I am a noodle fanatic. I love all types. And if you take a look around my blog, you’ll find several noodle recipes. I prefer noodles to rice with Asian dishes. There’s something so satisfying about every saucy bite. Richard bought me a pasta attachment for my mixer a couple of years ago. I made homemade egg noodles for soup and beef & noodles in no time flat. Before that, I had a Marcato pasta maker and I’d hand crank them out or make sheets of pasta for ravioli. There’s nothing like homemade noodles. And there are so many shapes of dried pasta available at the store, too. I’ve been known to loiter in the pasta aisle at the grocery just to look and see what’s new. It’s my favorite grocery aisle.
One noodle I’ve not served before were Asian rice noodles. No, I did not make them – some things are worth paying for. I’ve made dishes with udon, eaten my fair share of lo mein, and everyone’s had ramen at some point in life. But rice noodles didn’t appeal to me for some reason. They looked wimpy. They’re translucent. They looked brittle and fragile. I just wasn’t sure if rice noodles would have the same toothy bite as pasta and egg noodles. Well, I was wrong. They do. As an added bonus, rice noodles are gluten-free.
One day I was perusing one of my favorite food blogs Half Baked Harvest. Tieghan posted her recipe for Saucy Garlic Butter Shrimp with Coconut Milk and Rice Noodles. I was smitten. There was something about her rice noodles swimming in a garlicky, coconut milk, butter sauce surrounded by perfectly cooked shrimp that pushed me over the edge. I had to try rice noodles.
Before I dived into Tieghan’s recipe, I wanted to cook something simple with rice noodles first just to get the hang of preparing them and to test the texture. I hopped over to my favorite Asian market where they have the best noodle aisles. Not just one aisle, but two. Yeah, I was there for a while.
A simple pad thai recipe was the way to go for my experiment. I found this great bag of pad thai noodles that were the perfect width – not too wide and not too skinny. And I found a quick and easy chicken pad thai recipe over at Tasty – One-Pot Pad Thai. Believe it or not, I have a good supply of Asian cooking ingredients in my pantry. Really, the noodles were the only ingredient I needed to buy.
Let’s talk a minute about cooking rice noodles.
The package instructions were worthless for someone who’s taking the rice noodle maiden voyage. Something like “cook in boiling water until done.” Hmmm.
And I wasn’t quite sure about Tasty’s boiling instructions. Again, “cook noodles in boiling water following package directions.” Hmmm.
I finally landed on very simple instructions on the Internet. “Put noodles in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over the noodles. Stir until they’re done.” Hmmm – but that’s the way I went. I figured I could check for noodle doneness without overcooking, which the instructions said would ruin any pad thai dish. The process took about 8 minutes for the width of my noodles, just a little short of al dente.
One-Pot Chicken Pad Thai is categorized as “gluten-free.” Soy sauce is made with fermented wheat. Be sure to use tamari or soy labeled as “gluten-free in this recipe if you have a gluten allergy or sensitivity
Any stir fry dish comes together quickly. Once you begin the cooking process, plan to be committed until the dish is finished. I don’t think the cooking part took more than 20 minutes. I get all my slicing and dicing and make the pad thai noodle sauce in advance of going to the stove.
First, boil four quarts of water. Place dry noodles in a large bowl. Pour the boiling water over the noodles and stir around with tongs to make sure the noodles are submerged. Every once in a while, stir the noodles to make sure they aren’t sticking together. After 6 minutes, start checking for doneness. Finished noodles for pad thai should be slightly short of al dente. Drain the noodles in a colander, rinse with cold tap water to stop the cooking, and run your fingers through the noodles to make sure it’s all cooled down nicely. Shake the colander to remove as much water as you can. Pour one Tablespoon toasted sesame oil over the noodles. And using tongs, toss them until they’re coated with oil so they don’t stick together. Set aside.
- Cut one large chicken breast in half horizontally, slice into strips and dice into 1″ cubes. Set aside.
- Crack two eggs into a small bowl and lightly whisk. Set aside.
