This shrimp pad thai recipe has a lot of ingredients - but it's really an easy stir-fry where everything comes together quickly.
Some ingredients can be substituted, like palm sugar for honey; but others, like tamarind paste, rice noodles, and of course, fish sauce, are essential to getting Thailand's most popular dish right.
Rice noodles are used because the neutral taste readily soaks up all the intense flavours.
Tamarind paste too, used widely in Thai cooking, adds a sour-sweet buzz to this dish. Besides prawns, you'll often see pad thai with chicken, beef, a mix of seafood, or all-vegetarian.
- 120g dried flat rice noodles, soaked till tender
- 10 medium shrimp, tails left on, deveined
- 2 tablespoons sweet preserved radish, chopped
- 150g bean sprouts, tailed
- 60g garlic chives, cut into 2-inch lengths
- 2 tbsp shallots, chopped
- 2 tbsp dried shrimp, chopped
- 2 tbsp roasted salted peanuts, chopped
- 2 eggs
- 1 ½ tbsp garlic, chopped
- 1 square of bean curd, cut into small rectangles
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp tamarind paste mixed with 4 tablespoons hot water
- 3 tbsp water
- 3 tbsp palm sugar
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp roasted chili flakes
- 2 garlic chives, cut into 4-inch lengths
- 60g bean sprouts, tailed
- 1 tbsp roasted, salted peanuts
- 2 tsp chili flakes
- 2 lime wedges
1: Make the sauce
- Mix the tamarind-water mixture thoroughly then strain into a saucepan.
- Add the fish sauce, water and palm sugar, then bring to a simmer. Stir well and turn off the heat.
2: Start frying
- Add the garlic, shallots, dried shrimp and radish together in a small bowl.
- In a wok or frying pan, heat the oil over medium high heat and fry the bean curd till golden. Remove with a slotted spoon, then fry the prawns till cooked - about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the garlic mixture and stir-fry until fragrant - about 1-2 minutes.
3: Add the noodles and sauce
- Add the noodles and sauce, and turn the heat up. Toss till the sauce is absorbed, then move the noodles to one side of the pan and crack in the eggs.
- Put the noodles on top of the eggs, and add the peanuts, chili flakes, bean sprouts, chives, prawns and bean curd. Toss well until the eggs are cooked and in curds - about 1 minute - turn the heat off.
- Dish the noodles into serving plates, and serve with the raw bean sprouts, garlic chives, lime wedges, chili flakes and additional chili flakes on the side.
Chef's Tips: This dish needs to be cooked fast to ensure nothing is overcooked - so make sure you prepare all your ingredients in advance before frying.
Substitutes: Instead of prawns, use mixed seafood, or chicken, pork or beef. You can also keep it vegetarian by adding mushrooms. Luxe it up a little by wrapping it up in a thin omelette parcel and topping with crab meat or oysters.