DO NOT BE tempted to cut out the sugar – understand that Pad Thai Sauce is a very delicate balance between sweet (sugar), salt (fish sauce) and acid (vinegar or tamarind) . I’ve already lowered the sugar as much as I could while preserving the balance. That being said, if you are intent on cutting the sugar back, cut back the on the vinegar and fish sauce as well. 🙂 *Leaving the sugar or honey out will result in terrible Pad THAI! Also the same with leaving out the fish sauce (or vegan fish sauce) or leaving out the acid.
Fish sauce: If you are not accustomed to fish sauce, or are using a brand you haven’t tried before (some are fishier than others) feel free to go a little lighter on the fish sauce- like 2 tablespoons. It is an acquired taste. If going less, you will need to may add a little more salt to taste.
DOUBLING: Doubling the recipe will double the time and be much harder to manage all at once, in one wok. If doubling, I highly recommend cooking in two batches in the wok.
Use time-saving ingredients like store-bought peeled garlic (or minced garlic) and ginger paste in a tube. Using pre-cooked chicken is fastest -leftover rotisserie chicken is perfect. Also you could make the Pad Thai sauce ahead!
Tips for health: An easy way to cut back on the oil in the recipe is to poach the thinly sliced chicken in a little salted water (just enough to barely cover) and poach in the pan or wok for just a few minutes. Drain and set aside. The thinner you slice the chicken the faster it will cook.
TIPS for flavor:
- Peanut Oil and chili flakes really really elevate this dish!
- Tamarind: If using tamarind (instead of rice vinegar) make tamarind “water” by mixing 1 -2 teaspoons tamarind paste with 2 tablespoons water. Or use 1-2 teaspoons tamarind “concentrate” with 2 tablespoons water. Use this in place of the vinegar. This is more traditional but I realize not everyone has access to tamarind. Tamarind is extremely sour so if unfamiliar, go light. You can always add more.
- TEXTURE IS KEY! Everything from frying the noodles to adding the bean sprouts and roasted peanuts elevates this.