Prep. time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10-20 minutes
- 8-16 oz. rice noodles (I bought A Taste of Thai brand; you can use any width—my cousin uses wide, I used a thinner noodle; I made up a whole box of noodles and tossed them in as desired)
- Approx. 2-4 chicken breasts, cubed (small pieces work best because they cook faster)
- Approx. 2 bunches green onions, chopped
- Approx. 1-2 bags (1-3 cups?) bean sprouts
- Approx. 1 container (a few ounces) fresh cilantro
- Approx. 2-4 eggs, scrambled
- Approx. 1 cup peanuts, whole or coarsely chopped
- Approx. 3-6 limes, cut into wedges
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup fish sauce (it smells kind of like cat food, which is obviously not appealing, but it tastes wonderful once it's cooked and added to the noodle mixture)
- 1/2 cup tamarind (this can be hard to find—I looked up substitutions for it and found that certain fruit juices, like orange and lime, can be used; I used the juice of 3 limes instead of tamarind and I think it tasted good)
- 1 tsp. chili garlic sauce (I didn't have this, so I just sprinkled in a dash of garlic powder and a dash of chili powder)
Follow the package instructions for cooking/soaking the noodles (the brand I used said to soak the noodles in very hot water—I boiled water, then poured it in the bowl—and soak for at least 30 minutes). You don't want them to be super soft and soggy, but you don't want them to be too firm either.
If cooking one large batch: In a large hot pan or wok, heat about 1 tbsp. oil (a mix of peanut and canola is what my cousin recommended; don't use olive oil). Add the chicken and cook until just cooked through. Add the noodles (as much as you want) and mix them with the chicken. Add the green onion, sprouts, peanuts, and scrambled egg (make sure it's broken up into small pieces). Add the sauce and mix and let it cook for a few minutes, until the noodles and chicken soak up the sauce, the peanuts start to brown lightly, and the green onions and sprouts are crisp yet tender. Serve topped with fresh-squeezed lime juice and cilantro, if desired. Additional peanuts, fresh sprouts, and fresh green onion may be set out in small bowls so people can add more to their dish if desired, and cilantro and lime can also be set out in bowls.
If cooking in individual batches/per person: Basically, you'll do the same as above, but in smaller portions. Ask each person what they want and how much and add a smaller amount of noodles and sauce. Serve in the same way as above.
This dish combines interesting textures, tastes, and smells to create a delicious, tart, nutty, sweet dish. The bright, clean taste of the lime and cilantro add a burst of flavor to the sweet green onion, tender chicken, and salty peanuts. The sauce is a delicious mix of sweet, from the brown sugar, and salty, from the fish sauce, and the soft rice noodles easily soak it up, making them incredibly flavorful. Feel free to play around with the ingredients—subsitute shrimp for chicken, try cashews instead of peanuts, or experiment with other vegetables. This dish reheats really well, especially if you warm it back up in a pan with a little bit of oil rather than in the microwave (we actually had the leftovers for dinner tonight, along with fruit salad from my grandma and some leftover desserts from a party last week—an attempt to clean out our overloaded fridge, haha).