So I made pad thai.
I used this recipe, but it seemed like something was missing. Any idea?
8 oz. Thai rice noodles (or enough for 2 people), linguini-width, available at Asian/Chinese stores
1 to 1 1/2 cups raw chicken breast or thigh meat, sliced
Marinade for Chicken: 1 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
optional: 1-2 fresh red chilies, minced
3 cups fresh bean sprouts
3 spring (green) onions, sliced
1/2 cup fresh coriander/cilantro
1/3 cup crushed or roughly chopped peanuts (or other nuts, such as cashews)
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
vegetable oil for stir-frying, and wedges of lime
PAD THAI SAUCE:
3/4 Tbsp. tamarind paste dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water (look for tamarind at Asian/Chinese or Indian food stores)
2 Tbsp. fish sauce, + more to taste
1-3 tsp. chili sauce, or substitute 1/2 tsp. or more dried crushed chili or cayenne, to taste
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
For a step-by-step version of this recipe (with pictures), see: Perfect Chicken Pad Thai, step-by-step!
Bring a large pot of pot to a boil and remove from heat. Dunk in your rice noodles. Allow noodles to soak while you prepare the other ingredients. Note: you will be frying the noodles later, so you don't want to over-soften them now. Noodles are ready to be drained when they are soft enough to be eaten, but are still firm and a little "crunchy". Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
Make the Pad Thai Sauce by combining the sauce ingredients together in a cup. Stir well to dissolve the tamarind paste and brown sugar. Set aside. Note: this may seem like a lot of sugar, but you need it to balance out the sourness of the tamarind - this balance is what makes Pad Thai taste so amazing!
Place chicken slices in a small bowl. Stir together the marinade and pour over chicken. Stir well and set aside.
Warm up a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1-2 Tbsp. oil plus garlic and minced chili, if using. Stir-fry until fragrant (30 seconds).
Add chicken together with the marinade. Stir-fry 30 seconds to 1 minute. When wok/pan becomes dry, add a little chicken stock, 1-2 Tbsp. at a time, to keep the chicken frying nicely. Continue stir-frying in this way until the chicken is cooked (5-8 minutes).
Add the noodles, and pour the Pad Thai sauce over. Using two spatulas, wooden spoons, or other utensils, immediately stir-fry the noodles. Use a gentle "lift and turn" method (like tossing a salad) to prevent noodles from breaking. Stir-fry in this way 1-2 minutes. If you find your wok/frying pan too dry, push noodles aside and add a little more oil to the bottom (but no more broth, or the noodles will become soggy).
Add the bean sprouts and sprinkle over the pepper. Continue "tossing" 1 more minute, or until noodles are cooked. Noodles are done to perfection when they are no longer "hard" or crunchy, but chewy-sticky wonderful!
Taste-test for seasoning, adding more fish sauce until desired flavor is reached (I usually add at least 1 more Tbsp. fish sauce). Toss well to incorporate.
Lift noodles onto a serving plate. Top with generous amounts of fresh coriander, spring onion, and crushed/chopped nuts. Add fresh lime wedges (lime is great squeezed overtop), and if desired, serve with Nam Prik Pao Chili Sauce (homemade recipe) on the side. ENJOY!
Pad Thai Tip: For even more flavor, I'll often make a double batch of the pad Thai sauce. Then, as I'm stir-frying the noodles, I'll add more sauce until I'm happy with the taste (I also add extra fish sauce). Any leftover sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.