Hey there bacon lovers!
If every once in a great while you enjoy eating a meal that’s long on flavor and short on bacon, let me recommend making Pad Thai with Shrimp.
Often made and sold by Thai food vendors on the street, Pad Thai is easily made at home. The most difficult part is shopping for the Asian ingredients like Tamarind Pasta, chile sauce, or Asian rice noodles. Luckily, because the world has become a much smaller place, all of these ingredients are commonly found in any good size American supermarket in the Asian or International food aisle.
Be sure to do all the measuring and chopping of ingredients before you are ready to cook. After that, the Pad Thai is assembled quickly in one large skillet on top of the stove.
Shrimp Pad Thai
8 ounces thin rice stick noodles
1 Tablespoon tamarind paste
1/3 cup warm water
3 Tablespoons fish sauce
3 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons red chili sauce (or ½ teaspoon red cayenne pepper)
4 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
1 pound extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 garlic cloves, minced (5 teaspoons)
1 small chili pepper, seeded and minced (2 tablespoons)
5 scallions, both white and green parts, sliced thinly on a diagonal
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups bean sprouts
1/3 cup finely chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
Lime Wedges for serving
1.) Soak the Rice Noodles: Cover the rice noodles with very hot tap water in a large bowl; soak until softened, but not fully tender, 10 to 15 minutes. (The noodles should be soft enough to bend easily, but still firm and slightly under cooked as they will finish cooking later in the skillet.) Drain and set the noodles aside.
2.) Make the Pad Thai Sauce: Add the tamarind past and the 1/3-cup warm water to a small bowl and stir to combine. Add the fish sauce, brown sugar, red chili sauce (or cayenne pepper) and 1 tablespoon of the oil; set the sauce aside.
Tamarind paste adds a pleasant tartness to the Pad Thai sauce, but if you can’t find it you can substitute 2 Tablespoon fresh lime juice mixed with 2 Tablespoons water. It won’t be as authentic, but it’ll do fine.
Above are some of the ingredients you’ll need: Tamarind Paste, red chile sauce, fish sauce, peanut or vegetable oil, brown sugar. Fish sauce is made from anchovies, red chile sauce is very hot and garlicky. Both are staples of Asian cooking.
3.) Heat a wok or large 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and swirl the oil in the pan to coat the bottom. When the oil shimmers in the pan, add the shrimp and season with the salt. Cook tossing occasionally until the shrimp are pink and opaque, 1 to 3 minutes, depending on their size. Transfer the shrimp to a plate and set aside.
4.) Add the remaining 1tablespoon oil to the skillet. Set the pan over medium heat and when the oil shimmers, add the garlic, minced chili, and the white and pale green parts of the scallions. (Save the dark green parts to garnish the finished dish.) Cook, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon and stirring constantly, about 1 minute, or until the scallions soften slightly.
5.) Add the beaten eggs and stir with a wooden spoon about 20 seconds or until scrambled but still a little moist. Add the softened rice noodles and about 3 tablespoons of the sauce and toss with two wooden spoons (two wide spatulas also work well) just until combined. Use a motion to lift and turn the noodles over in the pan to help coat them in the sauce and cook evenly. (Watch my son Nick demonstrate this technique in my previous post.)
6.) Pour the remaining sauce over the noodles; increase the heat to medium-high, and cook, tossing constantly by lifting and turning the noodles, for 2 to 3 minutes.
7.) Add the bean sprouts and the cooked shrimp, and continue to cook to 2 to 3 minutes, tossing until the noodles are tender but with a chewy bite. If the pan appears to need liquid before the noodles are tender, stir in 2 to 4 tablespoons water, or more if needed, and scrape up the declicious browned bits on the bottom of the pan with the wooden spoon to incorporate them into the liquid.
8.) Portion out onto individual plates, garnishing each with the remaining scallions, a generous sprinkling of nuts and the lime wedges.
Serves 3 to 4
Variations: If you are a fan of fresh ginger, as I am, add 2 teaspoons to the pan along with the garlic, chilies and scallions.