so, i’m deliberately not calling these “pad thai noodles”. not only because i have zero credibility to claim that these are in any way authentic, but also because they aren’t even really intended to be “authentic” (americanized) pad thai noodles.
a quick bit of backstory: my husband LOVES pad thai. loves it, as in, orders it 99% of the time we get thai takeout or go to a thai restaurant. so, naturally, a few years ago i decided to try to make it at home. we scoured the interwebs and found a recipe posted by a woman who was actually from thailand but she claimed the recipe was geared towards american home cooks.
once our tamarind pods, pickled radishes, and palm sugar arrived from amazon (um, red flags anyone??), we got to work in the kitchen. and the resulting recipe was pretty good. my husband declared it our best attempt at pad thai at home yet.
aaaaand then we never made it again, because it was just too much work compared to how (not) good (enough) it was.
time passes, more thai takeout happens. occasionally i come across pad thai recipes that don’t require too many special ingredients (since i still have tamarind paste leftover, but more on that in the notes section) and i try them. once. most of them taste independently not very good and certainly not anything like pad thai.
so imagine how pleasantly surprised i was to stumble across displaced housewife’s weeknight pad thai. right off the bat, i noticed two things about her recipe: 1) it didn’t require lots of ingredients i didn’t have and couldn’t find and 2) she broke down the steps in a way that made the whole process seem doable, rather than totally overwhelming. as soon as we tasted the resulting noodles, i knew we were on the right track. this recipe grabbed the ‘best pad thai at home’ crown from the previous title holder, and was much easier to boot.
here’s the thing though: much as my husband orders pad thai 99% of the time, i get pad kee mao/drunken noodles basically every time. sooo, when i was testing and tweaking recipes for these thai noodles, i kept trying to nudge the recipe closer to pad kee mao and, invariably, my husband’s feedback on the latest version would be that the noodles were good, except for (whatever tweak i had just made to make the recipe more like pad kee mao). so, yeah.
in the end, we settled on these thai noodles that we both like. not quite pad thai, not quite pad kee mao, they are definitely a non-authentic, delicious hybrid. and i totally encourage you to tweak the recipe to your liking. as written, these thai noodles are just a little bit spicy, so you may wish to use more chili garlic paste or add crushed red pepper (my husband). or perhaps you like a stronger lime flavor (me), in which case you could squeeze a wedge over your plate before serving. regardless of how you adapt them, i hope you like these thai noodles as much as we do!
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