When eating pad Thai, a favoured Thai dish, every bite is different as the intricate tastes work their way around your plate. Strong oils, sauces, vegetables, fish, herbs, eggs and tofu all play an important part in this noodle dish. We promise, you won’t be disappointed when you take your first bite… or your second… or your last.
- 2 oz. (60 g) boneless pork loin, cut into ¼-inch slices, then into 1 ½-inch pieces
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp tamarind concentrate
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
- 4 tbsp peanut or safflower oil
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 to 3 oz. (60 to 90 g) pressed tofu, cut into ¼-inch slices, then into 1 ½-inch pieces
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- coarse salt
- 8 oz. (225 g) dried rice stick noodles
- 8 oz .(225 g) bean sprouts, rinsed and drained (about 4 cups)
- 3 scallions, trimmed, flattened with the side of cleaver and cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
- 1 tbsp dried shrimp, chopped
- 1 tbsp salted radish (optional)
- 1 cup dry-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
- condiments, such as cayenne pepper, sugar, thinly sliced English cucumber, lettuce leaves, lime wedges and chile-vinegar sauce (recipe follows), for serving
Thai Chile-Vinegar Sauce
- ½ cup rice vinegar
- 2 to 3 tbsp sugar
- ½ mild chile pepper, such as Cubanelle, Hungarian wax or banana chile, stemmed and thinly sliced
- Toss pork with sugar in a small bowl to mix. Combine tamarind concentrate, soy sauce and fish sauce in another small bowl.
- Preheat a 14-inch carbon-steel wok over medium-high heat until very hot. Add 2 tbsp oil and swirl to coat sides and bottom. Cook garlic, turning over with a wooden spoon until golden, about 15 seconds.
- Add pork, spreading into a single layer and cook until golden on all sides, about 1 minute. Add tofu and sear, pressing it against the sides of the wok, 10 to 20 seconds. Remove to a plate; set aside.
- Season eggs with salt and pour into wok. Cook until the eggs start to set, about 1 minute. Using a spatula, cut into large pieces, and transfer to a shallow bowl or plate.
- While meat rests, reheat wok over medium-high heat until sizzling-hot. Add 1 tablespoon oil and swirl to coat sides and bottom. Cook noodles, tossing and turning often and pressing against the sides of the wok to sear, until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Push noodles up sides of wok and add remaining 1 tbsp oil to bottom of wok and 2 to 2 ½ cups bean sprouts and the scallions. Cook, tossing and turning, until wilted, about 20 seconds. Add dried shrimp and toss briefly with spatula. Add soy-sauce mixture. Cook, tossing and turning, about 30 seconds. Incorporate noodles. Transfer pork mixture to wok along with ½ cup peanuts and egg; toss gently to combine.
- Divide among bowls and sprinkle with cilantro to serve. Remaining bean sprouts, additional peanuts and other condiments should be served on the side.
Thai Chile-Vinegar Sauce
- Combine the vinegar and sugar in a small bowl, stirring until the sugar has dissolved completely. Add chile. Sauce can be refrigerated in a sealed container for up to 5 days.