Come Friday at 17:00 hours I cannot wait to get in my car, put the top down and head across the bridge and start my weekend with my Love. Now, that same enthusiasm doesn’t seem to exist on a Monday morning when I wake up to the most obnoxious alarm sound my iPhone has to offer. But, like everyone else I drag myself out of my bed, take my shower, get ready for work and post my picture memory of the day on FB.
About half way through my day I started thinking about dinner. Partly because I love food, but also because I had no idea what I was going to cook for dinner. I start to go over in my mind what I have in the fridge and the pantry but at the same time I spend a few minutes entertaining the thought of going out to eat, but quickly dismiss the latter. I didn’t make it to the grocery this weekend like I usually do, so I knew I would have to make a stop before arriving home. I thought about the rice noodles I bought a few weeks ago and I thought about what I could make with them, hmm….I GOT IT! I was going to make one of my favorite Thai dishes, pad thai krung (krung = shrimp).
When we first moved to Thailand, we lived in Bangkok and I took some cooking classes. Pad thai was one of the dishes I learned to make and it was so simple. I think Asian cooking can seem intimidating because there are so many ingredients but once you deconstruct and take it step by step it is very easy, and the payout is delicious food! Below is my recipe.
Pictured above: (for 2 servings) 3/4 lbs shrimp, 2-3 tbsp cooking oil, 2-3 tbsp fish sauce, 2 eggs, 2-3 tbsp tamarind paste, 1 lime (cut into wedges), 3 green onions (cut into 1 inch pieces), 1/2 c cilantro, 3-5 cloves of garlic, 1 shallot, peanuts, 1/4 c tofu (diced) and 1c bean sprouts. Plus 1 tbsp sugar and the rice noodles (not pictured).
Pictured above: Rice sticks or rice noodles. The ones I used were the large size but the size is really up to your preference. To get the rice noodles ready just soak them in warm water until they are soft.
Pictured above: In a wok, over medium high heat, add cooking oil, minced garlic and shallots.
Pictured above: When the garlic and shallots create an aroma add the shrimp and cook until pink. At this point, I put aside my cooked shrimp and will add them back to the wok later.
Pictured above: Add the egg. I used two because I was cooking 2+ servings. You may need to add a little more oil to the wok. Break the yolk and turn the heat down a little. You don’t want to scramble the egg, rather cook and then flip and continue to cook the other side (almost like frying the egg). When you add the other ingredients, the egg will break up. Once the egg is cooked, add the noodles, the tamarind paste, fish sauce and sugar. Toss the noodles with the seasoning and taste. Adjust flavors as needed. Then add the shrimp back in, the tofu, half of the green onions, half of the bean sprouts and half of the cilantro. Give the dish a good stir and turn off heat.
*If the noodles seem a little dry, add a little of the water the noodles were soaking in
Pictured above: The final product. Garnish with the lime wedges, the remaining green onions, bean sprouts, cilantro and peanuts. I like to add some crushed red chili flakes for a little kick but this is optional.
In the states, the pad thai I was used to having had a very thick, very rich peanut sauce. I was shocked to learn this other way in Thailand but it is now my favorite way to eat pad thai. In Thailand, pad thai street vendors are everywhere! Our favorite was near our house in the parking lot of the 7-11 (yes! 7-11). She made the most incredible pad thai, offering either chicken, shrimp or vegetarian. Many evenings my husband and I would stop and order pad thai to go, and why not when we ate like royalty for only 30 baht, or 1 USD.
Pictured above: This woman’s pad thai cart was on the soi (street) parallel to Thanon Khao San (Bangkok’s famous khao san road). My friend and I spent a weekend in Bangkok and this was our dinner. The prices at this cart were definitely geared to the tourists who were visiting this area. She was charging 40-60 baht, but seriously, why am I complaining? It was still just about 2 USD.