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Chicken Pad Thai

Ten years ago I thought ordering Pad Thai was adventurous.  Now, I am usually searching for even deeper spicier Thai flavors to wow my palate.  Current faves include Thai curries or anything made with lemon grass such as lemony, spicy, intense Tom Yum soup (seriously so good — it deserves to have the word “Yum” in it).  That said, I still LOVE a classic Pad Thai and I’m always trying to convince my daughters to order it so I can eat their leftovers.  In my opinion, Pad Thai is usually pretty good whether it’s at a nicer Asian restaurant or a quick service one.  I just love the tanginess of it, the fresh bright limey goodness is like Thai comfort food.  All this leads me to say that I’ve never attempted to make Pad Thai at home.  But the other day, a friend suggested this recipe to me.  I’m usually up for cooking anything during the week as long as it’s relatively healthy and will feed the whole family.  I scanned the ingredients and knew it was likely to be pretty darn good.  It was!  My husband and I cooked together this night (which is rare on a week night!) so we had four hands instead of two…which was helpful.  Tip: Read through the recipe directions carefully before you start so you have what you need; this recipe has a few different steps and you need to do some prep work ahead of time but it comes together quickly.   The end result is fantastic…..perfect amount of spice too (it won’t bowl you over if you aren’t a super spice lover).  I’m already anticipating trying it again with shrimp!

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Chicken Pad Thai (Serves 4)

8 oz rice noodles (I typically choose Brown Rice Noodles)

1/2 tsp grated lime peel

1/4 cup lightly salted peanuts. finely chopped

3 Tbsp fish sauce (can sub light soy sauce)

2 Tbsp fresh lime juice (1 lime should provide enough zest and juice)

2 Tbsp packed brown sugar

4 1/2 tsp rice vinegar

1 Tbsp Asian chili sauce with garlic

3 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil, divided

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (2-3 breasts), cut into bite sized strips (or sub shrimp)

1 Tbsp finely chopped garlic

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups fresh bean sprouts

1/3 cup thinly sliced green onion

2 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro

Directions:

Place noodles in a large bowl.  Add enough hot tap water to cover; let stand for 10-15 minutes or until pliable but not soft.  Drain well, rinse with cold water and drain again.  Set aside.  In small bowl, combine chopped peanuts and lime zest.  Set aside.  In medium sized bowl, combine fish sauce (or soy sauce), fresh lime juice, brown sugar, rice vinegar and asian chile sauce.  Set aside.  In a wok or skillet heat 1 Tbsp oil and garlic over medium-high heat and add chicken; cook for approximately 6 minutes or until cooked through (if using shrimp, cook for about 3 minutes or until cooked through).  Set aside.  In another large skillet, fry the egg (cook 30 seconds, turn egg with spatula and cook for another 30-60 seconds).  Remove egg and chop.  Set aside.  In same skillet used for egg, combine 2 Tbsp oil, drained noodles and bean sprouts; cook on high for 2 minutes.  Add fish sauce/lime juice mixture and cooked chicken and cook for another 2 minutes or until heated.  Divide evenly between four plates and top with chopped fried egg, lime zest peanuts. green onions and cilantro.

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Adapted from Chicken Pad Thai on Recipe.com