Pad Thai

2 Feb

I’ve made this pad thai twice in the last week. The first time around I didn’t really stir my noodles while they were cooking so they got all stuck together and didn’t cook very evenly. And I also used some peanuts that weren’t exactly fresh. But, it still tasted really good and I wanted to see how it would turn out if I didn’t screw it up. So I made it a second time. I made sure to stir the noodles intermittently while they cooked and I used fresh peanuts. And it turned out awesome!

This recipe was super easy to make and pretty fast. I couldn’t find tamarind so I just used the suggested lime juice, water, and brown sugar, which actually cut the prep time in half. The cayenne pepper gave it a nice kick (probably want to cut it down for kids) and the shrimp added a nice mild flavor. I noticed the noodles didn’t cook much after their initial soak, so I’d suggest soaking them until they are just a hair underdone before tossing them in with the sauce. This one was definitely a winner and I’m sure I’ll be making it again soon.

pad thai


“Although pad thai cooks very quickly, the ingredient list is long, and everything must be prepared and within easy reach at the stovetop when you begin cooking. For maximum efficiency, use the time during which the tamarind and noodles soak to prepare the other ingredients. If tamarind paste is unavailable, substitute 1/3 cup lime juice and 1/3 cup water and use light brown sugar instead of granulated sugar.”


  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste (see note)
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • ¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • 8 ounces dried rice stick noodles, 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 12 ounces medium shrimp (41 to 50 per pound), peeled and deveined
  • Table salt
  • 1 medium shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Thai salted preserved radish (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon dried shrimp, chopped fine (optional)
  • 3 cups bean sprouts
  • ½ cup unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped coarse
  • 5 scallions, green parts only, sliced thin on the bias
  • ¼ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
  • Lime wedges, for serving


Combine the water and tamarind paste in a small bowl and let sit until the tamarind is softened and mushy, 10 to 30 minutes. Mash the tamarind to break it up, then push it through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium bowl to remove the seeds and fibers and extract as much pulp as possible. Stir in the remaining sauce ingredients and set aside.


Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. Remove the boiling water from the heat, add the rice noodles, and let sit, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the noodles and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add the shrimp, sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt, and cook without stirring until bright pink, about 1 minute. Stir the shrimp and continue to cook until cooked through, 15 to 30 seconds longer. Transfer the shrimp to a clean bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet and return to medium heat until shimmering. Add the shallot and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until light golden brown, about 1½ minutes. Stir in the eggs and cook, stirring constantly, until scrambled and barely moist, about 20 seconds.

Add the noodles and the salted radish and dried shrimp (if using) to the eggs and toss to combine. Add the sauce, increase the heat to high, and cook, tossing constantly until the noodles are evenly coated, about 1 minute.

Add the cooked shrimp, bean sprouts, ¼ cup of the peanuts, and all but ¼ cup of the scallions and continue to cook, tossing constantly, until the noodles are tender, about 2½ minutes. (If not yet tender add 2 tablespoons water to the skillet and continue to cook until tender.) Transfer the noodles to a serving platter, sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup peanuts, remaining ¼ cup scallions, and cilantro (if using) and serve with the lime wedges.

From: The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2001-2013


One Response to “Pad Thai”

  1. Jenn E. February 2, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

    I love Pad thai so much. I remember I tried to make it in a teeny tiny apartment kitchen a few years ago and boy, did I make a mess. Having to have all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go in the pan–because everything only takes a few seconds to cook–that little kitchen made every meal an adventure. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

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