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Watch: Nuit Regular makes her famous pad Thai In the Kitchen with Foodism

Nuit Regular, executive chef and co-owner of Pai Northern Thai Kitchen, Sabai Sabai, Sukhothai and Kiin, shows us how to make her legendary dish at home.

Serves 1

Preparation time 10 minutes

Cooking time 30 minutes

For our latest episode of In the Kitchen with Foodism, we head to PAI Uptown at Yonge and Eglinton where chef Nuit Regular fires up the wok and shows us how to make her legendary pad Thai. Amidst the lanterns and murals at her stunning new spot, we get the scoop on the chef's career path from nurse in Northern Thailand to executive chef and co-owner of one of Toronto's most successful restaurant empires. 

Regular met her husband Jeff when he was backpacking in Thailand and before long, the pair were making plans to move back to his native Canada. Having shown a talent for cooking while in high school, Regular knew she wanted to bring authentic cuisine to Toronto and opened Sukhothai in 2008.

Fast forward to today and the couple now own multiple spots around the city, including Pai Northern Thai Kitchen, Sabai Sabai and Kiin. As the first Thai Select Ambassador for Canada, she has been recognized by the government of Thailand for the authenticity of her Thai cooking and was awarded the prestigious Thai Select Premium designation for her restaurants. Today, her restaurants are still some of the best examples of authentic Thai cuisine in the city. 

Pad Thai is perhaps the most popular Thai dish outside of Thailand — but when Regular first served it, customers were surprised to find it used a tamarind-based sauce instead of ketchup. The sweet, savoury and sour stir-fried rice noodle dish can easily be adjusted to suit your spice level. Chef's addition of roasted peanuts and lime adds a nutty and citrusy coating for an incredibly deep flavour — and pairs nicely with Belgian-style beer like Unibroue’s Blanche de Chambly.

Check out the video above to watch Nuit Regular create this stir-fried sensation.

Ingredients

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup grated palm sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup Tamarind Paste (recipe follows) or store-bought
  • ½ cup Thai oyster sauce
  • ¼ cup Thai fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp sweet soy sauce

For the pad Thai:

  • 3 ½ oz plain dried medium instant rice noodles
  • 3 Tbsp sunflower oil
  • 5 fresh or thawed frozen medium shrimp (size 21–25), peeled and deveined
  • 1 tsp minced shallots
  • ¼ cup firm tofu cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • ¼ cup Chinese chives cut into 1½-inch pieces
  • 2 Tbsp ground unsalted roasted peanuts
  • 1 lime wedge

For the tamarind paste:

  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup (80 g) seedless sour tamarind (dried or block)

Method

  1. To make the sauce: In a small saucepan, combine the palm sugar, water, tamarind paste, oyster sauce, fish sauce and sweet soy sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes, until the sugar has fully dissolved. Remove from the heat. (The sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.)
  2. Soak the noodles: Place the rice noodles in a large bowl and add enough room-temperature water to cover them by 2 inches. Let soak until soft, about 4 hours. Keep the noodles in water until just before cooking to prevent them from drying out.
  3. To make the pad Thai: Heat a large wok or skillet over high heat for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and then add the sunflower oil. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp turn pink but are not yet fully cooked, 1 to 2 minutes. Push the shrimp to the side of the wok. Remove from the heat and add the shallots and tofu and cook, stirring frequently so the shallots cook thoroughly, 1 to 2 minutes. Add ⅓ cup of the sauce and stir to mix. Return the wok or skillet to medium heat.
  4. Add the drained rice noodles. Increase the heat to high and mix everything together. Cook, stirring frequently until the noodles are soft, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Push everything to one side of the wok. Crack the egg into the empty side of the wok and let cook for 1 minute. Stir to lightly break the yolk but do not scramble the egg, then quickly move the noodles to cover the egg. This way the white and yellow parts of the egg will separate nicely. Cook, without stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Add the bean sprouts, Chinese chives and roasted peanuts and squeeze a lime wedge over everything. Stir again and transfer to a plate.
  6. To make the tamarind paste: In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the water to a rolling boil. Break the tamarind into small pieces and drop them into the boiling water. Boil for 3 to 4 minutes. The heat breaks down the tamarind pulp and makes it easier to separate the fibres. If using dried tamarind, it will start to expand. If using a tamarind block, it will absorb the water and start to soften.
  7. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve placed over a large bowl, pressing out every bit of liquid and paste. I recommend using a large bowl to help minimize the mess. Make sure to scrape the paste off the bottom of the sieve and mix it into the liquid. Discard the pulp in the sieve. Allow to cool before using. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
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