Pad Thai is one of my favorite dishes to order at a Thai restaurant. For some reason I can never quite master this recipe at home. I don’t know what their secret is but this time around I came pretty darn close.
Most Pad Thai sauces call for tamarind, sugar, fish sauce, vinegar, tomato paste and chili pepper. Unfortunately I could not find tamarind to make my own Pad Thai sauce at my average grocery store, so I had to use Pad Thai sauce from the store. Maybe that’s where the real magic resides.
1/2 package of Thai rice noodles, fettuccine width (8 oz)
1/2 pound of medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 package of extra firm tofu (7 oz), sliced into 1″ long matchsticks
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup pad thai sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 cup bean sprouts
1/4 cup fresh cilantro and/or Thai basil, chopped
1/2 cup Chinese chives, thinly sliced into 2″ long matchsticks
1/2 cup peanuts, chopped
Ground black pepper and red crush pepper to taste
Soak the rice noodles in lukewarm water for 7-10 minutes, and then drain and set aside. The noodles should be flexible and solid, not soft and completely expanded. The noodles will continue to cook when you start stir-frying so if in doubt, undersoak.
Heat up your wok or large pot over medium-high heat. Fry the peanuts in the dry pot until toasted and then set aside for later use.
Leave the heat on medium-high and add the oil to your wok. Mix in the garlic, shallots, and tofu and stir fry until they start to brown. Add the shrimp and sauté until pink.
Make room for the egg by pushing the shrimp and tofu to the edges of the wok, and crack the egg in the middle. Scramble the egg until almost completely cooked.
Add the noodles and the pad thai sauce to the wok. Stir quickly to avoid sticking. Mix in the bean sprouts, scallions, and cilantro/thai basil. You can set some herbs aside for garnish later. The noodles should be very soft and tangled. Add ground black pepper and red crushed pepper flakes to taste. Here is where you can tweak with more sauce, heat, sweetness, etc.
Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle the roasted peanuts on top. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve with a lime wedge.
If you need to double the recipe, I’d recommend using two woks or two large pots, otherwise you will have noodles and bean sprouts flinging everywhere.