We may leave our decision to share a recipe for Shrimp pad Thai as is. Pad Thai is a noodle dish that originated as a street food in Thailand and has since become one of the most well-known Thai dishes worldwide.
In the United States, we’ve tried a wide variety of Pad Thai dishes, some of which were delicious, and others left us wishing we hadn’t. However, Pad Thai is a delicious meal when prepared properly, and you should be able to make it consistently at home.
Instead of suffering through gloopy, overly sweet rice noodles, we decided to tackle it in the kitchen, saving you, the reader, a ton of takeout costs.
Shrimp Pad Thai: The Necessary Details
Our Shrimp Pad Thai is made with many traditional Thai ingredients but lacks banana flowers, a popular Thai specialty ingredient. It has been a long time since your last visit to the United States and even longer since you have seen a banana tree, much less a banana flower.
For this Shrimp Pad Thai, we also experimented with a new technique. Whole shrimp were utilized (with the heads on).
Adding the shrimp heads may seem unnecessary and even repulsive compared to the pristine bags of frozen shrimp that come already peeled and deveined, but they add a lot of flavor and color to the dish. Try something new, and I guarantee you will be satisfied if you use all of the ingredients (whole shrimp included!).
Hold on; there’s one more thing I need to mention. To achieve the elusive wok hay flavor, a wok capable of producing high heat is required. If you’d like your shrimp pad Thai to have the same authentic flavor as the kind sold by vendors on Thai streets who prepare each order individually, consider cooking it in two separate batches.
Although it may not always be possible, smaller portions almost always yield better results when cooking at home. Even though this Shrimp Pad Thai calls for a lot of planning and organization ahead of time, it comes together quickly once all the components are in place.
- 8 oz. of dried pad Thai noodles(225g)
- 8 oz. of whole shrimp (with heads on if you can get them)
- 4 tbsp. of oil (divided)
- 2/3 cup of water
- 3 tbsp. of sugar
- 2 tbsp. of tamarind paste
- 3 tbsp. of fish sauce
- white pepper (to taste)
- ½ block of extra firm tofu (cut into thin rectangles)
- 1 pc. of medium shallot (thinly sliced)
- 3 cloves of garlic (sliced)
- 2 tbsp. of salted preserved Chinese turnip (washed in warm water and julienned, optional)
- 2 cups of Chinese garlic chives (cut into inch-long pieces)
- 3 pcs. of medium eggs (preferably at room temperature)
- 2 cups of mung bean sprouts (washed and drained)
- 2 tbsp. of roasted peanuts (crushed)
- a handful of cilantro leaves (optional)
- Noodles for pad thai should be soaked in warm water for about 20 minutes before being drained in a colander. To prevent the formation of a massive noodle ball while cooking, extra-long strands of noodles should be cut into 10- to 12-inch lengths. Further, no one craves a massive noodle sphere.
- Collect the shrimp, heads, and shells removed into a bowl. Get rid of the shrimp’s shells and veins, then set them aside.
- Turn the heat high and put 1 tablespoon of oil in the wok. Heat it until it begins to smoke. Cook the shrimp and add their heads and shells. Add 2/3 cup water and stir-fry until the shells are a uniform orange. If you want the shrimp to be extra flavorful and colorful, press the heads with a metal spatula as soon as the liquid begins to boil. Take it off the heat after it has simmered for another five minutes.
- Put the shrimp stock (half a cup) through a strainer into a bowl. Discard the shrimp heads and shells. The stock needs sugar, tamarind paste, fish sauce, and white pepper. Mix it all up and set it aside for later.
- Turn the heat on your wok and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Sear the shrimp for 1 minute. Remove them from the wok when the shrimp turn opaque and golden around the edges. Remove the shrimp from the dish.
- Add another tablespoon of oil and heat the wok to medium-high. Tofu should be firm enough not to crumble when seared (about 1 to 2 minutes). Then, throw in some shallots, garlic, pickled turnips (if you’re using them), and chives. Increase the temperature to high.
- Now is the time for the noodles. Stir-fry the noodles for 30 seconds or until everything is evenly mixed. Stir fry the noodles for about 30 seconds before adding the tamarind-shrimp sauce mixture. Noodles should be moved to one side of the wok to add eggs.
- When the wok is clean, pour two tablespoons of oil into it. Use your spatula to give the three eggs a light beating in the wok. After the eggs have cooked to about 60%, fold the noodles over them gently so as not to completely scramble the eggs.
- When everything else is done, sprinkle in the bean sprouts. Cook everything in a high-heat stir-fry until the bean sprouts are tender. Add the cooked shrimp and toss. Garnish with crushed peanuts and cilantro, if desired.