I learned to love pad thai during frequent trips to Bangkok for work over the past few years. My husband loves pad thai as well, and will order it whenever he sees it on the menu. We’ve tried the versions in People’s Palace and Benjarong (both expensive but worth it), Silk in the Fort (pretty good, with beautiful presentation), Som’s (seriously, seriously overrated and cloyingly sweet), and Chariya’s (good and reasonably priced). Recently, I’ve been ordering it from the Sunday Legaspi market, but I decided to try and make my own one of these days so we can have it whenever we want.
Since I don’t like using instant mixes, I’ve searched for tamarind paste in Landmark and Rustan’s for several weeks now but to no avail. Finally, while we were in Chinatown to buy my favorite hopia from Ho Land, I found a jar of tamarind paste at Bee Tin Grocery for 80 pesos. With that, dinner for today was decided: some home made pad thai! Since I’ve never tried making pad thai before, this is one of the few times that I actually stuck to a recipe, which I found online here. It’s basic enough that I had everything in my pantry aside from the tamarind paste. First, I soaked the noodles in water to soften them up, then I prepared all the other ingredients. For stir fries like this, one thing I learned (the hard way) is to have everything prepared and ready to throw in your pan once you start since everything comes together very quickly once you start cooking. So make sure your peanuts, tofu, beansprouts, onions, garlic and chives are ready to go!
The recipe is pretty simple, it took around 30 minutes for everything to come together but that’s because I toasted the peanuts from scratch (I had fresh peanuts on hand since we like to snack on boiled peanuts every now and then) and fried up the tofu separately. The verdict? Pretty good, but next time I’ll probably use different noodles. The ones I had were advertised as for ho fan and pad thai so they were a little softer in texture than we would like. Also, it would be better with a bit more sauce. But the taste was excellent, this will definitely make another appearance in our house with a few tweaks in the near future. :-)