Red and I love Thai food. When we first started dating, I was living in a college-town where there are tons of holes in the wall type of diners/restaurants with great selection of dishes so our taste buds were very spoiled. Our weekend’s plan usually evolved around eating. It usually went like this, “Do you want to have breakfast or should we save it for brunch at this place? I heard they have awesome banana foster station? Are you up for some Pho for dinner? I’m craving some of that hot-stone Bibimbab?” As soon our weekend’s eating plan was established, we would then pick out our activities to fill in the time between the meal times. That’s pretty much how I knew that Red was my soul-mate.
That was about three and a half years ago. I have since then dragged Red to move 400 miles away with me to “almost-middle of nowhere” America, and then another 200 miles last year to officially “middle of nowhere” America, filled with awesome people, but less choices in restaurants. So…. that’s how I finally decided that I needed to try making my own Pad Thai because we were missing it to no end! Not a small feat. I was intimidated! So what do I do now? I started collecting several recipes to get an idea on how to make this dish.
A friend of mine, Sopa, was kind enough to share her recipe recently since I had been asking for it, for let’s see.. four years now? I also took the liberty to have some fun with it and make my own modifications after reading several other recipes on the Internet. Chez Pim had a very nice Pad Thai for Beginners instruction that is worth reading at least once before you make this. And this recipe below was modified to fit my taste bud. We love spicy food, so if you are not fan of it, reduce the amount of chili powder use here–or eliminate all together.
Our verdict? WOW! The flavor of this dish was beyond our expectation, in term of authenticity! It was absolutely delicious! I didn’t have any issues that some people normally get with cooking Pad Thai (too sweet, noodles sticking together, etc). The only thing that I would have liked to do was add more bean sprouts, because I love a ton of them and I felt like 2.5 cups used in this recipe was not enough! I also cooked a half of the recipe below, because my wok was too small to be able to accommodate the entire bag of the noodles in one cooking. Red and I literally inhaled this dish in about ten minutes, I even felt like I was racing with him so that I could have any! I don’t normally take an empty platter, but I had to for this one just to prove my point of how delicious this noodle was!
1 pkg wide rice noodles (approx. 12 oz), soaked in room temp. water for at least 2 hour, then drained well
2 c shrimp
1/2 c fish sauce
1/2 c palm sugar
1/2 c tamarind
2 tsp of Chili powder
6 eggs, lightly beaten
2.5 cups bean sprouts
1 cup of cut up bunch green onion or chives (cut in 1/2 inch strips)
Chopped unsalted dry peanuts
In a small pot, combine fish sauce, palm sugar, tamarind, and chili powder over low heat. Set aside. (Note: you will end up with about 2 cups of sauce, which you will not use all up for this recipe).
In work or large fryer, cover bottom of pan with oil and heat until hot. Toss in egg, cook thoroughly. Add shrimp and cook thoroughly. Add a teaspoon of the prepared sauce.
Add drained rice noodles, toss around pan until noodles lose rubbery feel and look (they turn from opaque to translucent).
Pour 1/4 cup of mixture over noodles. Keep the pan hot while tossing (not stirring) ingredients. Continue until noodles caramelize (soak up liquid and sugar has browned). Stir in sprouts and chives, cut off heat! Plate noodles, garnish with fresh sprouts, green onion, chopped peanuts, and lime wedge.
Yield: 4 happy tummies