Authentic Pad Thai is very easy to prepare. The key is to prepare the sauce and other ingredients ahead of time. The rest is quick cooking time and simple assembly.
Combine the tamarind concentrate, fish sauce and sugar in a bowl and taste for any adjustments. Add sugar in small increments if you prefer a sweeter sauce. Add cayenne pepper (or chili powder or chili sauce) according to your heat preference. Stir together and set aside.
Bring a pot of boiling water to a boil, add about one tablespoon of oil and toss in the rice noodles (8 oz for two and 16 oz for four). Boil the noodles for three to five minutes, until pliable but slightly undercooked (al dente). I used thicker, linguine sized noodles so I needed four minutes. If you use thinner noodles check them at three minutes.
After boiling, drain the noodles into a colander and rinse with cold water. Drain well then toss in a small splash of oil. Set aside.
Cook the diced tofu (or whatever protein you plan to use) in an oiled pan, sprinkle garlic powder according to your taste or add fresh garlic. Cook until the tofu is lightly golden. Remove from pan and set aside.
It's best to cook pad thai in single serving batches or up to two if you have a larger skillet. While the pan is still hot, about medium heat, add one or two portions of the sauce and one or two portions of noodles (one handful or 4 ounces per person). Add more oil and/or sauce if the mixture looks too dry and toss quickly so the noodles get coated with sauce to prevent sticking.
After one or two minutes slide the noodles to one side of the pan and add the eggs (one for one serving and two for two servings). Cook for thirty seconds to one minute until the egg begins to set, scramble the eggs into smaller pieces with your spatula as it cooks.
Add the bean sprouts (as much or as little as you want), green onions, tofu, crushed peanuts and toss together. Garnish with more peanuts, lime wedges and cilantro (optional). Serve immediately.
Sauce: Use my proportions as a starting point. Mine is heavier on the tamarind flavor. Adjust the sugar and fish sauce according to your preferences. The sauce keeps so if you don't use it all refrigerated until next time.
Noodles: Each serving is about four ounces, about a handful of noodles once hydrated. The sauce is enough for four servings so you can double the noodles (to 16 ounces) and accompaniments to serve four. I don't recommend pre-soaking the noodles if you won't use them the same day as they are prone to sticking.
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