REVIEW: Thai Kitchen Original Pad Thai

Thai Kitchen Original Pad Thai

It all started with Lilli and Loo--that great, gluten-free friendly restaurant in NYC. One day, while waiting for a meeting with my publisher, my husband and I grabbed a quick lunch at Lilli and Loo. Greg ordered Pad Thai. At the risk of sounding like a culinary-bore, neither of us had ever eaten Pad Thai. It was one of those dishes that we kept meaning to sample but never got around to actually eating.

Finally, the opportunity to eat Pad Thai presented itself. This is a wonderful dish, made with rice noodles, chicken, eggs and a flavorful sauce. From the first bite, Greg thoroughly enjoyed it. (It goes without saying that I sampled a few, okay, several, bites of Greg's lunch. I had to agree, it was tremendous.)

I headed home and attempted to make homemade Pad Thai. My results were good but, honestly, it was a bit of a pain to make from scratch. I made it a few times, mostly on a Sunday night, and then forgot about the dish.

One day, at Price Chopper, I noticed Thai Kitchen's Pad Thai Mix boldly proclaiming that it was "Gluten-Free." I put the box in my cart. Now I had to find out if it was any good.

The first thing I noticed was this mix required some work. I liked that! It asked me to cook an egg and a chicken breast. This is not hard cooking work but it made me feel involved in the process. I followed the instructions to the letter. And hit a bit of a snag.

Included in the directions was the step, "Immerse Thai Kitchen rice noodles in hot water; let stand 8 to 10 minutes or until noodles are soft but firm." I did just as the directions said and ended up with crunchy noodles. I waited a little longer. Still crunchy. Longer. Still crunchy. Finally the noodles softened. As directed, I set the noodles aside.

I soldiered on, cooking the chicken, egg and putting the dish together as directed.

It looked good and, even better, smelled good. Greg and I eagerly dived into dinner. Sadly the noodles bit back. Even though I had soaked and stir-fried the noodles according to package directions, it still wasn't enough to produce the soft, silky rice noodle texture that I love.

Other than that, the dish was pretty fantastic. Because of the Tamarind I found the sauce a little sweet. I thought, "The next time I make this, I'll add some garlic and a little hot sauce."

And that is just what I did the next time I made it. I also boiled my noodles until tender--no more soaking for me. This time the dish was perfect. So perfect that Greg and I enjoy it on a regular basis!

Whether you love Pad Thai or have never tried, I encourage you to try this mix. If you like your sauce "spicy-sweet", add some garlic and a splash of hot sauce and you will fall in love!

Grade: A

Summary: Thai Kitchen Pad Thai mix provides you with sauce and noodles. You add egg, chicken (or shrimp, vegetable or tofu), peanuts and bean sprouts. Flavor is mild and sweet. Boiling the noodles helps with texture and garlic and hot sauce add some zing to the sauce. Directions are clear and easy to follow.

To purchase on-line:

Thai Kitchen Pad Thai Noodles, 9-Ounce Unit (Pack of 12)

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