Pad Thai Fried Noodles

The first time I had Pad Thai was in college in 1980, in a place called “Bangkok Cuisine” on Massachusetts Ave in Boston. I was 19 and just getting my feet wet with ethnic food but I remember clearly the taste of the sweet peanut flavor and delicious noodles and chicken and thought I might have died and gone to heaven. To this day, I can completely judge a Thai restaurant just by the quality of this dish. 

This recipe is the real deal not a simple version. Use a WOK if you can and keep the contents moving at all times under high heat, that’s the secret.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 ounces rice noodles
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 16 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  •  cup chopped salted peanuts
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  •  Sesame seeds
  •  Red pepper flakes (optional)

PREPARATION

  1. Place the noodles in a bowl and cover with cold water. Let sit for 1 hour. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the tamarind paste, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice and 1/4 cup water; set aside. Lightly steam the broccoli and carrot; set aside.
  2. Drain the noodles. Set a wok over high heat for 1 minute, then add the oil and heat until almost smoking. Add the garlic and ginger; sauté for 30 seconds. Add the shrimp and sauté until almost cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a plate, leaving the oil in the pan.
  3. Add the noodles and stir-fry for 1 minute. Pour in three-quarters of the tamarind sauce and toss to coat the noodles. Add more sauce if needed. Cook until the noodles are al dente, then push them to one side of the wok and scramble the eggs in the remaining space. Add the shrimp, broccoli, carrot, scallions, bean sprouts and half the peanuts. Toss to mix. 
  4. Divide among 4 plates and garnish with the remaining peanuts, the cilantro, lime wedges, sesame seeds and (for brave children) red pepper flakes

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