- Slice 1/3 cup of shallots or one large shallot into thin rounds. Set aside. (In a pinch, I’d sub red or sweet yellow onion.)
- Seed one medium fresh red chile. Cut into thin slivers. Set aside.
- Slice 3-4 green onions into 1″ pieces. Set aside.
- Rough chop 1/2 cup fresh cilantro. Set aside.
- In a 2-cup measure mix 3 Tablespoons each fish sauce, rice vinegar, gluten-free soy sauce or tamari, brown sugar, lime juice, sriracha. Mix and set aside.
OK – you’re ready – let’s go! Time to tell your people to wash their hands, set the table, and get a beverage. Your saucy hot pad thai will be ready in minutes. In my beloved family, that process takes at least 20 minutes – just enough time to pull everything together.
Heat a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Brush with 1/2 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil. Add lightly beaten eggs to the skillet. Scramble until very lightly browned. Remove to a bowl. Return skillet to the cooktop.
One large chicken breast will make four servings. I sliced the breast in half and cubed it into 1″ pieces. Over medium-high heat, brush the skillet with 1/2 Tablespoon toasted sesame seed oil. Add the chicken cubes, stir, and saute until there’s no more pink in the middle. Remove cooked chicken to a bowl with the cooked eggs. Return skillet to the cooktop.
Right now your skillet is pretty hot. You can see the beautiful brown bits of flavor leftover from browning the chicken. Reduce heat to medium. Add the shallots and peppers. Quickly saute for 1-2 minutes. Add to bowl with chicken and egg. Set aside.
Here’s what your lovely reserve bowl should look like after all that quick stir-frying. Time to move on to the star of the show.
Add cooked rice noodles to skillet. Remember – your noodles are coated with toasted sesame oil – don’t worry immediately about sticking to the bottom of your pan. Using tongs, toss noodles in the skillet.
Return the chicken, veggies, and scrambled egg to the skillet. Continue to toss with tongs until all is incorporated.
Pour sauce into the skillet and toss to coat
Add cilantro, green onions, crushed peanuts, and bean sprouts. Toss to combine. Divide onto individual plates or bowls and garnish with crushed peanuts, green onions, and cilantro. Enjoy!
- 4 SERVINGS
- 8 oz pad thai rice noodles
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 large chicken breast, cut into 1" chunks
- 1/3 cup or 1 large shallot, thinly sliced into rounds
- 1 red chili, stem and seeds removed and cut into slivers
- 1-15oz can bean sprouts, drained OR 2 cups fresh bean sprouts
- 1/2 cup peanuts, crushed
- 3-4 green onions, cut into 1" pieces
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- For the Sauce
- 3 Tablespoons each fish sauce, rice vinegar, gluten-free soy sauce or tamari, brown sugar, lime juice, sriracha
- Prepare rice noodles Place uncooked noodles in a large bowl. Pour 3-4 quarts of boiling water over the noodles. Toss lightly with tongs to make sure noodles are submerged. Let steep for 6 minutes, tossing occasionally to keep noodles from sticking together. Check for doneness - noodles should be just short of al dente - maybe 1-2 minutes more. Drain in a colander. Rinse noodles with cold water to stop cooking and shake to remove excess water. Return to bowl and add 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil. Toss until noodles are coated. Set aside.
- Over medium-high heat, brush the inside of a 12" skillet with 1/2 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil. Add beaten eggs. Scramble until set. Remove to a bowl. Set aside.
- Brush the skillet again with 1/2 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil. Add peppers and shallots. Stir fry for 1 minute. Remove to bowl with eggs. Set aside.
- Brush the skillet with 1/2 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil. Add chicken and stir fry until the meat is no longer pink in the middle. Remove to bowl with eggs, peppers, and shallots. Set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add noodles and toss just to warm.
- Add reserved chicken, eggs, peppers, and shallots. Toss to combine.
- Add sauce. Toss to coat.
- Add bean sprouts, crushed peanuts, green onions, and cilantro. Toss to combine.
- Divide into individual servings. Garnish with extra crushed peanuts, green onions, and cilantro.