Forget macaroni & cheese, this noodle dish tastes better than take-out and I bet you’ll be able to make it in 15 minutes after a few tries! I’ve always been intimidated by the idea of cooking Thai food at home. I assumed it would involve tons of exotic ingredients that might end up collecting dust in my pantry for months. After browsing some pad Thai recipes online, I realized it doesn’t have to be all that complicated. You probably already have sriracha sauce, soy sauce, and peanut butter around, right? So you don’t need much more! Here are the other staples you’ll want to keep around for Asian cooking:
- Fish sauce – This is a simple sauce of fermented anchovies, water, and salt. The flavor isn’t fishy when you add a tiny bit to food. Instead, it imparts a savory depth of flavor that will blow your mind! There’s a great article on Serious Eats about ways to harness the umami flavor in all kinds of world cuisine.
- Fresh ginger – Makes everything taste fresh! Buy some ginger root, chop it up, and store in your freezer if you’re not going to use it frequently.
- Soba noodles – These are Japanese noodles made with high protein buckwheat flour, which means they boast 8 grams protein per 2 oz serving. Best of all? They cook in FOUR minutes! (Yeah, I know I’m mixing Thai and Japanese cuisine with today’s recipe, but it works!)
- Sambal olek- Chili paste. It’s like a thicker, chunky version of sriracha sauce. I’ve used it in my African pork tenderloin recipe here.
Ready for an easy starter Thai recipe?? Here you go!
(serves 1-2 people, depending on appetite)
3.1 oz bundle of dry soba noodles
1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon sambal olek (chili paste), or sriracha sauce
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup julienned vegetables of choice (ie carrots or zucchini cut into little matchstick sized pieces)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
3 oz shredded rotisserie chicken or cooked shrimp (optional)
Lime wedge, green onion, bean shoots, chopped nuts, and/or sriracha sauce for garnish
1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and chop all your vegetables. Prepare your sauce in a small bowl by whisking together peanut butter, soy sauce, water, chili paste, and fish sauce. Set aside.
2. Add soba noodles to the boiling water and cook for 4 minutes while completing the remaining steps.
3. Heat canola oil in a 10″ skillet. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute.
4. Add the julienned vegetables to the oil, ginger, and garlic. Sauté for an additional 2 minutes.
5. Drain the soba noodles and toss into the skillet. Add apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and sauce. Stir to coat. Add chicken or shrimp at this point, if using.
6. Serve hot and garnish as you wish. I like my noodles with a squeeze of lime, some chopped green onion, sriracha, and sliced almonds!
Seriously, don’t be intimidated by the longer ingredients list here! This dish is fantastic and super quick to make. It’s not a traditional “pad thai” dish, though. If you’re looking for something more authentic, head over to my friend Laura’s new blog, www.earth2laura.com, where she shares recipes for world cuisine. Today she is featuring a legit pad thai recipe!