The first time I had pad Thai was in Boston. I’ve mentioned before that I wasn’t a terribly cosmopolitan eater before moving to Boston, so many of my firsts happened there: bialys, mooshoo pancakes, mango lassi, and pad Thai.
My boyfriend attended Berklee College and we’d often eat at a place right across from the school after class. We were both vegetarian at the time (he probably is still) so we’d order the pad Thai with vegetables. God, it was good. Loaded with still-crisp steamed broccoli florets, carrots and cauliflower, with soft straw mushrooms and velvety bites of Japanese eggplant. I don’t recall ordering it to be made sans fish sauce because I don’t think either of us realized there was fish sauce in it. It was our habit to order other things like broccoli and garlic sauce to be made without oyster sauce, so I can only assume we were ignorant. And never was the old adage “Ignorance is bliss” more true.
Pad Thai Video
Pad Thai Recipe – Printable!
Adapted from the cookbook, Thai Food and Cooking by Judy Bastyra.Print
- Yield: 4-6
- 1/4 cup tamarind juice*
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons palm sugar or brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 8 ounces rice stick noodles
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
- 8-12 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 eggs, unbeaten
- 1 teaspoon dried shrimp* (optional; I prefer to omit it)
- 1/2 teaspoon – 2 teaspoons chili flakes
- 1 bunch garlic chives*, cut into 1 inch lengths
- 2 1/2 cups mung bean sprouts
- 1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts, crushed
- 1 lime, cut into wedges for serving
- Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl and taste. Adjust the sweet, salty and sour balance by adding more of each until it tastes good to you. Set aside.
- Soak noodles in a large bowl of very hot water while you prep ingredients (about 20 minutes, until noodles are opaque, pliable, “rubbery”, but still less tender than al dente).
- Heat half of the oil in a large wok or a deep, wide skillet or dutch oven.
- Fry garlic and shallot until golden.
- Add the eggs and let them set for 15 seconds, then break up using a wooden spoon so you have some white and some yolk bits.
- Add remaining oil and heat; add shrimp and cook 60 seconds until beginning to turn pink on the edges (or add minced chicken or cubed extra firm tofu at this point)
- When shrimp is about half-cooked add dried shrimp, chili flakes, drained noodles and sauce.
- Toss quickly with tongs to get all noodles covered in sauce. Continue cooking, tossing frequently, for about 5 more minutes or until noodles are tender.
- Fold in the chives, half the bean sprouts and half the peanuts.
- Cook a couple more minutes until sauce is absorbed and sprouts and chives are wilted.
- Plate with additional sprouts and peanuts on top. Sever with lime wedges.
Tamarind juice can be found in Asian or Hispanic markets, in small plastic containers. Tamarind pulp can be found in small “bricks”. If you can only find pulp, mix with about half water to make a prune-juice consistency, removing seeds if any.
Dried shrimp can be found in the spice aisle of Asian or Hispanic markets. Omit if you can’t find it.
Garlic chives can be found in the produce section of Asian markets. Lacking them, slice the green ends of green onions instead
(Scroll to the bottom of this post for Amazon affiliate links to some brands I like of hard-to-find ingredients)
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