31 While 31–Pad Thai

Just when you thought I’d forgotten all about my 30 While 30 turned 31 While 31, I’ve got this DELICIOUS pad Thai.  Oh YUM!

Readers, let me tell you…I was so proud of myself when this turned out not only edible but downright awesome.  You see, the last time I tried to make pad Thai I messed it up so badly I threw it out.  Me–the girl who hates to waste food and will eat just about anything if I’ve already paid for it and went to the trouble of making it.  And that scarring moment is exactly why I put pad Thai on my list.  I wanted to tackle it.  I wanted to be one of those people who, when asked at lunch where my pad Thai leftovers are from, can casually say, “Oh, I made it.”  And now I am!

Many Asian dishes intimidate me used to intimidate me because of the quick cooking times and techniques.  How silly.  This is actually great because you can have a super yummy meal on the table in no time flat!  Just make sure you have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go before anything hits the pan.  This recipe is perfect for that because you can get everything ready and pour yourself a glass of wine or enjoy a beer while the noodles soak. 

I used a pretty basic recipe, but now that I have my confidence in place, I can’t wait to start playing with it and finding new recipes to try and compare.  I made a couple of substitutions with this one already, most notably using one chipotle in adobo in place of two fresh hot red peppers.  I know it is far from traditional and I knew it would change up the flavor a bit, but both M and I like smoky flavors (and I already had chipotles on hand), so I went with it.  We both thought it added a really great and interesting twist to the dish.  Next time I intend to play with the protein sources, perhaps adding chicken or even some pieces of firm white fish.  

If I can do it, you can do it.  So what are you waiting for?  Get yourself in the kitchen and make some pad Thai!

**Note: My supermarket didn’t have some of these ingredients on hand, so I went to an Asian grocery store and found them easily.  

31 While 31–Pad Thai

adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Asian

1/2 lb. (250 g) dried flat rice noodles, 1/4-in. wide

1 chipotle in adobo

2 shallots, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

3/4 to 1 lb. shrimp

1/4 c. fish sauce

3 TBSP tamarind concentrate (use tomato paste if you can’t find it)

1 TBSP dark soy sauce

2 TBSP chopped palm sugar or dark brown sugar

3 TBSP fresh lime juice

2 TBSP canola oil

1 1/4 c. mung bean sprouts, divided

1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth

2 eggs, whisked

4 TBSP unsalted peanuts, toasted and chopped

chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

one lime, quartered


1.  Place the noodles in a large bowl and cover with warm water.  Let soak for 30 minutes to rehydrate.  Drain and set aside.

 2.  While the noodles are soaking, combine the chipotle, shallots, and garlic in a mini food processor and process into a paste.  (Or go old school and use a mortar and pestle.)  Set aside.

3.  Peel and devein the shrimp.  Chop into 1/2-inch pieces and set aisde.

4.  In a measuring cup, combine fish sauce, tamarind, soy sauce, palm sugar, and lime juice.  Whisk to help melt the palm sugar.  

5.  In a wok or large, deep saute pan over high heat, heat the oil until very hot.  Add the chipotle paste and stir fry for several seconds until fragrant.  (Be careful, the oil will spit at you.)  Add the fish sauce mixture and stir to combine.  Add the shrimp  and stir fry until the turn opaque, approximately three minutes. 

6.  Stir in the noodles, one c. bean sprouts, and the broth.  Continue to cook, tossing occasionally with tongs, until noodles are tender and have absorbed all the liquid, five to seven minutes.

7.  Meanwhile, cook the two eggs into a small omelet.  When done, slice into thin strips to use for garnish.

8.  When noodles have absorbed all the liquid, transfer to a large platter or four individual dishes.  Top with egg garnish, remaining bean sprouts, peanuts, and cilantro.  Place lime wedges alongside.  Serve immediately.

two years ago: biscotti with chocolate, cherries, and walnuts

three years ago: five-veggie, four-cheese lasagna

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  1. Pretend Chef
    April 27, 2011 / 11:34 am

    Good morning Kelsey! Your pad thai looks amazing. I have a recipe for pad thai on my blog that comes from the Flat Belly Diet Cookbook. It was so incredibly delicious and tasted very close to takeout. It has less than 400 calories per serving. http://imapretendchef.blogspot.com/2011/03/chicken-pad-thai.html

  2. katie @SoTastySoYummy
    April 27, 2011 / 2:16 pm

    I love Pad Thai, I am surprised to see the chipolte in the recipe. Looks interesting!

  3. Krystal
    April 27, 2011 / 2:50 pm

    Yum! I love pad thai, and this looks delicious!

  4. sliceofsouthern
    April 27, 2011 / 3:16 pm

    This looks excellent…It's on my list for this weekend's lunch!

  5. That Girl
    April 27, 2011 / 4:51 pm

    I like the pad thai I make at home, but it's never as good as what I get out!

  6. Kimberly
    April 28, 2011 / 11:53 am

    That looks better than what I can get at the Chinese place down the street for sure! I think after I try it, I will never go back!! Can't wait to make it for Chinese take-out Friday. Bets to see if my husband will think it is store bought? 🙂

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