  • Pad Thai:
    • 2-3 chicken breasts, thinly sliced (or substitute with protein of your choice)
    • 1 bag (10 oz) thin rice noodles, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes
  • Garnish:
    • 2 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
    • 1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
    • 1 cup bean sprouts

Variations

A fancier palace-style version of this dish is Mee grop. This features a towering pile of crisp fried rice noodles mixed with green onions brushes, red chili flowers and a confetti of garlic, bean sprouts and chives. It is often served at weddings and other special occasions. To make a Vegetarian Pad Thai, substitute tofu for the chicken, or leave out the meat completely.

Where to Find Ingredients

  • Rice noodles are available in Asian grocery stores.
  • The brown, sticky pulp of the tamarind pod is often sold in jars or cans at Asian markets to add a sweet-sour taste to Thai dishes.
  • Palm sugar is a caramel-flavored sugar made from the coconut palms, often sold in cans or jars. Brown sugar may be substituted.

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Chicken Pad Thai

Recipe by Jason Hill – CookingSessions.com
Chicken Pad Thai (Thai Fried Noodles), is one of the most popular recipes in the Thai kitchen. Bean sprouts are mixed with hot, spicy noodles for a cool-crisp contrast to the meal. A fancier palace-style version of this dish is Mee grop, a towering pile of crisp fried rice noodles mixed with green onions brushes, red chili flowers and confetti of garlic, bean sprouts and chives. It is often served as weddings and other special occasions.
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Thai
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 shallots sliced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 lime juice only
  • 1/4 cup Asian hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind sauce
  • 2-3 chicken breasts thinly sliced
  • 1 bag thin rice noodles soaked in water

Garnish

  • 2 green onions cut into 1-inch length
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup bean sprouts

Instructions
 

  • Heat oil in wok or large pan.
  • Place all three sugars in pan and cook for a few minutes.
  • While stirring, add shallots, garlic, lime juice, hot sauce and tamarind sauce to the sauce. Add chicken and cook until done. Add noodles and quickly incorporate into sauce until medium soft, but not too soft.
  • Place desired amount on large plate and garnish with green onions, chopped roasted peanuts, bean sprouts and slices of lime.
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Notes

Rice noodles are available in Asian grocery stores. The brown, sticky pulp of the tamarind pod is often sold in jars or cans at Asian markets to add a sweet-sour taste to dishes. Palm sugar is a caramel-flavored sugar made from the coconut palms, often sold in cans or jars. Brown sugar may be substituted.
Keyword noodles, Thai
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AboutJason Hill

Hi, I’m Jason Hill, host of YouTube’s “Chef Tips” series. I graduated from culinary school in 1998, and gained my experience working the lines in Southern California. I launched my cooking videos in 2007. I love sharing quick and easy recipes that get people back in the kitchen.

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