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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Simplified Pad Thai

My undergrad research adviser sent me "The Best 30 Minute Recipe" cookbook as a wedding gift. All of the recipes are designed to take 30 minutes from start to finish, and each has been optimized in their test kitchen. All of the dinners I've made from it have been really good. Because of my allergy to peanuts/tree nuts, I try to avoid Thai restaurants, which is extremely unfortunate because I love Thai food - actually all types of Asian cooking. So, I must resort to making these dishes at home. Bob and I love this Simplified Pad Thai. I'm not sure how authentic it is, but it's quick and tasty.

Simplified Pad Thai

8 ounces thick rice stick noodles
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup water
3 Tablespoons fish sauce*
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
4 Tablespoons vegetable oil (I always use olive oil, and not this much)
3/4 pound medium (40/50) shrimp, peeled and deveined**
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
6 Tablespoons chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
3 cups bean sprouts, well rinsed (I use an 8 ounce bag)
5 scallions, sliced thin
1 lime, cut into wedges (for serving)
Sweet chilli sauce (optional for a little heat, found in Asian cooking section)

*I don't use fish sauce. Just reading the label that explains what it actually is makes me cringe. I substitute 3 T water with a little salt.

**I usually use chicken in place of the shrimp, or leave the dish vegetarian, but I thought I'd type out the shrimp directions because a lot of people like shrimp. If I use chicken, it's usually boneless, skinless chicken breasts that I've cut into small pieces, seasoned with salt & pepper, and sauteed in some olive oil. Our favorite way was when I generously sprinkled salt & pepper on boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cooked them in olive oil, then shredded them using 2 forks - adding the meat to the dish at the end.

1. Cover noodles with hot tap water in a large bowl and soak until softened, pliable, and limp but not fully tender, about 20 minutes. Drain noodles and set aside.

2. While noodles soak, stir lime juice, water, fish sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons of oil together and set aside.

3. Pat shrimp dry with paper towels. Heat 1 more tablespoon of oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add shrimp, spread into single layer, and cook without stirring for 1 minute. Stir shrimp and continue to cook until spotty brown and just pink around the edges, about 30 seconds. Transfer shrimp to clean bowl, cover, and set aside.

4. Add remaining tablespoon oil and garlic to skillet and return to medium heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add eggs and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring vigorously until eggs are scrambled, about 20 seconds.

5. Stir soaked noodles into eggs. Add fish sauce mixture, increase heat to high, and cook, tossing constantly, until noodles are evenly coated. Add 1/4 cup of peanuts***, bean sprouts, all but 1/4 cup of scallions, and cooked shrimp (or chicken). Continue to cook, tossing constantly, until noodles are tender, about 2 minutes (if not yet tender add 2 tablespoons water to skillet and continue to cook until tender).

6. Transfer noodles to serving bowls and sprinkle with remaining scallions and peanuts. Serve, passing lime wedges separately.

***I leave the peanuts out of this step and let Bob put his own on at the end. If you have someone in your house who has a nut allergy and still feel comfortable having them in the house, you can do the same.

Source: Adapted from The Best 30 Minute Recipe cookbook


  1. I really love pad thai. I've made it with many different recipes, but I'd love to try this one as well!

  2. Oh yum - this looks good! Now I'm craving take out! I tried making pad thai once and it was a disaster - I'm going to bookmark this one :)

  3. This looks like a awesome dinner meal. Yummy!

  4. Great recipe! I will have to try this one out, I have some tofu in the fridge to use up!

  5. I love Pad Thai too and anything Thai. This looks really good and I love easy!


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