I cannot remember the last time I had Pad Thai. It's not something I ordered very often in Thai restaurants to begin with, being much more of a coconut curry fan, but there's something about obtaining a bottle of gluten-free soy sauce that makes you feel adventurous and ambitious. All of a sudden, you crave Pad Thai for the simple reason that now, you can eat Pad Thai.
A quick survey of my kitchen revealed that conditions were perfect for my first attempt at this dish. I had a bottle of tamarind sauce from an international grocery shopping spree of long ago, a bag of scallions in the freezer, frozen chicken tenderloins, stir-fry rice noodles, and several cloves of garlic. And that new bottle of soy sauce. It was a done deal - Pad Thai was happening.
I looked up a few recipes to get a general sense of what to do and then started frying. I make no claims that this is a remotely authentic method of preparation, but what I can say is that my kitchen quickly started to smell amazing, and what resulted lived up to the smell. This comes together pretty quickly and is easily doubled if you're cooking for more than one. Whether this is an old favorite or you're developing a new taste like I was, I think you'll love this recipe.
Sweet and Spicy Chicken Pad Thai
Makes 1 serving
Small handful of Stir-Fry Rice Noodles (just enough for 1 serving)
1 - 2 tsp. olive oil
1 small chicken tenderloin, chopped into small pieces (or about half of a chicken breast)
2 - 3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. crushed cashews or peanuts
1 tbsp. reduced sodium gluten-free soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp. tamarind sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1 - 2 tsp. lime juice
Ground black pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper to taste
Salt (optional - you probably won't need it because of the soy sauce)
*If you have a wok, that will be the optimal pan to use, but a nonstick pan will work just as well.
Place the rice noodles in a bowl and pour several cups of boiling water over them. Set the timer for 8 minutes and let them soak. You want them to be soft but not too soft; otherwise, they'll break up in the pan when you fry them. When they are al dente, drain them and set aside. If you aren't going to be using them right away, you might want to cover them in the interim with a bit of cold water to keep them from sticking to each other.
In a nonstick pan or wok, heat the oil. Add the garlic, scallions, cashews, and chicken and cook over medium heat until the chicken is cooked through. Add the cooked noodles, soy sauce, tamarind sauce, sugar, lime juice, and spices and cook until the sauce is mostly absorbed. Push it all to the side of the pan and crack the egg into the open space. Quickly scramble it, keeping it on that side of the pan until done, and then mix to combine it with the rest of the ingredients. Serve immediately topped with another squirt of lime juice and crushed cashews or peanuts.