Thai Street Food: Pad Thai with Shrimp (gluten-free)

Real Pad Thai with Shrimp
Delicious Pad Thai, made as in Thailand. D.Schmidt for About.com
  • 24 mins
  • Prep: 12 mins,
  • Cook: 12 mins
  • Yield: SERVES 2
Ratings (39)

This pad Thai recipe comes to you direct from the eateries of Thailand. Many of you are discovering that tamaraind paste - a traditional ingredient in pad thai - is difficult to find, and guess what? My experience discussing recipes with Thai chefs led to uncovering the fact that originally pad thai was made without tamarind (it didn't become part of the standard recipe until much later), hence this recipe made with lime juice instead of tamarind. This simple swap makes the pad Thai sauce easy to put together, and so much better than bottled or packaged pad Thai sauces, which can never give you the same taste as fresh. From my kitchen to yours, enjoy!

What You'll Need

  • 8 oz. Pad Thai rice noodles, or enough for 2 people
  • 12-15 small to medium raw shrimp, shells removed
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce (use wheat-free for gluten-free diets)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. grated ginger
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 cups bean sprouts
  • 2-3 green onions, sliced
  • handful fresh coriander/cilantro
  • 1/3 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped
  • 2-3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • PAD THAI SAUCE:
  • 1/3 cup strong chicken stock
  • 3 Tbsp. vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 4 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce (use wheat-free for gluten-free diets)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, to taste

How to Make It

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Dunk in noodles and boil until they are limp but still firm and a little "crunchy" to taste. Rinse noodles thoroughly with cold water and set aside. Tip: Noodles must be undercooked at this stage in order to achieve their sticky-chewy texture later when fried.
  2. Toss shrimp in 1 Tbsp. soy sauce and set aside. For the 'Pad Thai Sauce, combine ingredients in a cup, starting with 3 Tbsp. sugar and increasing to 4 as needed. Taste-test for a tangy balance between sweet and sour. Set aside.
  1. Warm a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 Tbsp. oil and swirl around, then add garlic and ginger. Stir-fry 1 minute and add the shrimp. Stir-fry 2 minutes, or until shrimp are pink and plump. Push ingredients aside and drizzle a little more oil into the pan. Crack in the egg and stir-fry quickly to scramble (30 seconds).
  2. Add noodles and drizzle over 1/3 of the Pad Thai Sauce. Using a gentle turning motion, stir-fry everything together. Add more sauce every 30 seconds to 1 minute until sauce is used up and noodles are sticky and chewy tasting ('al dente' - 5 to 8 minutes).
  3. Turn off heat. Fold in beansprouts and green onion (note: beansprouts and nuts can be served alongside the noodles if desired). Taste-test, adding more fish sauce if not flavorful enough. If too salty or sweet, add a good squeeze of lime. Sprinkle over the nuts and coriander. Thai chili sauce can be served on the side for those who like it extra spicy. ENJOY!

Tips: When making more than 8 oz. of noodles, I usually double the pad Thai sauce. Avoid making more than 12 oz. of noodles at any one time, simply because as it's hard to turn the noodles and get them cooked evenly without overcooking them.