Sunday, April 26, 2009

Shrimp Pad Thai


Remember that one time...
when I said I would post some Thai recipes...
and then didn't?
Oops, sorry about that.

Well, here I am to redeem myself! Shrimp Pad Thai, anyone?

One of the most frustrating feelings for me is to watch someone make a meal look so easy to cook, only to find out that it is not easy at all.

When we were in Thailand, I watched a woman make Pad Thai for us. She spoke no English, so I had to watch very carefully. I took photos of the different steps so that I wouldn't forget any ingredients. Since she didn't measure any ingredients, I had to experiment with that on my own. Another huge difference is that she was cooking for 30 people. My Pad Thai only needed to feed 2 hungry bellies.

The first attempt was not good. I overcooked the noodles and couldn't seem to get the flavors balanced. This is when that frustrating feeling I mentioned earlier comes into play. Now, I admit that if something doesn't go right the first time, I tend to lose my motivation. But this Pad Thai dish had to be conquered. Brad loved the first try, mistakes and all. So when I mentioned trying to improve the recipe a second time, he jumped for joy!

The second attempt was much more successful. The noodles were great; the flavors were perfect. There were a couple of reasons why this time went more smoothly. The amount of liquids I used to cook the noodles was more accurate and I was able to find dried shrimp (or ebi in Japanese).


These little guys are in season right now, so I am suddenly finding them everywhere. Here is an interesting story about them from a great blog: EatingAsia.

The Shrimp Pad Thai turned out beautifully once I got used to the cooking method and the ingredients. We topped it with a bit of sugar, red pepper flakes, chopped peanuts, and lime juice.


The flavors were so good that when I closed my eyes, I could imagine being back in Thailand...


Shrimp Pad Thai

*note: The measurements are not exact. If you feel like you need more liquid to cook the noodles, for example, go ahead and add more.

1 package of pad thai noodles
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 cup firm tofu, cut into 1/4 inch strips
1 package bean sprouts
1 bunch scallions, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 egg
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons Sriracha chili sauce (or to taste)
3 or 4 oz. dried shrimp soaked for at least 20 minutes in 4 cups water
Red Pepper Flakes or Chili Flakes

In a wok or large pan with high sides, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the tofu and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar and chili sauce. Cook for 2 more minutes or until simmering. Add the fresh shrimp and cook until pink, about 2 or 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the tofu and shrimp from the pan, leaving the sauces.

Next, add the dried shrimp and the water. Allow the sauce to come to a boil. Add the noodles. They should be mostly but not be completely immersed in the liquid. Cook until the noodles are nearly cooked through and have soaked up most of the liquid, about 10 minutes.

Add the green onions and sprouts and cook for about 1 minute until the green onions are slightly softened. Push the noodles to the side of the wok. Place the egg in the wok, move the noodles on top of the egg. Allow the egg to cook for about 2 or 3 minutes. Toss the pad Thai to break up the egg and work it into the noodles.

Finally, add the shrimp and tofu back to the pan and toss to combine. Serve in bowls topped with sugar, red pepper flakes, chopped peanuts, cilantro and a lime wedge.

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