I originally got this recipe from Real Simple magazine. I’ve revised and refined it many times – and this particular batch was excellent. Might have been the fresh-ground pepper I added at the end…
Pad Thai (serves 3-4)
1/2 lb dry rice noodles (”rice stick” or “pho”)
12-16 oz pkg firm tofu, cubed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 lb cleaned and peeled shrimp
3T cooking oil – sesame or canola
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
3 T soy sauce
3 T Thai fish sauce
3 T rice vinegar
1 T tamarind paste
2 T palm sugar or brown sugar
1/4 t cayenne pepper or 1/2 t red pepper flakes
2-3 cups sliced vegetables – I like to use carrots, bell pepper, and/or cabbage
3 green onions, sliced
1 c bean sprouts (optional)
1 lime, juiced
1/2 c roasted peanuts, chopped
a generous handful of fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
Salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste
In a large bowl, soak the noodles in warm water while you prep the other ingredients. Combine the garlic, soy sauce, fish sauce, vinegar, tamarind, sugar, and cayenne in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat 2 tsp oil in a nonstick skillet and add the tofu cubes in a single layer. Sizzle until browned, tossing occasionally. Remove to a large covered bowl. Add a tsp of oil to the pan and cook the eggs until firm. Remove to the bowl. Next, cook your vegetables to desired tenderness. I cook cabbage separately; and cook the carrots for several minutes and then add bell pepper for just a few seconds before removing them to the bowl.
Heat 2 tsp of oil and cook the shrimp until opaque. Add them to the mixture in the bowl, and pour the sauce mixture into the pan. Drain the noodles from their soak and add them to the pan. Bring the sauce to a simmer and stir the noodles constantly until they are tender but pleasantly chewy. Slide the noodles and sauce into the bowl on top of the other items, throw in the lime juice, green onions, and bean sprouts, and toss vigorously to combine the ingredients, separate any clumps of noodles, and coat everything with sauce. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss again.
To serve, garnish each plate with chopped peanuts and cilantro leaves.