Monday, May 5, 2008

Phad Thai

This is a somewhat old photo, but I think this is an appropriate first post. Making a good phad thai was one of the first dishes I was really proud of being able to make. When I was in college my parents started to be foodies to some extent and certainly began branching out their canon of regular American style meals. My dad bought a couple thai cookbooks, a wok, accoutrements, and became a regular at a little southeast asian market in Lynnwood (is no longer there, sad). I began requesting phad thai, tom kha kai, stir fry with crispy noodles, and all sorts of new dishes whenever I was home for visit. I loved the smell of ginger and garlic and peanut oil streaming through the house.
When I had my own foodie rebirth (?) about six years ago the phad thai recipe was one of the first I requested from my dad. I still have the scribbled notes I jotted down on a piece of lined paper, it's wadded up in my little recipe box that I honestly never open anymore. That's okay, I make this dish by feel these days.
That said, I also don't make this very often anymore. Wife still requests it but I usually suggest something else southeast asian instead. I've found myselft in a little catch-22 with this dish. My dad's original recipe makes a very saucy version of the dish, which I have grown to like. Most restaurants' recipes taste a little bland to me now. But, it's also really salty (which is why wife likes it so much). I've tried to combat the saltiness, by reducing the fish sauce a bit, and it is better now. But I've also found that the ingredients in the liquid need to be reduced in proportion, otherwise the taste gets thrown completely out of whack. Speaking of salty I like to make this with steamed broccoli tossed with a little black bean paste. I'd post the recipe for that, but there's not anything more to it than that. Steam some broccoli, then toss with some black bean paste (comes in a jar from your local asian grocer). A little bit goes a long way. But here's my phad thai recipe.

Phad Thai

3/4 lb prawns, deveined and shelled
8 oz. rice stick noodles (the 3mm ones, often labelled ‘Chantaboon’)
2 eggs
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup fish sauce
¼ sugar
2 tbsp. ketchup
6-8 cloves garlic
1-3 serrano peppers diced
½ cup chopped peanuts
¼ cup green onions or chives
¼ cup shredded carrot
peanut oil

Remove noodles from package and soak in warm water for 12-18 minutes. Combine vinegar, fish sauce, sugar and ketchup in a small bowl, whisk until sugar is disolved, set aside.

While noodles are soaking saute shrimp, garlic and peppers in a hot wok. Once the shrimp is seared and beginning to brown remove to a separate bowl. Scramble the eggs in the wok next, chop into small pieces and mix in with the shrimp.

Add noodles to the hot wok with a little more oil if necessary. Once noodles begin to heat add the liquid mixture and stir into noodles. As the noodles begin to absord most of the liquid add the chicken and egg along with the peanuts, heat through. Add the chives and carrots and cook for one minute longer. Remove to platter and garnish with lime and cilantro.


  1. Sweet deal! I love this post and I love the look of your blog!

  2. Quick question, how much chik'n do you use?

  3. That mention of chicken was actually a typo. The recipe I used here was actually pasted in from two separate versions I had stored in my email account: one chicken, one shrimp. The shrimp version was a double recipe, so if you are using shrimp you could probably do with slightly less than this (though I wouldn't argue). If you are using chicken you can probably make do with one large chicken breast, sliced thin and stir fried in the wok.

  4. my cousin just linked to this recipe, sounds significantly superior to mine. I'll give it try and update as I do.

  5. I've got to admit, PhAi THAi is not my fav, and Thai food in general has to be on the lower rungs of my Asian food ladder...

    That said, I agree with Jess' assessment on Dish # 1. Sugar-coated salmon? Just cook the fish, add lemon and --- SQUEEZE! I promise it'll take delicious...

    I agree with Steena. You SAVED your pretty lay-out for Food Blog, and half-assed bike-run-swig. Oh, MIchael. My last critique --- Where's the booze? Or is this a NC-20 blog?

    Final thought. Whoever thought up rice, broccoli, and lime is a genius. That is all.

  6. I figure since I'm going to be mentioned in this blog, I should hang around to defend myself and the rest of the horde. While i do like the salmon posted on here, and can definitely appreciate the simple elegance of grilling it up with some lemon and that's all, my ALL TIME FAV is the way my mom used to make it. You basically take the whole salmon, stuff it with raw bacon and lemon slices, drape some bacon over the top of the fish and cook! The bacon fat makes that salmon taste SO FREAKIN GOOD. Mmmm.