There are many versions of Pad Thai. I have lived in Bangkok enough and traveled around Asia to come up with this authentic recipe and have experimented several times in my kitchen. The key is to stir the noodles gently and spice it up based on your preference. I love adding generous amount of lemon juice, Thai chili and crushed peanuts when i make it for myself. Few ingredients are totally optional and I have only added for nutritional purpose.
1 1/2 cup pad Thai noodles, boiled (optional to use fresh noodles)
3/4 cup carrots, shredded (optional)
1/2 cup baby spinach (optional)
1 small red onion, thinly sliced (optional)
1 tablespoon oil
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
1/2 cup bean sprouts, blanched in hot water
1/4 cup crushed peanuts, roasted
1/2 cup firm tofu, grilled
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Thai chili powder or fresh chilies
1 tablespoon soya sauce
1 tablespoon pam sugar, crushed
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)
scallions and cilantro for garnishing
Prepare the seasoning sauce by mixing tamarind paste, chili powder or sriracha, lemon juice, salt and soya sauce. Let the sauce sit for 5-7 minuets.
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a wok or a large pan. When the oil is hot add garlic, onions, sesame seeds (optional) and sauté. Add baby spinach, shredded carrots (optional) and continue to sauté. Add grilled tofu, noodles and the seasoning sauce, put the flame on medium heat and cook the noodles until they become slightly dry.
Serve with lemon, bean sprouts, dry chili powder and garnish with crushed peanuts, cilantro leaves and scallions. Serve hot.