Homemade pad Thai is far superior to the version you can get in most restaurants, so make a trip to an Asian grocer, pick up some tamarind paste, palm sugar and fish sauce to keep in your kitchen, and you can make this Southeast Asian specialty in less time than it would take to get it delivered. The recipe makes more sauce than you will need. The leftover sauce can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Classic Pad Thai
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 Thai chiles, very thinly sliced
4 1/2 oz. (140 g) palm sugar or 2/3 cup (5 oz./155 g) firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) tamarind paste
6 Tbs. Asian fish sauce
1 1/2 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 package (7 oz./220 g) pad Thai noodles
2 Tbs. canola oil
1 lb. (500 g) large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Pinch of red pepper flakes
5 oz. (155 g) extra-firm tofu, julienned
2 carrots, peeled and julienned
4 oz. (125 g) bean sprouts
2 green onions, white and light green portions, sliced
Cilantro leaves, chopped roasted peanuts and lime wedges for serving
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the garlic, chiles, palm sugar, tamarind paste and fish sauce and heat, stirring occasionally, until the palm sugar and tamarind paste have dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Set aside.
In large bowl, soak the noodles in hot water to cover until pliable but not mushy, about 5 minutes. Drain the noodles and set aside.
Warm a wok or large fry pan over high heat, then swirl in the canola oil. Add the shrimp and red pepper flakes and stir-fry until the shrimp begin to turn pink, about 2 minutes. Pour in the eggs and cook,
without stirring, until lightly set, about 30 seconds, then stir well to scramble the eggs with the shrimp. Add 1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) of the sauce and the drained noodles. Cook, lifting and stirring the noodles
constantly, and adding more of the sauce if the noodles seem dry, until the ingredients are thoroughly blended, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tofu, carrots, bean sprouts and green onions and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes more.
Transfer the noodles to a platter. Garnish with cilantro, peanuts and lime wedges and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen