People have been asking me lately if I am planning on making this a ‘college cooking’ blog once I go to college, and although practically that makes more sense, I don’t want to put any limitations on what recipes I can post. I chose a dorm that has a fully functional kitchen and have been slowly purchasing my own cookware to take to college as well. So, although any serious cooking will most likely slow down with dorm life, I still plan on posting recipes of a similar caliber to the ones currently on the blog. However, it would be pretty self righteous and pretentious of me to refuse to post college appropriate recipes, considering myself, my friends, and many of my readers (I assume?) are of college-age. This recipe is the first in a series of “classy college” recipes that I will be posting over the next 4 years or so. All of these recipes will be under that tag and category (“classy college”).
About three years ago, when my sister was in college and home for summer, we were making Top Ramen in the middle of the night (classic & terrible for us, so it was a great night) when she mentioned that one of her friends used to mix their noodles with peanut butter and sriracha and call it “ghetto Pad Thai”. Of course we had to try it, and the result had us both really amused and stunned. Im pretty sure we both said something like “oh, not bad”, but inside were thinking “why did I like that so much?!?!”. Well, three years went by and I never made it again, until last month when I had a box of Trader Jose’s/Ming’s Pad Thai. I purchase this Pad Thai pretty frequently, and anyone who has bought one of Trader Ming’s Pad Thai will probably agree with me that it’s not great. It’s vegan and yields both a consistent and solidly mediocre Pad Thai every time. The package comes with plain, flat rice noodles and a sauce packet, so one day last month I decided to discard the sauce packet and attempt the peanut butter and sriracha technique. This time, I used chunky peanut butter and added a bunch of left over veggies we had around the house and the result was 10x more satisfying than Trader Ming’s (sorry TJ’s).
I have adjusted the recipe to be cheaper, easier, and more college friendly. I added any vegetables that we had leftover bits of to bulk up the Pad Thai along with eggs in place of meat, but that was all for extra pizazz. The recipe is basically a cheap way to mix up your regular ramen, so feel free to exclude the veggies. Pork or chicken would also be amazing in this if you have the time and money to spend. The only thing that I had to go out and purchase were the bean sprouts, which were 89 cents so it really didn’t set me back and added to the “Pad Thai” essence. Pad Thai normally contains chopped peanuts, so using chunky peanut butter also adds to this essence.
My cousins, two teenage guys, were over at the time, and this recipe served the three of us with some left overs for my mom to snack on when she came home from work (always important). I was really skeptical while making it, because I had some peanut butter dispersion problems and it looked really squishy, but we all agreed that the end product tasted so close to actual Pad Thai that the squishy ramen noodles didn’t detract from the dish at all.
You can class this up or down, so have fun with the wonders of peanut butter and sriracha. And to my sister’s friend that I never knew the name of, thank you and if you happen to read this, tell me who you are so that I can give you all the credit.
RECIPE (serves 3-4):
- 2 Packets of instant ramen
- 2 Tbs Chunky peanut butter
- 1-2 Tbs Sriracha/Red Rooster sauce
- Salt to taste
OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS (any vegetables will work):
- 2 eggs
- 1 Tbs ginger-garlic paste // 1 in. piece ginger & 1 clove garlic, grated
- 1 small onion // 1/2 large onion, diced
- 1 small head broccoli
- 1 grated carrot
- ~1 cup bean sprouts
- ~1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- Vegetable oil
- Cook noodles according to package directions. Set flavor packets aside.
- If using, crack, whisk and season eggs. Add to hot, oiled pan/wok. Spread egg into a thin layer and cook until completely set. Remove egg pancake from pan and cut into small strips/pieces. Set aside.
- In the same pan, add ~1Tbs vegetable oil, onions, and ginger-garlic paste. Cook on medium heat for ~2 minutes until onions are transparent.
- Chop broccoli into bite-sized pieces and add to pan. Pour in a few Tbs water and cover with a lid to allow the broccoli to steam.
- Once broccoli is bright green, about 4 minutes, add grated carrots and cooked noodles.
- Add peanut butter, sriracha (play around with desired spice level), and 1/2 of one flavoring packet. Taste and season with salt or extra flavoring packet powder if desired.
- Add bean sprouts, mix, and cover to allow sprouts to wilt. Once sprouts are wilted and Pad Thai is seasoned to your tastes, add cilantro if using and it is ready to serve!