Traditional Pad Thai uses certain ingredients that are difficult to find in the U.S., like tamarind, garlic chives, dried shrimp and a Thai pickled radish that I don’t know the proper name of.
I can find tamarind paste sometimes in the Latin or Asian markets. I don’t live close enough to a really good Asian market to find dried shrimp and if I want garlic chives, I have to grow them myself. So, my version has some adaptations based on ingredients that more readily accessible.
Shrimp Pad Thai
- ¼ lb dried linguine rice noodles
- 3 Tbsp Fish Sauce
- 3 Tbsp Honey
- 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
- 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- 2Tbsp Tamarind juice (or paste that’s been reconstituted in water)
- 1 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar
- Zest of one lime
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 3 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 long red chili, minced
- 1 lb medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- ½ cup shrimp or seafood stock (If I were making chicken Pad Thai, I’d use chicken stock)
- 2 eggs beaten well
- 2 cups (separated) fresh mung bean sprouts
- ½ cup thinly sliced green onion/scallion or shallots or garlic chives (most authentic, hardest to find)
- ½ cup salted, dry roasted peanuts
- 1 Lime – ½ juiced and ½ sliced
Soak the noodles in a large bowl filled with cold water for about 30 minutes. Make sure the water covers the noodles completely. The will become soft – but still leathery and change color from ivory to bright white
Prepare the sauce: in a medium bowl, combine the fish sauce, soy sauce, honey, Tamarind, juice, lime juice, vinegar, paprika, and chili. Using a whisk, stir to mix everything well and dissolve the honey into a fairly smooth sauce.
Place a serving platter for the finished noodles by the stove, along with a a pair of long-handled metal tongs for tossing the noodles. Prepare the remaining ingredients and have them handy by the stove.
When you are ready to cook, drain the noodles well and place them by the stove.
In a large wok, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat until hot.
Add the garlic and toss well until it releases its fragrance. Scatter in the shrimp and toss well.
Cook the shrimp until they are firm and bright pink but not cooked through - about 1 minute. Remove the shrimp from the wok and set aside.
Add the drained noodles and pull the mass of noodles apart to expose them to the hot pan. Add the shrimp stock and cook by tossing now and then and spreading the noodles out to expose them to the heat. When they begin to curl, whiten, and soften, stir the sauce mixture well and add about half of it, pouring it in around the sides of the pan. Toss well and cook, scooping and tossing and pulling the noodles apart to cook them evenly. Add a little more stock, pouring it around the sides in small amounts, to discourage the noodles from sticking.
Add the remaining sauce and toss well. Lift the mass of noodles on one side, and pour the remaining oil onto the hot pan. Turn the pan to coat it with the oil, and add the beaten eggs. Turn the pan to spread them out, and let them cook undisturbed until they begin to set. Let the noodles cover the eggs and cook briefly.
Then toss and scoop to mix the eggs into the noodles. Add half of the bean sprouts, and toss well. Add the green onions and half of the peanuts, and toss well. Scoop the noodles onto the serving platter. Pour the reserved lime juice over the noodles, and garnish with the remaining bean sprouts, remaining peanuts, and lime wedges.
I like to finish it with some minced basil too.