In the Pantry: Make Pad Thai at Home

Looking for an ethnic recipe that is easy and that can be prepared faster than you can order it over the phone? With the right ingredients from your pantry, making ethnic food in your own kitchen doesn't have to be intimidating. Here's how to make quick and easy Pad Thai at home.

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Pad Thai prep:
From your pantry, you'll need Pad Thai noodles. These rice noodles are also perfect for cold noodle salads during summer. Prep your noodles by letting them soak in lukewarm water for 8-10 minutes until the noodles are pliable. You'll also need fish sauce, which has savory, salty notes often found in Thai food, chili powder, and Tamarind paste. Additionally, because Pad Thai is like stir fry, have the other ingredients, like minced garlic, thinly-sliced onion, bell pepper, chives, your choice of protein (shrimp, tofu, chicken, beef), and roasted peanuts, prepped and sliced before you turn the heat on the pan.

How to make Pad Thai sauce: 

1 tablespoon Tamarind Paste
3 tablespoons Fish Sauce
1½ tablespoon Chili Powder
¼ cup Water
2 tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar

1. Combine all ingredients into a small saucepan and place over low heat.
2. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to medium.
3. Allow the sauce to simmer. Adjust sauce to desired taste and remove from heat.

Tip: Make extra sauce! It can be kept for up to a week in the fridge.

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How to make Pad Thai:

Yield: 4-6 servings
Total Time: 25 minutes

6 ounces rice noodles
3 tablespoons canola, grapeseed, or peanut oil, plus more for noodles
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 medium red onion, sliced paper thin
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
6 ounces extra firm tofu, baked or pan fried and cut into paper thin strips
2 cup bean sprouts
3/4 ounce (1 small bunch) chives, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch lengths

For serving (optional):
A handful of fresh cilantro leaves
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped roasted peanuts
Chile-garlic sauce, such as Sriracha

1. Bring water to boil, remove from heat, and soak the noodles in hot water for 8-10 minutes until pliable. Drain and rinse with cold water. Toss the noodles with a drizzle of oil so they do not stick together.
2. Have all of the ingredients chopped, sliced, prepped, and divided before beginning.
Tip: Be sure to work in small batches to coat in the sauce evenly.
3. Heat a dash of canola, peanut, or grape seed oil in a frying pan or a wok over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion.
4. Add bell pepper. When the bell pepper has softened, move ingredients to the side of the pan and add eggs.
5. Scramble the eggs and stir all of the ingredients in the pan together.
6. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add your protein, like tofu, thinly-sliced chicken, beef, or pork, and stir.
7. Add a handful of noodles and the Pad Thai sauce, letting it cook until the sauce boils.
8. Sprinkle in chives, making sure everything is evenly coated in the sauce.
9. Top with roasted peanuts and cilantro. Serve with a wedge of lime on the side.

For more cooking tips and tricks, check out host Aida Mollenkamp's book, "Keys to the Kitchen."

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