This quickly became a favorite in my home, and I am asked to make it when we have guests. I am sure that this only vaguely resembles an authentic pad thai, but I use what is easily available and we enjoy it. This is easy to make, but can take some preparation. I find white rice noodles at Trader Joe's for $1.39/12oz, and brown (whole) rice noodles at the regular grocery store for about $4. It's an uncommon enough item that there's little selection or competition. Use a big saute pan or a wok.
Rice noodles, flat like fettuccine - 8 oz - 800 cal - $0.92-3.00
Eggs - 3 - 210 cal - ~$0.36
Scallions - 4 - 30 cal - $0.46
Bean sprouts - 1 can or a handful - 80 cal - $1.00
Peanuts, maybe chopped - 1 oz - 160 cal - $0.16
Oil - 1 tbsp - 100 cal - $0.03
Ketchup - 3 tbsp - 45 cal - $0.06
Sugar - 2 tbsp - 120 cal - $0.02
Vinegar - 3 tbsp - ~$0.05
Lemon juice (or lime) - 1 tbsp - 5 cal - ~$0.05 (from concentrate)
Worcestershire Sauce - 1 tbsp - 12 cal - ~$0.10 (supposed to be fish sauce, but I have none)
Meat (pick one or more as you like):
Chicken, diced breastmeat - 8 oz - ~400 cal - $1.00
Tofu, diced - 8 oz - ~340 cal - $0.90
Shrimp - 8 oz - 240 cal - ~$3.00-4.00
I like to slice my scallions longways so that they match the beansprouts, but it's more work than necessary if you don't mind them chopped. Saute your scallions in the oil. Start a pot of water to boil for the noodles.
Throw your meat in with the scallions and get it cooked. Cook the noodles according to the package. Mix up the sauce and set it aside.
Scramble your eggs and fry them up with the scallions and meat. Add the bean sprouts.
Add the noodles when they're done and drained. Add the sauce. Mix everything up and cook for a few minutes.
Serve onto plates and garnish with peanuts. Shreds of purple cabbage are also good. Rooster sauce (Srirachi) is a nice topper for those who like the heat kicked up a notch.
This easily serves four at about 500 calories (with chicken) and $1.60 per person if you get the expensive noodles, and $1.06 per person if you find cheaper noodles and use tofu. I usually make a 1.5x batch so I'm using a whole package of noodles. Smaller portions work well too, combined with a vegetable soup appetizer.