Pad Thai is probably the most well known Thai dish around the world. Yet every time I eat it, I feel like I’ve discovered an amazing new dish full of tantalizing flavors for the first time. Rice noodles are stir fried in a seasoning sauce that has the sweet, salty, and sour elements that are key in Thai cooking. Red chilli flakes add a spicy kick. Because the noodles are made out of rice floor, the dish is gluten free. With the addition of shrimp, tofu, and eggs, it is also high in protein.
½ pound dried rice stick noodles, 3mm wide (about 1/8 inch wide)
6 tablespoons palm sugar
¼ cup tamarind paste
¼ cup fish sauce
1 tablespoon molasses
6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 shallots, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup finely chopped preserved radish (optional)
½ teaspoon red chili flakes
8 ounces extra firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 pound jumbo shrimp (21/25 count), peeled and deveined
1 cup fresh bean sprouts, rinsed in cold water
6 green onions, green tops only, finely sliced
1 cup finely chopped roasted peanuts
1 lime, cut into wedges
For table seasonings
Red chili powder(½ cup dried chili peppers, lightly toasted in a skillet and coarsely ground in a food processor or spice grinder)
Soak the rice sticks noodles in lukewarm water until somewhat soft but still firm to the touch, about 30-40 minutes. Then drain and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix the palm sugar, tamarind paste, fish sauce, and molasses. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside. This is the seasoning sauce.
Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large wok over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for about two minutes. Add the garlic, preserved radish, red chili flakes, and tofu and cook until the tofu is golden brown. Push all the ingredients to one side of the wok.
Add the eggs and scramble and shred them with the tip of the spatula. Mix them with tofu. Once again, move this mixture to one side of the wok. Add the shrimp and cook for about two minutes and push towards the tofu mixture.
Add remaining oil followed by the drained noodles and the seasoning sauce. Stir-fry until noodles are soft. Add bean sprouts and green onions. Mix everything in the wok together and cook for about four minutes or until the noodles are tender. Garnish with crushed peanuts and lime wedges and serve with table seasonings.