Pad Thai is such a tasty dish when done right, and it’s something we should be able to make reliably at home. You will want to use a wok that produces high heat to get that elusive wok flavor镬气（huò qì）or 锅气 found on the Thai street food. If you’ve got a bit of spare time, you may want to separate this shrimp pad Thai into two batches to really get the full effect of the Thai street food vendors who make pad Thai to order one serving at a time. Smaller portions, while not always practical, almost always guarantee better results when cooking at home. This Shrimp Pad Thai does require quite a bit of prep work and organization, but once everything is assembled, it really comes together quickly.
Tamarind is widely available in supermarkets. The fruit is a kind of a pod, 12 to 15 cm in length, with a hard, brown shell. The fruit has a fleshy, juicy, acidic and edible pulp. You can easily find canned Tamarind paste in Asia grocery stores. The consumption of tamarind pulp is widespread due to its central role in the cuisines of the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and the Americas, especially Mexico. In Western cuisine, tamarind pulp is found in Worcestershire Sauce and HP Sauce.
- 200g dried pad Thai noodles （thin rice noodles）
- 2/3 cup water
- 3 tablespoons palm sugar or brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon, caster sugar
- 3 tablespoons tamarind paste罗望子膏
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce鱼露
- 2+2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 200g shrimp, shelled and deveined with tail on
- 1 medium shallot or half of 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 tablespoons salted preserved Chinese turnip or radish, washed in warm water and julienned (optional)
- 2 pieces of extra firm tofu, cut into thin rectangles, 豆腐干
- 2 large eggs
- 2 spring onions cut in inch long pieces
- 1 cup mung bean sprouts，washed and drained， 豆芽
- 2 tablespoon roasted peanuts, crushed
- For garnishing, use a handful of cilantro leaves, lime, or use banana bud if you are able to find them.
Soak the pad thai noodles in warm water for about 20 minutes, and drain in a colander. If the noodles are in really long strands, you will want to cut them into 10- to 12-inch lengths, or you will end up with a huge noodle ball when cooking. And nobody wants a huge noodle ball.
Let’s prepare the pad thai sauce by combining water, tamarind paste,fish sauce and sugar in a sauce pan, and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes or till the sauce thickens. Transfer to a bowl and put aside.
- Heat a wok of 2 tablespoons of oil over high heat and sear the shrimp for 1 minute. Remove the shrimp immediately after they’ve gone opaque and are a little golden at the edges, leaving any excess oil in the wok. Set the shrimp aside.
- In the same wok, add into shallots and garlic over medium high heat and fry till aromatic. Add tofu and turn up the heat to high. Fry for 1 minute.
- Time to add the noodles! Add the noodles and stir-fry for about 30 seconds, or until all the ingredients are combined. Pour the pad thai sauce (made in the step 2) mixture over the noodles, and stir fry for 30 seconds or so. Push the noodles to one side of the wok to make way for the eggs. Add two tablespoons of oil to the clear area of the wok. Crack the two eggs in, stir and cook till set. Toss the eggs well with the noodles.
- Lastly, add the bean sprouts and spring onions. Stir fry everything at high heat until the bean sprouts are just cooked (about 1 to 2 minutes, depending upon how hot your flame can get). Toss in the cooked shrimp, and serve the Shrimp Pad Thai with crushed peanuts. Garnish with cilantro leaves and or/lime. Or even use Banana bud if you are able to find them.
- Serve immediately.