Emily has been my dear friend for ages. We have been through boy drama together, health challenges and more. We were in each other’s weddings. She is the kind of person that you just want to spend time with because she is kind, funny, thoughtful, and brings out the best in you.
For the last ten-ish years we have done our best to keep regular dates to stay connected in each other’s lives. It’s gotten trickier as we moved further apart, but since living across town from one another, we discovered a happy thing: conveniently located between our offices is a much-loved Asian restaurant! So, once a month we make a point to catch up over our favorite meal: Chicken Pad Thai. Pad Thai is a dish that features stir-fried rice noodles along with vegetables, egg and (if you choose) a protein like chicken or shrimp. Emily and I both love Pad Thai, so it’s a bonus to have this special meal as a part of our time together.
Since discovering this delicious dish, mastering a Pad Thai recipe has been on my "bucket list." For some reason, though, the rice noodles always scared me off. I was afraid that they would get mushy and awful and I’d give up on Pad Thai forever (as I write this, I realize how dramatic that sounds, but seriously, I don’t want to botch my Pad Thai).
Recently, though, I found this recipe for Thai Ginger Chicken & Vegetables – I don’t know if it’s an "official" Pad Thai since it doesn’t include egg or some of the more citrusy flavors typical of the dish, but it is the perfect introduction to cooking with rice noodles. As it turns out, the recipe was far easier to execute than I expected. (I just love it when that happens!) Plus, the sauce for this recipe is the perfect consistency for Asian entrees, so now I have a better idea of how to modify my recipes when I’m "winging" stir fry. It was a great meal, and was the ideal springboard for my loftier Pad Thai pursuits.
To begin your foray into Thai cooking, begin by prepping the ingredients. A great way to simplify meal prep is to marinate the chicken overnight. It’s one less thing to worry about the day of, and it will have great flavor! Another trick I employed for this recipe was buying a bag of pre-washed broccoli and cauliflower florets. It was the perfect amount and saved me more time.
Now is also when you want to start prepping your Thai rice noodles according to the package’s instructions. (Mine had to soak in hot water for a half hour, so get that going!)
Meanwhile, heat up a large skillet and melt 2 tablespoons of butter until it’s sizzling.
Add the broccoli, cauliflower and red bell pepper strips. Cook the veggies over medium-high heat until they start to get a little tender (five-ish minutes). Be careful not to overcook so you don’t end up with mushy vegetables! Remove the vegetables from the skillet and cover them to keep them warm.
In the same skillet, melt your last tablespoon of butter. Add the marinated cubes of chicken.
Keep the chicken moving around so it can cook all the way through (when it’s cooked, there will be no pink left in the middle). This takes about 4-6 minutes.
When you’re certain the chicken is cooked through, add the broth and then bring the mixture to a boil.
In a separate bowl, mix the water and cornstarch. This is the thickening agent. It will help give your sauce that nice smooth consistency. And, when the sauce is a little thicker, it coats the rest of the ingredients (veggies, chicken, noodles) better.
Add the cornstarch mixture to the skillet and stir until well mixed. Then add your remaining 1/2 cup of marinade. Stir all of this mix again until the sauce comes to a boil.
Finally, add your veggies back in to the skillet.
And your drained rice noodles. Gently toss the ingredients so that yummy sesame sauce coats everything.
Serve your Thai Ginger Chicken & Vegetables immediately so it stays warm and the vegetables are still crisp. Enjoy with a friend! Now I just need to convince Emily to drive here for dinner so I can wow her with my Thai skills…
Do you love Pad Thai, too? If so, give this Thai Ginger Chicken & Vegetables a try, and let me know how it turned out for you.
Come back in a few days when Mallory will get in the St. Patrick's Day Spirit with an Irish dessert.
Amanda is paid to write for the Land O’Lakes Recipe Buzz® Blog.