Been in a bit of a Thai mood lately. I've always liked Thai food but haven't had the money to go out so I'm working on getting down a few recipes as well as the restaurants so I can eat it at home. I like Phad Thai for the most part but can't justify buying it in a restaurant because 10 minutes after I eat I'm starving again. Credit the rice noodles for that I think.

Phad Thai isn't really an authentic dish just like Chicken Tikki Masala didn't come from India and fortune cookies didn't come from China. Phad Thai translates as Thai Style noodles and from the name you'd realize that if it's Thai Style it isn't Thai.. Because of the popularity of the dish I've heard that it's made it's way to Thailand and you can actually buy it there now.

Anyway it's a staple at American Thai shops so off I go to make it. In my previous post about Thai Red Curry I mentioned that I was searching for one particular brand of Red Curry paste - Mae Ploy. In my search I also found Mae Ploy brand Phad Thai sauce and they only wanted $1.67 at 99 Ranch Market so I picked some up. Mae Ploy Pad Thai sauce has the following ingredients in it.

  • Palm Sugar
  • Shallot
  • Water
  • Fish Sauce
  • Soy Bean Oil
  • Vinegar
  • Tamerind
  • Red Chili
  • Salted Radish
  • Dried Shrimp
  • Salt

Since I have 8 of those ingredients already in the garage I may see how much it would cost to make this. You might be thinking that at $1.69/jar it's not worth it but I had to use two jars for my 16 oz of noodles making 50% of the cost of the meal the sauce. The flavor of the sauce was good enought that I also wondered if Thai shops were just using this with some additions of their own instead of fashioning their own sauce but it seemed cost prohibitive. We got probably two orders of Pad Thai out of two jars so maybe they do. I still think they make their own or buy it in bulk.

I mentioned that I used two jars but that's not entirely true. I also had a jar of Por Kwan Pad Thai Sauce which I also added to my pan. This in my opinion is the correct amount of sauce for 16 oz Rice Stick noodles but flavor of the Por Kwan was so so wherease the Mae Ploy looked and smelled like great Pad Thai sauce. Mae Ploy impresses me again!

To make the dish complete I added several things.

  • 1.5 lb of chicken
  • 16 oz Rice Stick noodles
  • 2 8 oz jars Pad Thai sauce
  • Large handful of Mung Bean sprouts
  • Small handfull of chopped peanuts

The results were so close to what restaurants sell that a guest wouldn't know they're not eating takeout. My next step is to do a cost analysis on the Pad Thai sauce and see how much it would cost to duplicate it.  The entire meal for 5 people cost us $7.50 (half of which is the sauce) which is a bit more expensive than our usual meals. The Thai Red Curry cost about $4.50 for the same amount so you can see my motivation to make the sauce.