When it comes to kids and food, noodles are a no-brainer…and flavors of Pad Thai noodles can boldly take on the taste buds of all age-groups and ethnicity.
Azlin Bloor or Lin as she’s fondly called, a dear friend from Google +, wears many hats. She is a cooking instructor based in England, and also has two amazing courses on Udemy – a ‘Noodle Mastery Course’ (from where I got this recipe) and her new one ‘Cooking Italian for Beginners’ – both courses and cuisines are favorites of my family.
Lin is also the author of ‘Simply Singapore’ an Amazon bestseller. In addition, you’ll love her site Linsfood, where she is constantly adding new recipes, and her fun AZ Entertainment channel where I appeared on her live show ‘Savour the Flavour’ (here’s a link to the recording).
Our virtual friendship takes little effort on either side – I enjoy her zeal for life and straightforward attitude to food which resonates with my own.
Her Pad Thai noodles recipe successfully hit the spot with my boys, and left us with a new family favorite weeknight meal. The sauce made as per Lin’s recipe can be stored in a glass bottle and used for at least a couple of meals, by changing out the veggies and protein. Such multi-tasking recipes are right up my alley!
Lin and I agree on one thing – Thai food should not be over sweetened. You don’t want the amazing flavors going on in this cuisine to be marred by sugar…of any kind.
So let’s join the boys in making a simple flavor-filled Pad Thai, shall we?
Have your kids read the recipe and gather the ingredients. We followed Lin’s video instructions and printout – as always, with tweaks to suit my boys’ tastes. (Read: 10 Things to Consider While Cooking New Cuisines with Kids.)
Make the sauce (this is so simple, my kids were amazed at how quickly it came together):
In a saucepan, bring to a boil 1 cup tamarind juice (I mixed equal amounts of bottled tamarind concentrate with water), 1 cup fish sauce and 2/3 cup brown sugar. Lin recommends palm sugar which is perfect for Thai dishes. I had a choice between Indian jaggery and brown sugar; I went with brown sugar since the sweetness is more dependable.
Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of ground red chili and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of red chili flakes. Go with your family’s spice preferences, but definitely add a little of each chili for authenticity. Lin recommends tasting the sauce and adding more sugar if you desire. We didn’t!
Now check your packet of rice noodles for directions. Ours needed to be briefly soaked in hot water to rehydrate. So we did that.
Get your wok out! If you don’t have one, use your best broad pan. Heat the pan well and then add about a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Make sure you have everything you need in the next 3 steps on hand – and now move quickly since the oil and pan are hot.
We went with beef for the protein, but use any meat or seafood you enjoy. Add the beef, then 1 chopped garlic clove, and a tablespoon of the prepared Pad Thai Sauce.
In 30 seconds, add vegetables of choice – we added 1/2 cup of thin carrot sticks and a handful of sliced red onion. Beansprouts are more authentic but the boys would have picked them out of the food.
Immediately, mix in noodles and 1/2 cup of sauce. The best way to stir after adding noodles is from under the noodles – as my son repeated Lin’s instructions ‘Under and Over’ – so the noodles don’t break, stick or overcook.
This next step is fun for kids. Move the noodles to one side and add 2 well-beaten eggs. Let them set, then scramble the eggs and mix in.
Lin recommends adding authenticity with dried shrimp floss and pickled turnips, but we didn’t have those on hand. We did however toss in some chopped peanuts and drizzle of lime juice.
Plate the noodles and watch them disappear very quickly. You may notice, I don’t have a single picture without the kids’ fingers in the Pad Thai Noodles!