Perhaps the most famous Thai recipe, it’s amazing how specific an idea many people have of how a pad thai should taste – and how far away this is from a traditional shrimp pad thai recipe! Westernised versions of the dish often usual artificial colourings or flavourings to achieve an end result that looks more desirable, but detracts from the delicate balance of flavours of the original when doing so.
Below is a traditional shrimp pad thai recipe which captures all of the charm and intoxicating aromas of those sold on the streets of Bangkok and beyond. If you want to recreate a similar explosion of tanginess and tastiness in your own kitchen, simply follow this recipe and you’ll be wowing all-comers with the most authentic pad thai they’ve ever tasted this side of the time difference.
Ingredients: (Serves 4)
250g dry rice noodles
15-20 shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 small shallots, thinly sliced,
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons dried shrimp, chopped
150g pressed tofu, cubed
1 teaspoon of chili flakes, or to taste
250g bean sprouts
A bunch of garlic chives, cut into 2-inch pieces
75g chopped roasted peanuts
5 tablespoons palm sugar
50g tamarind paste
4 tablespoons fish sauce
6 tablespoons water
6 tablespoons cooking oil
Pre-soak the noodles in a bowl of water at room temperature for one hour, then drain and set aside. Sear the shrimp in a wok with half the oil over a high heat for a few minutes on each side, before removing from the pan and setting aside.
Add the rest of the oil and reduce the heat to medium, before adding the chili flakes, dried shrimp, garlic, pressed tofu and shallots. Cook until the mixture becomes fragrant and the garlic turns darker in colour. Turn the heat back up to high and add the fish sauce, palm sugar, tamarind paste, water and noodles, stirring constantly until the noodles have absorbed all of the liquid.
Move the noodles to one side of the pan and add the eggs to other, letting them scramble gently. When they are half set, move the noodles over the top of them and allow them to set fully. Flip the entire contents of the pan and break the eggs up using a wooden spoon or spatula.
Turn off the heat and add the bean sprouts, garlic chives and half the peanuts. Let the residual heat from the pan bring the vegetables to the desired temperature, before serving in bowls topped with the shrimps, remaining peanuts and a piece of lime on the side for garnish.