Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pad Thai (Thai Stir-Fried Rice Noodles)

I think the trickiest part to this recipe is soaking the rice noodles to just the right consistency. It's so easy to overdo it  and end up with mushy noodles that break up into a lot of pieces. Anyhoo, this is a ubiquitous, delicious Thai noodle dish that is on the menu of every Thai restaurant around. My version is a derivation of several recipes I found online and, of course, from Nancy McDermott's cookbook Real Thai

1 14-oz pkg. of Thai rice noodles 
4 tbsp. fish sauce
2 tbsp. brown or white sugar
1 tbsp. tamarind concentrate
4-6 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. medium shrimp, shelled & deveined
3 eggs, lightly beaten
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 scallions, sliced into 1" pieces
1/4 cup minced shallot and/or thinly slice red onion
3 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
3 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups bean sprouts
1 green jalapeno & 2 red jalapenos, sliced (remove seeds if you want it less spicy)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped dry roasted peanuts
1 tsp. oyster sauce (optional)

Optional (not traditional): 1 small carrot, shredded, 1 pkg. sliced button mushrooms

1. Place the noodles in a large bowl or pot and cover with warm water. Soak about 20-30 minutes or until just softened (don't oversoak!). Drain & set aside.

2. In a large saute pan or wok, heat 1 tbsp. oil over medium-high heat. Saute garlic for 10-20 seconds then add shrimp and cook until they just turn pink. Season with a pinch of salt. Remove shrimp to a bowl and set aside. 

3. Add 1-2 tsp. of oil back to the pan and, when hot, add beaten eggs. Swirl eggs in the pan and cook until they are just set. Break up scrambled eggs into 1-2" pieces and remove to the same bowl as the reserved shrimp.

4. Add remaining oil to the pan and bring up to heat. Saute shallots or red onion about 1 minute, until softened. Add rice noodles and saute, turning often, for about 1-2 minutes. Stir in fish sauce and tamarind concentrate. Add bean sprouts, sugar, peanuts, scallions & jalapenos.

5. Stir in basil & cilantro. 

6. Lastly, toss in the shrimp & scrambled eggs. Taste...if not salty enough, you can add 1 tsp. of oyster sauce or sprinkle in a bit more fish sauce. 

7. Serve with lime wedges on the side. 

Shallots, red & green jalapenos, sliced scallions.

Chopped peanuts, fish sauce, garlic, brown sugar, tamarind concentrate, beaten eggs, shallots. 

Tamarind concentrate, fish sauce, Thai rice noodles.

Basil, red & green jalapenos, scallions, limes (I know...a few of these ingredients are redundant from the above photo)

Soak rice noodles in warm water for about 15-20 minutes.

Drain noodles & set aside.

Saute garlic in 1 tbsp. oil.

Add shrimp & cook until just done. Season lightly with salt.

Remove shrimp from pan & set aside.

Add 1-2 tsp. oil to the pan & scramble the eggs. Break up into large pieces.

Remove scrambled eggs from pan, to the same bowl as the reserved shrimp.

Add remaining oil to the pan & saute shallots/red onion for about 1 minute. Add noodles and toss well.

Add fish sauce and tamarind concentrate.

Add scallions, jalapenos, peanuts, sugar & bean sprouts.

Add cilantro & basil.

Add reserved shrimp & eggs.

Serve with lime wedges.

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