We have a Thai place near us that makes EXCELLENT food, and a few nights a month we get takeout on nights that we both get home late or don't feel like cooking. It's amazing, but what the heck is up with rice noodles and some seasonings costing $20? It's NOODLES. So we need to make our own.
This version of Pad Thai is vegetarian; the protein comes from peanuts and egg. I'm obsessed with it, but the main deal with this recipe is the sauce: you can use different veggies, add protein, change up the noodles - the sauce is key, and the rest of the dish can be exactly as you'd like it to be on the night that you make it. One bonus of the rice noodles is that they cook FAST, so if it's a weeknight where you don't feel like cooking but also you have an existential crisis every time you spend $20 on pasta this is definitely the recipe for you. Existential crises on Thursdays are such a bummer, amirite?
For the sauce, we grab soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, lime juice, rice vinegar, fish sauce, and chili sauce. This is some random Thai stuff I had in the fridge from when it was on clearance, but Sriracha or anything like that works perfectly. Then for the pad thai we have rice noodles, two eggs, bean sprouts, cilantro, green onion, and peanuts. These flavors together are just heavenly.
First, bring a large pot of water to a boil for the noodles. Preheat a skillet to medium-high heat with a drizzle of oil, too. Then, mince the garlic.
Let's make the sauce! Pour the soy sauce, sugar, rice vinegar, fish sauce, chili sauce, and the juice of HALF the lime into a little dish.
Then mix it all up! Don't freak out about the fish sauce. It's what makes Thai food taste Thai, so you just need to buy it and move on with your day. Promise.
When the water boils for the pasta, turn the heat OFF and add the noodles, then let them sit in the hot water for 5-7 minutes until they're soft but still al dente - rice noodles can overcook and disintegrate, so don't let them go too long! When the pasta is soft, drain it and rinse it with water so the noodles don't stick together.
Toss everything together in the skillet and taste the noodles - add more fish sauce for salt/tang and chili sauce if you want extra spice. You could also add fresh jalapeno! I've had that in pad thai before and OH YES.
This is really simple and quick, and one of my new favs. Beef it up any way you like with extra veggies and protein, but the plain version is REALLY good too. Enjoy!
- 1 package flat rice noodles 8-10 ounces or so
- 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons red chili sauce plus more if needed
- 1 lime
- 2 eggs
- 3 cups fresh or canned bean sprouts
- ¼ cup chopped peanuts
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves
- 2 scallions sliced
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and a large skillet to medium-high heat with the olive oil. Combine the fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, chili sauce, and juice of half the lime in a small dish. Set aside. Cut the second half of the lime into wedges for serving.
- When the water for the noodles boils, turn the heat OFF and add the noodles. Let sit for 5-7 minutes, according to package directions, until the noodles are soft but still al dente (they'll cook more in the skillet), then drain and rinse with water.
- When the oil shimmers, add the eggs to the skillet. Scramble for 4 minutes, breaking up with a spoon as you go, until the eggs are cooked through and slightly browned. Remove from the skillet until ready to use.
- Add the garlic to the skillet and saute for 2 minutes until fragrant, then add all of the sauce, the noodles, the egg, and half the bean sprouts and peanuts. Toss together and taste: add more chili sauce or fish sauce if you'd like.
- Serve topped with the remaining peanuts and bean sprouts, and garnish with green onion, cilantro, and lime wedges.
- Rice noodles break up a LOT as leftovers - make this right before you eat it!