The exact date that I started this blog two years ago has come and gone… I guess that’s what happens when you’re having fun riding roller coasters with your adorable niece instead of writing blog posts! But we shouldn’t let minor details like exact dates prevent us from continuing to celebrate, right?!
We kicked off the two-year anniversary celebration with a video of how to make som tam (Thai green papaya salad). This was a dish that I had made many times before, but it wasn’t until I watched the boyfriend’s mom make it that I realized how a good som tam should be made. So how about continuing the video series with another dish that I’ve struggled to get right? Yes, you guessed it. Next up is pad Thai!
Because pad Thai is so loved here in America, it was one of the very first dishes that I tried to make. And that first attempt was, well, memorable. But it wasn’t because I did anything heinously wrong. I started with a decent recipe. I had the right ingredients. I had a general idea of what I was supposed to do. It just wasn’t a stellar pad Thai.
Several attempts later, I finally had a dish that was blog-worthy (let’s call it year 0). But when I tried to make it again, I found that it would be absolutely wonderful sometimes and only so-so other times. And I have to admit, it’s pretty embarrassing to invite friends over for a so-so pad Thai!
So over the course of the next year, I continued to practice and experiment (year 1). I realized that the two main problems I was having were 1) proper rehydration of the pad Thai noodles and 2) getting the taste of the pad Thai sauce just right. For the noodles, fixing this problem was as simple as doing a little experiment with my kitchen timer. After a few trials, I concluded that precooking them for 6 minutes produced the perfect noodle consistency for me (I’d encourage you to do the same experiment in your own kitchen). The sauce was a little harder to get right because it was based on taste, but with a year’s worth of tasting experience, I had gotten to the point of being able to taste and adjust until it was just right.
This year (year 2), I’ve formalized the sauce even more. Because after tasting and adjusting and tasting and adjusting, I realized that I was always needing to add more sugar to achieve the perfect balance. This new sauce works well for me without so much reliance on my tastebuds, which is always a good thing when you’re just starting to cook Thai food! In addition to perfecting the sauce, I’ve also realized the importance of getting the sauce to noodle ratio just right. Because no matter how good your sauce is, if you don’t add enough of it, you’re going to end up with bland noodles.
With these simple little tweaks, making pad Thai is easier now than ever. The recipe and video below incorporate everything I’ve learned about making pad Thai over the past two years. I hope it helps in making your pad Thai the best you’ve ever eaten!