I make this a lot, but this time, I kind of used a recipe in the Joy of Cooking. The trick to making Pad Thai is that you need to prep everything in advance (as the the recipes instructs). The actual cooking time is pretty quick. There are some special ingredients, that may be hard to find at your grocery store. Most grocery stores have fish sauce and toasted sesame oil in the Asian or Ethnic section. The flat rice noodles are actually harder to find for me. We have two regular grocery stores in Boulder. Safeway never has the flat rice noodles and King Soopers sometimes has them (weird, I know). Whole Foods always has them unless they are out because people in Boulder are so dang healthy, they just eat that stuff up!
We love Whole Foods. And totally wish we could shop there for everything. But we already spend too much on food and just can't spend anymore. We do go there for certain items (that are sometimes cheaper): olive oil (always cheaper), special produce, bread, some cheeses, etc. Actually, I hate regular grocery stores. Now that I am on the topic. It irritates me how they bag my groceries and won't let me bag my own. Also, they have way too much stuff that I do not want. And they don't have the things I do want. I love small (expensive) grocery stores! Someday...
adapted from Joy of Cooking
~16 oz. rice noodles
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
8 oz. shrimp, peeled, deveined, and split lengthwise in half
5 tbsp. Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
5 tbsp soy sauce
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
5 tablespoons of sugar
1 tbsp light oil (peanut)
2 tbsp light oil (peanut)
3 eggs, well beaten
2 tbsp light oil (peanut)
~1/2 cup 1 1/2 -inch pieces of scallions (white part only) – need about 4 bunches
1 to 2 small green chiles, seeded and chopped
1 small garlic clove, finely minced
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1/3 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped (optional: save some for garnish)
1/4 cup basil leaves, cut into thin strips
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped (optional: save some for garnish)
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
lime wedges for garnish (and for squeezing right before eating)
Place rice noodles in bowl, cover with hot water, let soak for 20-30 minutes until softened (still will have a bite to them). When done, drain and set aside (but continue prepping everything else as you wait).
Stir together cornstarch and sesame oil. Add shrimp, marinate for 15-20 minutes. Set aside.
In a glass measuring cup, combine fish sauce, soy sauce, lime/lemon juice and sugar. Set aside.
In a wok or large skillet, over medium-high heat, add first tablespoon of light oil. Swirl to coat pan. Add shrimp, cook for 30-45 seconds and absolutely no longer. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add two more tablespoons of light oil to pan. Add the beaten eggs. Stir vigorously, until set. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add two more tablespoons of light oil to pan. Add scallions, green chiles, and garlic until garlic is slightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add drained noodles and stir until well coated. Add fish sauce mixture and stir well. Then add shrimp and cooked eggs, stir well. Add the rest in this order: bean sprouts, peanuts, basil, cilantro, crushed red pepper flakes.
Garnish with lime wedge, chopped peanuts and cilantro.
NOTE: Shrimp is can easily be left out, so this will be listed as vegetarian too! Chicken, tofu or pork can also be substituted for shrimp.
(Servings: 4, Prep time: 45 minutes, Cook time: 15 minutes, Difficulty: Intermediate)