I tend to make some version or another of pad thai pretty regularly. It’s one of those dishes that becomes second nature after making it a few times, it’s also pretty forgiving when it comes to substitutions on veggies and proteins. I call this version Texas Pad Thai. It includes southwest inspired ingredients like jicama, bell peppers, corn, and pecans.
Pad thai tastes great with the classic addition of bean sprouts and chives, but it works with a whole wide world of other veggies too. Bell peppers and jicama give this particular recipe a southwestern flair, but you should definitely try using snap peas, green beans, kohlrabi, or roasted eggplant sometime. As far as protein goes, these noodles love being topped with lean proteins like tofu, chicken, shrimp, or fish.
Texas Pad Thai
Serves about six
- 1 8 ounce package rice sticks / dry rice noodles
- 2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce (Thai soy sauce is best. Look for the bottle with a dragonfly on the front.)
- 1 tablespoon palm sugar or brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce, or an additonal tablespoon of soy sauce
- 1/2 cup water, stock, or broth
- 1 teaspoon crushed red chile pepper
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
- 1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
- 1 poblano pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 small jicama, peeled and cut into strips
- 1 bunch scallion, cut into 2 inch pieces
- 2 cups bean sprouts
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and cut into thin strips
- 1/4 cup frozen corn, thawed
- 1/4 cup toasted pecans, smashed/chopped
- 2 limes, cut into wedges
- Soak the rice stick noodles in cold water for at least one hour before you start to cook.
- Heat the water in the microwave, or on the stovetop until it is piping hot. Add the sugar, and stir to dissolve. Mix the sugar water with the tamarind, soy sauce, fish sauce, and chile pepper, then set it aside.
- Heat a deep skillet over medium heat. When the pan is nice and hot, add the oil.
- Saute the bell peppers for a few minutes, just long enough to heat them through, and give them a touch of color. Transfer them to a dish and set aside.
- Return the pan to the heat, adding a little more oil, if needed. Saute the jicama for a few minutes, then add the scallion and bean sprout. Saute for just a minute or two, then add the noodles.
- Using a pair of tongs, toss the noodles in the hot pan every 30 seconds or so. After a few minutes they should start to soften and change color. At this point you should add the pad thai sauce that you made earlier.
- Continue tossing the noodles in the sauce until they become tender. If you feel like the noodles need more sauce, whip up a second batch.
- Add the peppers back to the pan and toss them with the noodles. Squirt the juice from one of the limes over the noodles just before taking them off the stovetop.
- Taste the pad thai, and season it with a little salt, extra chile pepper, or lime as needed.
- Serve the pad thai right away, garnished with the cilantro, jalapeno, corn, and pecans. Place a wedge of lime on each plate.