Go East, Young Man: Shrimp Pad Thai
One of the things I’ve been most thankful for in the past 6-8 years is that the weeone developed a taste for Asian foods. Now, there have been limits. I still can’t get her on the sushi bandwagon, but she’ll happily go to a Japanese restaurant for edamame and fried rice. She has a variety of things she likes at a Chinese restaurant, but she’s never been bowled over by any sort of Thai food – and I haven’t pushed the issue.
Imagine my surprise when I mentioned cooking pad thai at home. First she asked for more details. Hmmmm…smart kid, huh? Gets the facts before making the decision. When she learned it was basically noodles and shrimp? She was sold. I might just make her into a world-travelling-food junkie after all!
I’ve only ever made pad thai at home once before and it was a complete and total disaster. That was about ten years ago, so to say I was a bit gun shy would be an enormous understatement. Asian cooking intimidates the HECK out of me. But this was not nearly as scary as I remember it being the last time and frankly, it had outstanding results.
The noodles were perfectly cooked, the sauce was slightly sour, but also spicy and sweet. I did probably get a little heavy handed with the sriracha for the weeone’s tastes, but I liked the spice level just fine. So if you’re not a heat junkie, start with perhaps half the amount of sriracha so you don’t burn your taste buds off. I want you to get to enjoy this one!
Turns out that cooking Asian food isn’t scary at all. I think the hesitancy and fear comes from how unfamiliar we are with many of the ingredients. How do I get more familiar? Cook more!
- Serves: 4
- Serving size: 1 cup
- Calories: 474
- Fat: 16.2g
- Saturated fat: 2.0g
- Unsaturated fat: 14.2g
- Carbohydrates: 64.3g
- Fiber: 2.6g
- Protein: 16.2g
- Cholesterol: 86mg
- 8 ounces uncooked flat rice noodles (I prefer the red noodles)
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2½ tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha (chili garlic sauce)
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 cup (2-inch) green onion pieces
- 8 ounces peeled and deveined large shrimp
- 1 egg
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
- ¼ cup chopped unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
- 3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
- Bring a pot of water to boil and remove from the heat. Drop in the rice noodles and soak for 3-4 minutes until they are limp, but firm. The noodles will be under cooked at this point so that when you fry them later they will become 'al dente.' Drain and rinse the noodle with cold water and set aside.
- Combine the brown sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice and sriracha to make your pad thai sauce. Set aside.
- Heat a wok or large skillet over medium high heat. Add the canola oil and turn to coat the pan. Add the green onion and shrimp and stir fry about 2 minutes or until the shrimp is slightly pink but still a bit under cooked. Push them to the side and add the egg, stir frying for 30 seconds to a minute or until done. Mix the egg, onion and shrimp.
- Add the noodles to the pan and add the sauce, about ⅓ at a time, allowing the noodles to soak it up and the pan to go dry and then add ⅓ more. Repeat until the sauce is gone and the noodles begin to get glossy and taste chewy.
- Serve 1 cup of noodles/shrimp with ¼ cup of bean sprouts, 1 tablespoon of peanuts and 2 teaspoons of basil.