Super Simple “Pad Thai”

June 23, 2011

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I gingerly call this dish “Pad Thai.” I guess it’d be more accurate to say this is what I consider to be the home cook’s quick and dirty version. I realize that it’s probably deeply offensive among serious cooks that I call this dish Pad Thai at all, and so I’m hoping the use of quotation marks will soften the blow enough to avoid a painful (though probably well-deserved) tongue lashing.

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But seriously- have you ever attempted to make Pad Thai? For real? It’s painful. So very painful. And long. The first and only time I attempted it, I lost two full hours of my life, spent nearly $100, and used about a zillion ingredients as well as every pot and pan in my kitchen. And it didn’t even taste good. Nowadays, I have the good sense to order out my Pad Thai. Life’s too short. If I want to make something comparable at home, I go with this little number. I guess the recipe title could be considered a work in progress, but whatever you decide to call it, it’s delicious- a perfect bowl of hearty and soft soba noodles swimming in a creamy, peanut lime sauce. Mmmm.

Ingredients: (makes two servings)

1/2 package of soba noodles (cook and drain according to package instructions)

2 heaping Tablespoons creamy peanut butter

zest and juice of 1 lime (divided)

2 Tablespoons hot water

1/4 cup crushed peanuts

1 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce

1 teaspoon fish sauce (sub in soy sauce here for a vegan version of this dish)

1/4 cup finely chopped green or white onion

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Directions: In a mixing bowl, combine peanut butter, hot water, tamari, fish sauce, onions, and half of the lime juice and zest. Whisk together. Add the cooked soba noodles and toss until the noodles are well coated.

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Divide noodles among two serving bowls. Top with peanuts and the remaining lime juice.

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Garnish with remaining lime zest and a wedge of lime (or more green onion!) for added color. Serve right away so that the peanut sauce stays creamy.

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Grab hold of those chopsticks and dig in!

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Until every last noodle is in my belly.

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* Keep in mind that this an extremely basic version that can be dressed up with more sophisticated ingredients to suit your taste. Fried egg, tofu or shrimp would be delicious protein additions. Cilantro, garlic and chilies would also work well. You could even experiment with different types of noodles.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Willian October 9, 2014 at 1:46 pm

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Kandace September 25, 2014 at 1:45 pm

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for something regarding this.

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scruffylolly January 19, 2012 at 8:14 pm

my mums new years resiloution is for each member of the family to make a new dish each week. I’m cooking tonight and this looks like the perfect meal.. cheap, easy and tasty! i can’t wait to make it! Thankyou

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Summer J. November 16, 2011 at 11:15 pm

I made this, and it was AMAZING!!!! So simple, and easy, glad i found this blog.

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Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods November 17, 2011 at 9:03 am

Yay! I’m so glad you liked it! Makes my heart happy. :)

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Lisa {smartfoodandfit.com} June 25, 2011 at 1:53 pm

I love Pad Thai. When I was pregnant with all three of my boys, I craved Pad Thai! I never made it with these noodles, I think I’ll try it the next time I make it! Have a great weekend Jen! :)

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Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods June 25, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Thanks, Lisa! Hope you like it.

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Charles June 24, 2011 at 11:21 am

First of all: the noodles look amazingly delicious. I’m going to make these at home ASAP as I have all the ingredients at arm’s length. Secondly, I must admit that as I was reading this blog entry I felt my jaw drop lower and lower as I got through the recipe: this has no semblance whatsoever to Pad Thai, even if the moniker is in quotation marks. If my Thai parents saw this recipe they would probably cry blasphemy :-) .

If anything your tasty dish is probably more closely related to a Japanese sesame-soy noodle salad or even a Thai peanut sauce noodle stir fry… the main offender here is the noodles (and, to a certain extent, the peanut butter). Pad Thai has traditionally used flat rice noodles, never soba, or ramen, or even pasta noodles. It’s what makes Pad Thai, well, Pad Thai. And while the beauty in making Pad Thai is that it’s a very customizable dish for a variety of taste buds, the fact remains that it has to always be made with rice noodles. It is *the* essence of this dish.

That said, your noodles are truly inventive and do sound very delicious. I can imagine serving them cold as a side dish to a cucumber salad or chicken satay. But please, don’t call it Pad Thai :-) .

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Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods June 24, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Charles, thank you for your comment. :) I appreciate your point of view and definitely expected to get feeback of this sort. I completely agree that this dish is quite different from true Pad Thai, but having tasted many different versions of Pad Thai (and there are many, many ways to make it), I think this recipe captures the spirit of the dish nicely. For me, that’s what it’s all about. Feel free to switch out the noodles and play around with the ingredients. Give it a try and see what you think!

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Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum June 24, 2011 at 9:58 am

THANK YOU for the simplicity! Every time I want to make pad thai, the recipes that I find are ridiculously involved with like 30 ingredients. :) This looks easy and delicious!

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Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods June 24, 2011 at 10:17 am

So glad to help! Hope you like it!

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Stephanie@Internationalcookingclub.blogspot.com June 24, 2011 at 7:46 am

OOoh I was looking for an easy at home recipe of pad thai!!!! Thanks so much for your version – very easy indeed! and sounds deliscious!

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Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods June 24, 2011 at 8:03 am

Glad I could help out! I hope you like this version!

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Lauren at Keep It Sweet June 24, 2011 at 6:01 am

I had now idea Pad Thai was so complicated! I’d be happy with your version any day.

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Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods June 24, 2011 at 8:03 am

I know, right? Pad Thai doesn’t seem like it would be that tricky, but for me it was craziness. ;)

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Aparna E. June 24, 2011 at 12:23 am

Er, I meant WITHOUT fish sauce :P I should really go to bed..

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Aparna E. June 24, 2011 at 12:23 am

Mmmm I love Pad Thai or any spicy noodle with peanut-y goodness haha. Out of curiosity though, do you think it could be made with fish sauce? Just wondering if there was a different kind of sweet/salty sauce that could be used to make this completely vegetarian :\
And damn it Jen! Now I want some Thai food :D

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Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods June 24, 2011 at 8:02 am

You could easily skip the fish sauce and throw in an extra dash or two of the soy instead. You could also play around with adding garlic, chilis and other ingredients to ramp up the flavors. Good luck!

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