Pad Thai
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I’ve been using this recipe for years and it hasn’t failed me yet.  I adapted it from a book and modified it after I took a Thai cooking class.  This recipe is a bit different from most – it has a sharper taste from the vinegar and the lime juice.  I think it’s a good difference!  You can reduce the amount of oil used to cook the noodles if you like, but not too much.  You can get the rice stick noodles at Asian grocery stores or else online.  Just google “rice stick noodles.” Main Ingredients: 1 pound dried rice stick noodles 1/8 inch wide cold tap water, enough to cover the noodles 1 pound boneless skinless chicken or pork sliced thin (about 2-3 chicken breast halves) -OR- 1 pound shrimp peeled, deveined and leave the tails intact -OR- leave out the meat for a vegetarian version For the sauce mixture: ½ cup Asian fish sauce ( I like 3 Crabs brand) ½  cup white sugar ¼ cup brown sugar ¾ cup white vinegar Other: ½ cup vegetable oil ( I use peanut oil) plus some extra 2 teaspoon (about 4 cloves) fresh garlic peeled and chopped fine 4 eggs, beaten slightly 1 pound bean sprouts 8 green onions sliced into 1 ½ inch sections 1 tablespoon ground red chili pepper (more if desired) 1/3 cup ground roasted unsalted peanuts (optional) Lime wedges from 1-2 limes You may want to break the noodles by hand before soaking them for easier handling by your guests.  Soak the noodles for 30-45 minutes in enough cold tap water to cover them.  It is important to use cold tap water to soak the noodles just to the right texture.  You want them to soften so that they are flexible but not squishy.  They will soften further when they are cooked.  Drain well and get rid of any excess water while you prepare the other ingredients.  Combine the fish sauce, sugar and vinegar and stir to dissolve the sugar and set this sauce mixture aside. Heat up a wok or large solid pan and add  a few extra teaspoons of oil (not the ½ cup) and let it heat up, swirling it a bit in the pan.  Be careful not to let the oil burn.  Peanut oil has a high burning point so I like it for stir- frying.  Add 1 teaspoon of  the garlic and stir fry it just long enough to turn it a bit brown colored. If you are going to add any of the meat, add it now and stir-fry it just until all the pink color is gone.  If you are using shrimp, stir-fry it in the oil until they all turn pink.  Remove the meat and set aside, discarding any juices. Add the whole ½ cup of oil to the pan now and the rest of the garlic and stir fry until the garlic just starts to turn brown.  Then add the softened noodles and gently toss them just long enough to coat them with the oil. Now stir the sauce mixture one more time (the sugar will settle) and then add the sauce mixture and bring it all to a rapid boil.  Keep folding in the noodles gently until the noodles have absorbed the liquid.  Use a wok spatula to lift the noodles off of the side or bottom of the pan and pour in the two beaten eggs and let the noodles down and cover the eggs.  Let the eggs set until they are just about dried out then fold in the eggs with all the noodles.    Almost done! Add the bean sprouts and the sliced green onion and toss just until they are warm and tender.  Return any meat you have already cooked to the pan and stir, then serve. Garnish with the ground red chili and peanuts and squeeze some lime juice onto the dish from the lime wedges.  The lime juice gives this version of Pad Thai its special taste.