Tag Archives: pad thai

My Favorite Rice Noodle Brands for PAD THAI and other noodle dishes

Our favorite place to eat was Thai Orchid for thier Pad Thai

Pad Thai

 The noodles you use when making Pad Thai (or Pho, or any other Asian dish) is a very important recipe ingredient, just as pasta is when making some glorious Italian dish. Here are some of my favorites and between them, you should be able to find one in your region. You can also order online (but unless you buy in bulk it is a more expensive route). These rice noodles are no more expensive (and in lots of cases cheaper) than domestic brands so you will not have to feel guilty about buying them!

Roland Pad Thai Noodle Brand

Roland Pad Thai Noodle Brand – These noodles cost anywhere from $2.49 to $3.49

 This brand imported by the Roland Company is a product of Thailand. This company is a great place to find lots of really wonderful food products from around the world.

Rice Noodles

Rice Noodles  – These noodles are Erawan Brand and this company has a huge variety of noodles that are fun to experiment with. They are great value at $2.49

I can get these noodles from a supermarket that is pretty close to me. They come in S,M or L and this refers to the width. Sometimes I like the thin variety in soups and the widest (L) works great for Pad Thai, but it really is a matter of taste and your mood.

The large style from the Erawan Brand Noodle

The large style from the Erawan Brand Noodle

The packaging is exactly the same when it comes to all of these noodle brands but each width is a different color. So, if you put this item on your shopping list and like me, send your man out to the store (no real attention span when it comes to grocery shopping), make sure to note the color of the package or this simple task will become a nightmare.

Pork Pad Thai

Pork Pad Thai

Most of the packages say to prep the noodles by soaking in warm water but I find that this isn’t enough to get the texture I’m looking for. I don’t like soggy noodles by any means but the soaking method can leave the noodles hard on the inside and sort of gummy on the outside. My method is to plunge them into boiling water and let them cook until just al dente (have a toothsome bite) and then rinse in colander with lots of cold water. I can then toss them into my pan for Pad Thai or into a cooked soup. They warm up very quickly. You will have to experiment a little, depending on the brand (then it’s a good idea to write  what worked for you).

Main ingredients for Pad thai

Some of the key ingredients for Pad Thai (scallions, beansprouts, carrots, limes and of course, rice noodles

 Also, don’t limit yourself to Pad Thai and Pho. I use rice noodles for lots of other dishes that have a tenuous at best, Asian twist (which might only be soy sauce or sriracha sauce). It is lighter than pasta and for those Gluten Free people out there it is just the ticket.

This is the medium width from the brand Asian Best distributed by EastLand Corp

This is the medium width from the brand Asian Best distributed by EastLand Corp

I hope this has taken a little of the mystery out of buying rice noodles, but if in doubt, buy a brand with Thailand’s most revered animal on the package: the elephant.

Stir-fried beef with rice noodles

Stir-fried beef with rice noodles

  Once you try noodles from a country where it is a diet stable, you will never buy domestic noodles again!

Rice Noodles

Three Elephants Brand Rice Noodles

Pad Thai With Chicken & Improvised Sauce (Serves 6-8)

Most every day I ask my kids, and anyone else who might be dining with us, for dinner suggestions. I do this knowing full well I will not be able to please everyone, and that a food tiff between my two culinary-opinionated children is a possibility.

Pad Thai With Chicken & Improvised Sauce

My son always begs for anything Asian, while my daughter likes more comforting dishes like roasted chicken with a brothy pasta. Tonight I made something that appealed more to my son, and it was only because I found some super-fresh bean sprouts at the supermarket yesterday. When I think of the fabulous water-filled crunch of bean sprouts, I think of Pad Thai. It is the perfect combination of Asian zing, while also having the comfort factor, (the yummy noodles).

My daughter said not to give her too much as it was not her favorite thing in the world, but she ended up loving it as much as everyone else, declaring it to be my “best Pad Thai ever!”

I attribute this to the fact that my sauce combination turned out to be the perfect balance between tangy and subtly sweet. I usually make the sauce with tamarind paste, but since I didn’t have any, I improvised with lime juice and ketchup, (sounds awful I know, but it really worked!). That, along with some soy sauce and brown sugar made my Pad Thai sing.

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* This is a Blood type A Diet Friendly Dish. If you are really strict you may not want to use the ketchup, but I feel it is a small enough amount to be forgiven*

You will need:

1/3 cup soy sauce

3 tbs tomato ketchup

juice of 2 limes

3 tbs soft brown sugar

4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

4 chicken breast fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces

3 medium carrots, peeled and  grated (use large side of box-grater)

8 scallions, including green parts, sliced

4 large eggs, cracked into a bowl and beaten with a fork

3 cups bean sprouts

1 1/2 cups crushed peanuts (to crush peanuts: place in a strong plastic bag and roll with a rolling-pin until nuts are broken and slightly crushed)

1 lb rice noodles (sometimes called Pad Thai noodles, or Thai noodles)

6 cups chopped curly kale (optional)

Method:

1 – Prep all ingredients as directed above. Mix first 4 ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Cook rice noodles according to instruction, making sure to rinse well with cold water after draining. Scramble the beaten eggs in a small pan with a little olive oil, and set aside. When the egg is cold, break it up into smaller pieces in the pan with a wooden spoon.

