I am the type of girl that buys her pad thai sauce in a jar. Yup, it just always seemed like it would be a complicated thing to make from scratch. One afternoon, though, I was baking to my little heart's content (with Food Network on in the background), when a program came on where they were going to make pad thai and spring rolls. I was curious and kept it on - and lo and behold, it's not hard at all! So I decided to give it a shot; besides: the jarred sauce is always a bit on the sweet side, and I like the way my favorite restaurant makes it: tart, light on sauce, and dry.
This recipe is right on the money. Rice noodles are tossed in sauce with bean sprouts, scallions, lots of cilantro, egg, and shrimp. Not too sweet (instead nice and tart from the lime), with a lovely flavor in the background from the pungent soy and fish sauce, the spicy ginger/garlic. The sauce soaks into the rice noodles, making for a light meal. Bliss. I love a good pad thai, and this is it.
And best of all: for the cost of a jar of pad thai sauce, I was able to buy the fish sauce and rice wine vinegar. Which will provide many, many more meals of pad thai in this house.
Shrimp Pad Thai
(from Food Network)
1 1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. ginger, minced
16 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. red crushed pepper flakes
1 tsp. brown sugar
7 oz. rice noodles, soaked in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes then drained
1/2 c. bean sprouts
3-4 scallions, sliced
1 c. freshly chopped cilantro leaves
1 lime, zested and juiced
Chopped peanuts for garnish (optional)
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wok or a large frying pan. Add the garlic and ginger, and saute until golden brown. Add the shrimp and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until pink, tossing from time to time. Remove and set aside in a bowl.
Heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil in the same pan and add the eggs. Stir to scramble the egg into small pieces, remove and set aside with the shrimp.
Heat the remaining oil in the pan and add the soy sauce, fish sauce, rice wine, red pepper flakes, and brown sugar. Stir briefly, add the drained noodles, and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the bean sprouts, chopped scallions, and cilantro. Mix well and continue to cook until noodles are heated through. Season, if necessary, with a little more soy sauce or fish sauce, add shrimp and egg, then sprinkle in lime zest and juice. Serve while hot!