Prep 15 mins
Cook 20 mins
Straight from CooksIllustrated.com
- 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
- 3⁄4 cup water (boiling)
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 4 tablespoons peanut oil or 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 8 ounces dried rice noodles, about 1/8 inch wide (the width of linguine)
- 2 large eggs
- 1⁄4 teaspoon table salt
- 12 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, if desired (31/35 count)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 2 tablespoons dried shrimp, chopped fine (optional)
- 2 tablespoons thai salted preserved radish (optional)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted dry roasted peanuts, Chopped
- 3 cups bean sprouts (6 ounces)
- 5 medium scallions, green parts only, sliced thin on sharp bias
- 1⁄4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
- lime wedge
- Soak tamarind paste in 3/4 cup boiling water for about 10 minutes, then push it through a mesh strainer to remove the seeds and fibers and extract as much pulp as possible. Stir fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, cayenne, and 2 tablespoons oil into tamarind liquid and set aside.
- Cover rice sticks with hot tap water in large bowl; soak until softened, pliable, and limp but not fully tender, about 20 minutes. Drain noodles and set aside. Beat eggs and 1/8 teaspoon salt in small bowl; set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet (preferably nonstick) over high heat until just beginning to smoke, about 2 minutes. Add shrimp and sprinkle with remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt; cook, tossing occasionally, until shrimp are opaque and browned about the edges, about 3 minutes. Transfer shrimp to plate and set aside.
- Off heat, add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet and swirl to coat; add garlic and shallot, set skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until light golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes; add eggs to skillet and stir vigorously with wooden spoon until scrambled and barely moist, about 20 seconds. Add noodles, dried shrimp, and salted radish (if using) to eggs; toss with 2 wooden spoons to combine. Pour fish sauce mixture over noodles, increase heat to high, and cook, tossing constantly, until noodles are evenly coated. Scatter 1/4 cup peanuts, bean sprouts, all but 1/4 cup scallions, and cooked shrimp over noodles; continue to cook, tossing constantly, until noodles are tender, about 2 1/2 minutes (if not yet tender add 2 tablespoons water to skillet and continue to cook until tender).
- Transfer noodles to serving platter, sprinkle with remaining scallions, 2 tablespoons peanuts, and cilantro; serve immediately, passing lime wedges separately.
This recipe is delicious! I tend to add a spoonful of peanut butter because I love the taste it adds. As another reviewer indicated, the dried shrimp and radish are not required and don't enhance the dish noticeably. I always soak my noodles, not boil them otherwise they will cook into a big lump. You want the noodles to absorb the sauce.
I have been making this almost once a week for the past few years with excellent results. I tweak the recipe just a bit by substituting about 1/2 Tb of Asian chili-garlic sauce for the cayenne and usually omit the dried shrimp and preserved radish (these ingredients do enhance the dish a little, but not necessary to have great tasting Pad Thai). Also, I often substitute thinly sliced chicken breast for the shrimp and a shredded carrot in place of the bean sprouts. Hint: Soak noodles in hot tap water, not boiled or they will turn to mush. To test if the rice noodles have had enough soaking, hold a noodle between your finger and thumb, with your thumb nail press through the noodle until it breaks -- it should break away fairly easily, but should still have some 'tooth' to it. Also, I recommend using Golden Boy brand fish sauce.
I started subscribing to Cooks Illustrated because of this recipe alone. Just follow it step by step and you will end up with a great meal. Leftovers heat up really well, although I eat stone-cold straight from the fridge.