The Biggest Mistake You're Making With Pad Thai, According To An Expert Chef

pad Thai in white bowls
pad Thai in white bowls - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

According to market data aggregator Gitnux, pad Thai is, by a wide margin, the most popular type of Thai food ordered in restaurants worldwide. It is also the type of noodle dish that many home cooks may be willing to attempt as the ingredients and preparation can be fairly simple. In fact, according to Keng Kirdnimit, who's the head chef at NYC Thai restaurant Soothr, the biggest mistake people often make with the dish involves making it over-complicated.

The American version of pad Thai, unlike the original, often contains a lot of vegetables and may include other add-ins ranging from the peanut butter found in our spicy pad Thai recipe to the edible flowers Rachael Ray uses in hers (Reddit really got its undies in a bunch over the latter). As Kirdnimit tells Mashed, "Pad Thai is a very simple dish with main ingredients of just noodles, protein, egg, bean sprouts and chives." While it may not be a mistake, per se, to add other ingredients to your home-cooked pad Thai as long as you enjoy them, Kerdnimit points out that your embellished dish "would look very unusual [by] Thai standards."

Read more: 15 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Cooking Eggs

These Are Some Chef-Approved Add-Ins You Can Use With Pad Thai

pad Thai in white bowl
pad Thai in white bowl - Ryzhkov Photography/Shutterstock

So wait, does Thai-style pad Thai really not contain any kind of spices or seasoning? Having just noodles, eggs, and bean sprouts does sound a bit plain, although the chives would at least give the dish a hint of pungency. While it's true that, in Keng Kirdnimit's words, "Pad Thai in Thailand usually does not taste very bold," thus belying the stereotype of Thai food being spicy and flavorful. He adds, "People will usually add flavors to their liking with chili powder, sugar, lime, or crushed peanuts." One caveat for the home cook, though, is that the chili powder used in Thailand is likely to be powdered, dried chile peppers instead of the blend of chiles, garlic, salt, and other seasonings used in American-style chili powder.

In addition to spices, lime juice, and peanuts, there are a few other items that Thai street vendors will often add to pad Thai, these being roasted tofu and sweet pickled radishes. As Kerdnimit feels, both ingredients "give a bit of chewing joy to the dish." Nor will either one raise an eyebrow in Thailand, unlike Rachal Ray's nasturtium blossoms or whatever other flowers she uses to garnish her noodles.

Read the original article on Mashed