Prep all ingredients before you begin

2 – Put large saute pan or wok (large enough to hold the entire finished dish) on high heat and add oil. When it is hot, add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

saute chicken

3 – Add grated carrots and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.

add carrots

4 – Add the scallions and scrambled egg and cook for a further 2 or so minutes.

add scallions and cooked eggs

5 – Add the bean sprouts and stir into rest of ingredients. Cook for another minute.

add bean sprouts

6 – Add the rinsed rice noodles and using two wooden spoons, turn the noodles into the rest of the dish. Add the sauce and cook everything until noodles are heated through. Add crushed peanuts and give one last stir.

add cooked noodles

Serve, passing more peanuts and a little hot sauce if you like.

I also served this with cooked kale

*To cook the kale: wash and chop into small pieces. Put 1 cup of water in a pot and bring to a boil. Add kale, cover pot, and simmer until soft (about 12 minutes). Toss into the finished dish*

Pad Thai with Shrimp (serves 6)

 Yesterday, myself and my son were out and about, and, on the way home chatted about possible dinner options. I would be getting a late start so I suggested some sort of fish dish? He was more in the mood for meat, something like lamb chops with an Indian feel. I told him that lamb chops were only an option if they were on sale, and if pork chops would satisfy his carnivorous cravings? We settled on chops with a cumin-based crust of some sort.

Main ingredients for Pad Thai

All that changed while walking to the meat section when he asked if I would consider Pad Thai (he actually said “your famous Pad Thai!” even though I don’t believe he had ever tasted my version)? Wow, I hadn’t made Pad Thai in a very long time. Pad Thai is a wonderful dish, but when the kids were a certain age their taste buds were not used to the strong taste of fish sauce and tamarind paste, and I forgot all about it. They are now older and have grown accustom to unusual tasting food, and have eaten Pad Thai in restaurants several times, but, I don’t remember ever making it for them; until last night!

I said I would make it if the bean sprouts were fresh and crisp looking. If not, no Pad Thai! I think the bean sprouts make the dish, and the only thing worse than no bean sprouts, is a bowl of pad Thai with brownish sad strings that pose as sprouts!

The bean sprouts were lively looking, and so, we has a wonderful dinner last night. My son loved it so much he had me fry the leftovers for his breakfast! I cooked shrimp to add to the dish, but it is great with no meat whatsoever.

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You will need: 3 tbs tamarind concentrate, 1/4 cup soy sauce or fish sauce, 3 tbs soft brown sugar (light or dark), 4 tbs vegetable or peanut oil, 1 bunch scallions including green parts, sliced, 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped, 1 tsp cayenne pepper flakes, 3 medium carrots, grated, 4 eggs, barely beaten, 1 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined, 1 14 oz package rice noodles (sometimes called stir-fry noodles or even Pad Thai noodles), 1/2 cup peanuts, chopped.

1 – Put pot of water on to boil for the rice noodles. When it comes to a rolling boil, turn off heat and add rice noodles. Let them steep for about 8 minutes. Drain into colander and rinse with lots of cold water. Set aside.

2 – Mix the tamarind concentrate, soy sauce and sugar together in a small bowl and set aside.

3 – Put a saute pan on high heat and add 1 to 2 tbs oil. When it is hot, (be patient) add the shrimp and stir-fry for 4 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside.

First, saute shrimp

4 – Put a big saute pan on high heat and let pan get hot (if you are using the same pan that you used for the shrimp, make sure to wash and dry it, or, your veggies will stick). Add 3 tbs of oil and wait 1 minute. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and swirl in the oil for 30 seconds. Immediately add the carrots and cook, stirring frequently for 3 minutes.

First stir-fry garlic with chili flakes, then add carrots

5 – Add all but a handful of scallions (save some for garnish) and cook for another minute.

next add scallions and cook for 1 minute

6 – Push vegetables over to the side and add the lightly beaten eggs to the hot pan. Leave for a minute before touching. Scramble very quickly and then mix in the vegetables. Add the noodles and mix in quickly. Add the bean sprouts and the sauce and mix until everything is hot (about 1 or 2 minutes). turn off heat and toss in the shrimp.

Stir-fry eggs

Divide between shallow bowls and garnish with some peanuts and raw scallions. If you like it even hotter, add more pepper flakes or sriracha sauce (what is sriracha? – type in my search box for more information)

Garnish with peanuts