One of my absolute favorite quick lunches is a good pad Thai. I want it to be spicy, not too saucy, with a good ratio of noodles to other ingredients. In my humble opinion, there are a few good pad Thai options in Denver, but recently I've been enjoying Thai Monkey Club.
After eating the dish a few times, I thought I'd try to replicate it at home! The good news? I made a really good chicken pad Thai that you can make with fairly easy-to-find ingredients; if you can't find them at your local grocery store or more upscale places like Whole Foods, there are plenty of Asian markets around town that carry these basics. The homemade version is also much cheaper than the takeout version — no surprise there.
The bad news is that I really struggled getting the sauce exactly like Thai Monkey Club's. My homemade sauce (recipe below) is a really good starter pad Thai sauce and my family loved it, but Thai Monkey Club's sauce is a little different, for sure.
Other than that, though, the homemade version has all the required stuff you need: Some chicken, good rice noodles, an egg and lots of toppings.
Chicken Pad Thai at Home
Sauce serves 4.
Sauce Total time: 20 minutes
Pad Thai Time: 20 minutes
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 lime, juice only
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
Pad Thai (1 serving)
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
4 ounces chopped chicken
2 tablespoons carrots
1/2 cup shredded cabbage
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (optional)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
3 ounces rice noodles, cooked and rinsed with cold water
2-3 tablespoons of your homemade pad Thai sauce
Chopped peanuts, garnish
Chopped scallions, garnish
Sesame seeds, garnish
Combine the seven sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat. Stir together well until the sugar dissolves and the liquid starts to thicken — about six minutes. Remove the pan from heat and let the sauce cool; it will continue to thicken as it cools. If you don't use the sauce immediately, you can keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.
For pad Thai:
1. Heat a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and swirl. Then add the chicken and cook for two minutes. Add carrots and stir together; the carrots and chicken cook for another minute or two. The chicken should be mostly cooked through at this point.
2. Add shredded cabbage and ginger (optional). You can also add up to a teaspoon of red-pepper flakes for added spice at this point if you want. Stir to combine, and cook for a minute until the cabbage starts to wilt.
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3. Scoop your ingredients to one side of the wok and crack an egg into the pan. Let the egg sit for 30 seconds and then stir together vigorously with other ingredients.
4. Add in cooked, drained, and rinsed rice noodles along with 2-3 tablespoons of pad Thai sauce. Stir well to combine.
5. Transfer cooked pad Thai to a large bowl and garnish with peanuts, scallions and sesame seeds.
Have an idea for a dish to re-create for DIY Takeout? Leave a comment or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.