Thursday, March 7, 2013

Crispy Pork Pad Thai

as you might have guessed, i don't do take out much.  once upon a time, every once in a while, i did. and when i did it was always asian food. chinese, japanese, vietnamese, thai, korean, etc.  stepping so far out of my culinary culture, i always deferred to the professionals for authentic preparation and taste. after all, i did grow up in a home where we went to eng's kitchen every sunday night for chinese take out. it was tradition.  when i became aware of the standard ingredients that were being used in most asian restaurants and the big shift in our food supply, i brought production of those foods into my home as well.  with good research and lots of practice, any cuisine can be mastered.  for the past, say, 13 or 14 years, i make my own "take out" at home.  for all the reasons that you think - poor quality ingredients, GMOs, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, chemical preservatives, stabilizers and additives like MSG, etc - i prefer to make everything in house. as a mum, i am the nutritional gate keeper for my entire family and while i don't want us to miss out on the flavors we love, i need to be sure that those flavors are also packed with nutrients and free from harm to our growing, lovely bodies, brains and emotional states.  with all the right moves, a family favorite like crispy pork pad thai can easily become a staple in your home too.  a crowd pleaser from the word crispy, this dish will not disappoint and when you gather your Family2Table you will never take out this beautiful, loving feeling again.

please know that pad thai can be as simple or as complicated as you are willing to let it be.  it can include whatever you have in the house or whatever you decide to buy at the market.  there are some traditional ingredients and there are some must haves in terms of making the sauce. just know that whatever you decide to create for you and yours, is the right dish for you. as always, a recipe is a blueprint - take what you like and leave behind what you don't within reason (baking being the exception to the rule).  the ingredients listed below for this dish are what i had in the house last night -- and this morning since my family wanted me to make it again for them to take for lunch.



soaking rice noodles in filtered water is where we start.  you can soak them the night before or get them into water the day you will use them. i generally like to put them in cold water that morning that i will use them. if the noodles float back up, just put a plate on top to weigh them down.  i also recommend getting a jump on the cutting, chopping, julienne-ing and lime squeezing. as a matter of fact. go ahead and make the pad thai sauce a day ahead and leave it in the fridge. this sauce is multi-purpose and can stay in the fridge as a vinaigrette in a squeeze bottle for up to one month without a problem so go ahead and get started on that right now! 


1/4 cup fish sauce, 2 TBS. nama shoyu or some type of traditionally brewed organic soy sauce, the juice of one lime, 1 tsp. ume plum vinegar then emulsify into a vinaigrette using toasted sesame oil. an easy way to do this is to combine all acids in a glass jar, then add the oil, put a lid on and shake.  viola! asian vinaigrette!


once that is done and all your mise en place is laid out nicely, get your pan hot and put a pound of ground pastured pork into it to render and crisp.  i sprinkle a little bit of salt on the pork and cook till crispy but not overcooked.  there is a line and you do not want to cross it so watch what's going on and turn down the heat if you need to after you have a bit of crispy.  when that is done, using a slotted spoon, take out the pork and set aside. leave the pork fat in the pan and add to it, 2 TBS. of coconut oil. it will smell so good you will swoon, i promise. now, add some minced garlic and ginger. 

everything laid out and ready to go.

more swooning will ensue as that blooms and you start to smell the mingling of pork fat, coconut oil, ginger and garlic. be still my heart this be a potion of love!  get that temp up high again and now go ahead and add two eggs and wreck em! yeah, really make em look nasty and let em cook into the fat, ginger and garlic.

lift the noodles out of the water and let the water drip off. then place them in the hot hot pan and add chili flake and chopped peanuts. i don't touch the ingredients yet, i just let it all cook and then i start to layer in my prepared veggies placing the ones that take longer to cook on the bottom.

then i get to picking up my tongs and turning all of this to incorporate and get well mixed. i still let it cook for another 4 minutes or so before i hit it with the sauce!  this will bring about a heady perfume to stir the soul. at this point you will be incredibly hungry and will have to keep everyone in the house from attacking the pan...but WAIT! hang on, we're  almost finished.


at this point i add fragile stuff like herbs (cilantro, thai basil, mint) and frozen or fresh peas, bean sprouts, enoki mushrooms and then i add in the pork that was set aside.  then i add some chicken stock to moisten cause it should be wet and lovely, not sticky and gluey.  i turn down the heat, add a sprinkle of sea salt and then dish it up.  i always squeeze and bit more fresh lime and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.  it's a quick dish to put together once everything is prepped. i would say, no more than 15 minutes once that pan is hot and the pork has been cooked. so go ahead and give it a try and let me know what you think.  it you're ever having difficulty, please give me a buzz and let me know what's happening. we can always trouble shoot together. enjoy!

all purpose asian vinaigrette
make this in your squeeze bottle and store in the fridge.
will last up to a month but i guarantee you will use it all before then.

2TBS shoyu
1 TBS rice wine vinegar or Ume Plum Vinegar
the juice of 1 or 2 limes
1/4 cup fish sauce
3 TBS. sesame oil

Shake to combine and TASTE.
adjust with whatever your mouth needs
(mine usually needs more lime juice)

Pad Thai without pork

Soak Pad Thai Noodles in water to soften before frying

1 or 2 eggs
sliced garlic
grated ginger
chopped nuts (we use peanuts but almonds or brazil nuts are great too)
chili flake
julienne carrot, cabbage, red pepper, zucchini, broccoli
chopped scallion
bean sprouts
enoki mushrooms
thai basil (if you can't find this, regular basil is fine, so is mint)

- Heat a sautee pan until very hot
- add coconut oil and sesame oil till just smoking
- add garlic, ginger and egg (break egg up)
- add drained noodles
- add nuts and chili flake
- add vegetables
- Turn with tongs to wilt all veggies and so egg, ginger and garlic does not burn
- after a few minutes more add asian vinaigrette and mix to combine through
- add some stock (chicken, meat, veg) and mix through
- turn off flame and add fresh herbs
- serve with extra slice of lime for squeezing


  1. Thank you for this recipe! I made the pad thai for dinner tonight and it was absolutely delicious as well as quite quick. The only change that I will make in the future is not using a whole package of rice noodles - the kind that I bought overwhelmed the other ingredients.

  2. Replies
    1. Yes, I use ground pork but you can use any cut you like. I find ground pork is most versatile for this and crisps nicely without overlooking and getting tough.

  3. made this yesterday, loved it, and even loved it more for lunch and supper today because I didn't feel like cooking. thanks much! will make it again for sure.

  4. The results are listed here from last to first place.The aroma of their Summer Pad Thai is slightly salty, nutty and somewhat off-putting.This is a nice dish.
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  5. Oh my, I can smell the goodness from here! Just kidding! But really, from the looks of it, this is really a must try recipe! You’re an angel! This is another recipe for my collection. I can’t wait to try and serve this to my family and friends. Thanks a million!

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