Pad Thai is one of those dishes that my husband and I find ourselves craving and subsequently ordering carryout rather than cooking what was planned for dinner. There was one restaurant in particular that we loved when we lived in Georgia that was so good we would eat there at least once a month. When we moved to Texas two years ago we set out to find a Thai restaurant that we would love just as much but we had no such luck. Knowing that, I decided that it would be a good idea for our pocket book to figure out how to make Pad Thai myself, its one thing to pay for food you love its another thing all together to spend that money on a disappointing dinner.
I have since made pad Thai on a fairly regular basis but I find myself getting tired of making the same things over and over. I started making pad Thai pizza, I will get around to posting that recipe, which is a nice change of pace but with the same great flavors. Then the other day I was making pad Thai and had coconut milk already open in the fridge and decided to add some in. The coconut milk really adds a nice mellow quality to the traditional sauce; I also thought it helped to coat the noodles. Sometimes the tangy red sauce can be a little over whelming as it has a very distinct flavor but the addition of coconut really lights the dish. Another added bonus is that the light coconut milk I used has less calories and sodium than pad Thai sauce, so by adding it to this dish it made for a slightly more healthy meal.
Any time I want to make something new, especially if the food is ethnic and therefore requires a sense of authenticity, I spend some time researching recipes and then head to a specialty store to look for the ingredients. If you head to the ethnic isle of your grocery store it will most likely cost you more than if you had gone to a store that primarily carries that type of foods. In this case I would suggest going to an Asian grocery store to look for the coconut milk, rice noodles and the pad Thai sauce.
Bring water to a boil in a large sauce pan, add the noodles and turn the heat off. Allow the noodle to soak for twenty minutes before draining, and then set aside.
Heat a wok or large skillet to a medium temperature. Add half the oil and sauté chicken until browned, then remove and set in a dish to the side. If adding shrimp, cook in the same way as the chicken also removing from the pan and setting to the side with the chicken. Heat remaining oil in the wok, crack the eggs into hot oil, continue to stir and cook until firm. Stir the chicken back in, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the crushed peanuts, coconut milk and sauce, stirring to incorporate and heat through. Add softened noodles and cooked shrimp, stir or toss in the sauce to coat. Sprinkle the diced onion over the top and serve, makes 4 servings.