28 October 2010

Pad Thai ...

I tend to go through phases in which I crave spicy foods. Last week, I started in on a spicy jag when Sara and I made a pan of garlicky chicken tapas and a hot and spicy dish of chiles rellenos. Then, I went the green route with that herbed pasta dressed with garlic, olive oil, and all those wonderful green spices. This week , though, I've been visiting my Mom and Dad who, at this point in their lives, don't know 'hot and spicy' from the man in the moon. Coming home last evening, the urge built for a good plate of Pad Thai.  I stopped and picked up the makings for this spicy, sweet-and-sour dish, then planned my kitchen attack the rest of the way home.

Apply the brakes here ... Silent Bob had pulled a Prince Charming move and had dinner all ready when I walked through the door . I know. I can hear you saying, 'Awwwwwww...!' already. Well, what's a girl to do? Suck it up and enjoy the moment! Delay the Pad Thai gratification! That's exactly what I did.  

Today's another day, though! This afternoon, there were a few things bothering me about the dish. Everything I've read about Pad Thai indicates that it must have tamarind paste. Well, I can't find tamarind paste anywhere in this rural backwater, so I decided to go with a bit of  ketchup, brown sugar, and fish sauce to get that bit of tangy sweet and sour flavor in the sauce ... not authentic, but a good substitute. In my reading of a bunch of Pad Thai recipes, I've also found some different vegetable mixes. For whatever reason, I have a yen for carrots, so I am going to add a small handful of julienned carrot strips along with scallions, mung bean sprouts, and some shredded cabbage. I'm also adding shrimp along with the traditional scrambled egg.

This is going to be so good ... I'm drooling just thinking about it! So, let's get to it! A glass of good Sauvignon blanc while I prep things, some music on the CD changer, and a kitchen beginning to smell spicy and wonderful ... perfect end to a good day! So... did I mention mise- en- place?

Pad Thai - printer friendly

Pad Thai
inspired by Nina Simond’s recipe


¼ c. peanut oil
1 medium carrot, peeled and julienned – thin strips
1 c. shredded cabbage
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails intact
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp. minced garlic
1/3 c. fish sauce
¼ c. ketchup
1/8 tsp. hot chili garlic sauce
1 ½ tbsp. light brown sugar
3 tbsp. warm water
6 oz. flat rice stick noodles, soaked in hot water for 6 minutes and drained
2 c. fresh mung bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
3 tbsp. scallion greens, thin circles
¼ c. peanuts, chopped
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 ½ tbsp. fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges

Preparing the Dish:

1. Combine in a mixing bowl: fish sauce, ketchup, hot chili sauce, brown sugar, and warm water. Whisk to dissolve the brown sugar and set aside.

2. Heat a wok and add 1 tbsp. of the peanut oil. Swirl to coat the wok and add the carrots, tossing to quickly heat and soften them. After a minute, add the cabbage and stir-fry to wilt it. Turn the carrots and cabbage into a cool dish and set aside.

3. Return the wok to the heat, add 1 tbsp. of the peanut oil and swirl to coat the wok. Turn in the shrimp and stir-fry until the shrimp are just pink. Turn them into the serving bowl and set aside.

4. Return the wok to the heat and add the last of the peanut oil, swirling to coat the wok. Add the eggs and gently turn them until they begin to set up. Add the garlic and continue stir-frying until the eggs are just clumping.

5. Add the sauce to the eggs and garlic and stir to combine. Toss with the prepared noodles. Toss them for about 3 or 4 minutes – until the noodles have absorbed the sauce.

6. Add the shrimp, cabbage, carrots, and shrimp, and the bean sprouts and toss.

7. Transfer to a large serving dish and top with the scallions, peanuts, red pepper flakes, and cilantro. Arrange the lime slices at the edges, and serve.


  1. Kate Lindquist28/10/10 9:21 PM

    This looks so good!

  2. What a great looking noodle dish. I have only recently begun to eat Thai food and this looks easy. Thanks again for another recipe that I know my family will enjoy.

  3. this does look so good and so healthy and fresh, I bet those spices made the kitchen smell amazing! I would also add some fresh ginger and lemongrass (If I could ever bloody find any...) just because I love that ginger kick with all those fresh ingredients.... oooh Heavenly!

  4. A great pad thai recipe! I like to eat it at breakfast the next morning too!

  5. Honestly I have two really good Thai restaurants within walking distance of the house, so I has never occurred to me to learn how to make this wonderful dish, but your recipe does make it look simple and delicious.

  6. @ ASP - I wish this recipe made it to breakfast! We gobbled the whole dish ... and gave the kitties the last few shrimp, because we love them!

    @ Kay - Ha! Wish we had Thai restaurants within spitting distance! We have to go to Boston or Manchester to find good Thai food ... and it IS simple. The key is to time the soaking rice noodles with the amount of stir-fry that you must do to put the sauce together. Mise-en-place, baby!

  7. I also must admit I do not cook Thai because I have a very good Thai restaurant close to my home (well, close for where I live). I am also fairly certain I can not make it at home as cheap as I can buy it there.

    However, I did buy a bottle of fish sauce on a whim. I really need to use it.

  8. I adore Pad Thai Susan and I think it is super clever the way you've managed to substitute for tamarind.

    I culd eat Pad Thai for breakfast, lunch and dinner any day of the week :)

  9. Thank you for providing such thorough recipe details. Even the image appeals to me and I decided to prepare it straight away. Because it's one of my favorite, I'll mostly make the vegetarian Pad Thai recipes. I'll always go online and look for a nice recipe to cook for myself. I think I've found yet another fantastic pad thai recipe. I'm hoping to see more recipes like these from you in the future.


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