Friday, August 21, 2009

Pad Thai

This recipe is dead easy, fast, and way better than take-out. I adapted it from a recipe from my friend Jesse, who in turn adapted it from Real Thai Cooking (I think). To keep it lower in calories, I reduced the amount of sugar and peanuts, as well as eliminating the oil and cooking it in a large non-stick skillet rather than a wok. Honestly, I can’t tell the difference. If you use a wok, or a skillet that is not quality non-stick, I would definitely use a tablespoon or two of oil, NOT canola spray.

8 oz flat rice noodles (fettucine-style)
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks; or 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized chunks (optional)

6 scallions, chopped
Dried Thai chiles
1 12 oz package bean sprouts
½ cup chopped peanuts
Cilantro, chopped

3 T sugar
6 T white vinegar
4 T fish sauce
2 T ketchup (yes, really)
½ T chili powder
1/8 t cayenne pepper

Soak rice noodles in very hot tap water for 20-30 minutes, until just barely al dente. Drain.

In a bowl or a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine sauce ingredients until sugar is dissolved.

Lightly coat a non-stick skillet over medium heat with canola spray. Add garlic and cook, stirring, about 10 seconds (careful not to burn it). If using, add chicken and cook 2 to 5 minutes, until chicken is no longer visibly pink.

Add sauce; continue to cook for about 5 minutes. Add noodles and cook, stirring, until they have absorbed most of the liquid (5 to 7 minutes).

Add scallions and enough chiles for desired amount of heat; cook another minute or two. Remove from heat and stir in 2/3 of the bean sprouts.

Sprinkle the rest of the sprouts, the peanuts, and the cilantro on top. Serve with plenty of lime or lemon wedges.

4 servings
450 calories per serving

Instead of chicken, you could also use dry-fried tofu or cooked shrimp. If using either of these, add them in at the end of the noodle step, before adding the scallions, just so they heat through. Chopped scrambled egg would be good, too.

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