Pad Thai
2 generous servings
Adapted from The Better-Than-Takeout Thai Cookbook by Danette St. OngeI like to add minced or crushed dried shrimp to my Pad Thai, but the ones I found in Paris were packed in 400g (about one pound) frozen bags, and were €22. I didn’t think I’d use that amount very quickly, so I passed, but if you do, you add them in step 4, right after you saute the garlic. (Most Asian food shops in the U.S. sell dried shrimp in small bags.) Danette says you can use 1/3 cup of finely chopped dried shrimp in place of the fresh shrimp, “for a more traditional version,” although I’d probably dial that down to one or two tablespoons.Some versions of Pad Thai have crushed dried Thai chiles added right after cooking, about 1/4 teaspoons, at the end of step 5, when adding the peanuts and other ingredients. A bit more can be sprinkled over the top, too.Pressed tofu, as shown in the post, often comes flavored with 5-spice powder, which was all I could find. Most stores that specialize in Asian ingredients carry it. If you can’t find it, firm tofu is a decent substitute. Or you can make crispy tofu and cut the cubes into strips or smaller pieces for this recipe.This recipe cooks remarkably fast. It’s best to prepare all the ingredients, so they’re all ready to go when you heat up the skillet. The total cooking time is less than 5 minutes, so you’ll want to be prepared.
4 ounces (115g) dried thin, flat rice noodles
1/4 cup (60ml) fish sauce
3 tablespoons (32g) granulated palm sugar or light brown sugar
2 tablespoons (40g) tamarind paste
3 tablespoons vegetable oil (total)
12 medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, with tails on (preferably)
2 tablespoons (20g) minced shallots
1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced
2 eggs, beaten together in a small bowl
1 1/2 cups (75g) bean sprouts (total)
3 ounces (80g) pressed tofu (see headnote)
3 scallions (just the green parts), cut into 1 1/2-inch (5cm) pieces
1/4 cup (35g) roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped, plus an additional 2-3 tablespoons (chopped) for garnish
fresh lime wedges, for garnish
1. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the noodles. Let the noodles sit in the water for 5 minutes, stirring them a few times as they sit. Drain the noodles and rinse well under cold running water, separating the noodles with your fingers, and set aside.
2. Mix the fish sauce, palm sugar, and tamarind paste in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re just about cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the wok or skillet and set aside. (If you can only find pre-cooked shrimp, skip this step and have them ready to add later.)
4. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the wok or skillet and add the shallots and garlic. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute, then add the cooked noodles and fish sauce mixture. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring, until everything is well combined.
5. Push the noodles to the side of the wok or skillet and add the eggs to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until they start to set, about 30 seconds, then add the cooked shrimp, 1 cup (50g) bean sprouts, the tofu, scallions, and 1/4 cup peanuts. Continue to cook, stirring, until everything is well combined and heated through, about 30 seconds. If the mixture looks a little dry (the noodles should be slicked with sauce with some extra floating around), add a tablespoon or so of water or chicken stock.
6. Transfer the Pad Thai to a serving plate. Serve sprinkled with the remaining bean sprouts, peanuts, and wedges of fresh lime alongside.