Ahhhh, Pad Thai. That ubiquitous dish that isn’t even really Thai…?! Yes, that’s right, but who cares. It’s delicious! I had made some Vietnamese lettuce wraps with shrimp to crunch on and sooth my stresses and needed something more substantial to go with it. Pad Thai was just right. I have had this many times in restaurants and it’s been hit or miss. A good pad Thai can really satisfy, but if done wrong, it can be really bad.
The trick in this recipe is getting the noodles to the right firmness. Once you have soaked them in hot water, they will get softer once you stir fry them and then you can still add a bit of liquid if they need to be even softer. I tried this recipe with mushrooms and carrots, but bean sprouts and a little bit of onion are the traditional veggies. The mushrooms were great. Just be sure to cook them on high heat to get the moisture out and keep them from being soggy. Also, you can use tamarind paste instead of tamarind chutney if it is easier to find. Look for these in an Asian grocery store. Fortunately, we have a great Indian grocery store in Bentonville, which supplies me with all my exotic spice and sauce needs. Hooray for immigrants!
There is something so nourishing and simple about pad Thai that always lifts my spirits.
- 10 oz. rice noodles
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 10 oz. shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tbsp. sesame oil
- 4 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 inch fresh ginger root, grated
- 8 oz. Portabella (or other mushrooms), sliced thin
- 4 tbsp. tamarind chutney (or tamarind paste)
- 3 tsp. sugar
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 1 tbsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. Thai hot sauce (any brand works)
- 3 tsp. fish sauce
- 2 eggs
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1/3 cup peanuts, crushed
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/2 cup chopped mint
- hoisin sauce
Hot chili sauce:
- 3 tbsp. fish sauce
- juice of one lime
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. Thai hot sauce
- 3 tsp. sugar
- 4 tbsp. water
- Heat one quart or so of water on the stove in a medium pot until boiling. Remove from heat and immerse noodles in water. Let soak for 8-10 minutes or until slightly harder than al dente. Once they are ready, transfer them to a bowl of cold water to prevent them from getting any softer.
- In a medium pan, heat butter over medium high heat. Add shrimp and cook for 4-5 minutes or until done. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a wok or large pan, heat olive oil and sesame oil over high heat. Add garlic and ginger and stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Add mushrooms and stir fry for 5-7 minutes until they have released their moisture and reduced in size. Add tamarind chutney, sugar, lime, salt, hot sauce and fish sauce and stir well for one minute. Add semi-cooked rice noodles and stir fry for about two minutes to soften them. If needed, add a bit of water to soften the noodles more.
- Move all ingredients to one side to make room for eggs. Crack the eggs on the side of the pan and toss them in in the empty space. Scramble them and mix in with the other ingredients. Remove wok from heat.
- Serve portions on plates and garnish with a bit of carrots, peanuts, cilantro and mint.
- For the chili sauce, mix all ingredients together in a small bowl and pour a few teaspoons of the sauce over plated dishes to your liking. Serve with a slice of lime. Enjoy it with a bit of Hoisin sauce, too, if you are into that.
Yours in palette,