It is SO HARD to get a recipe out of my mom. She just… doesn’t really have recipes. And she tends to use whatever’s around.
So one day, a signature dish of hers might have dark soy sauce and the next day, light soy sauce with oyster sauce. It’s maddening, but kind of amazing to see someone be able to adjust to absolutely anything.
I knew I had to have her Pad Thai recipe in this book. But I could NOT, for the life of me, get her to make it the same way twice. Feeling defeated after a full day of noodling, I threw in the towel and hit the couch to watch the Emmy-worthy performances of the Vanderpump Rules cast.
Then, one morning, I heard a bag of noodles open in the kitchen behind me. Then I smelled bacon. She was making bacon Pad Thai . Out of nowhere. And I missed it.
I made her do it again when it was fresh in her head with the only noodles we had left – spaghetti. OH, IT WAS A DELIGHT. The entire world stopped.
I posted it on Twitter and was flooded with inquiries. Some asked me what time to come over. Some offered to send an Uber for Pad Thai pickup. Some asked why the f*ck we were making spaghetti at 8:45 a.m.
Eggs and bacon make it a whole lot like a carbonara, but the Thai flavours make it Pad Thai. You are so very welcome for this beautiful hybrid beast.
Active time: 10 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
1 small head broccoli
2 ½ tablespoons sweet soy sauce *
1 tablespoon liquid soybean paste **
1 ½ teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce, plus more to taste
3 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 2-cm squares
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
½ teaspoon Thai chilli powder (see page 153), or to taste
125 ml chicken stock, plus more if needed
225g spaghetti, cooked to al dente, drained, and oiled
2 eggs, beaten
2 spring onions, cut into 2-cm lengths
*/This is liquid gold: It’s soy sauce thickened with palm sugar molasses and it tastes caramel and salty and like heaven, basically. Look for Thai brands like Healthy Boy or the Indonesian version, which is called kecap manis.
**/This is a chunky Thai sauce that’s like a cross between miso and fermented Chinese black beans, with a little sweetness. If you can’t find it, you can buy a jar of fermented Chinese black beans, fish out some of it, and combine it with an equal amount of light brown sugar.
1. Separate the broccoli crown from the stem. Trim the end off the stem, peel it, and cut it crosswise into 5-mm-thick coins. Separate the crown into small florets.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the sweet soy, soybean paste, fish sauce, and soy sauce. This is your sauce.
3. In a wok or very large sauté pan, cook the bacon over medium heat until just gently crisped (I mean, don’t go crazy, just get most of the fat rendered), 6 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and chilli powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the sauce, and cook until reduced slightly, about 1 minute. Add the broccoli, splash with half the chicken stock, and cook until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Increase the heat to high. Add the spaghetti and the rest of the stock and cook, tossing, until very hot and the sauce is absorbed, 3 to 5 minutes (if it feels too dry, splash in more stock or water a little at a time). Season with additional soy sauce and fish sauce to taste.
4. Remove the pan from the heat, add the eggs, and toss until the eggs are creamy. Toss in the spring onions and serve.