Make 4-6 servings
1 lb fresh wide (1/8-in ) rice noodle or 8 oz dried wide rice noodles
1/2 lb of medium or jumbo shrimp, deveined and shelled except tails
1/4-1/2 lb chicken, beef or pork, cut into thin strips (optional)
6 oz pressed or firm tofu or fried tofu, slice into small slivers
2 eggs, slightly beaten,
1 Tbs dried shrimp, soaked in hot water about 20 minutes, drained
2 Tbs pickled daikon, finely chopped
3 Tbs vegetable oil
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 Asian shallots, finely chopped
1 oz tamarind paste, soak into 3/4 cup of boiling water, and
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup palm sugar (or 3 Tbs granulated white or brown sugar)
1/2 tsp red pepper flake
1/2 lb of bean sprout, washed, and drained
1 small bunch of Chinese chive ( it is also called garlic chive, the ones with flat leaf), washed, drained, and cut into 2-in length.
1/2 cup toasted peanut, chopped
1 lime, cut into wedges
Dried red pepper flake to taste
Pad Thai sauce: Press tamarind through a fine-mesh sieve to make about 1/4 cup of tamarind juice (it will look slightly thinner than ketchup). Add a little more water and try to extract more tamarind juice before throw tamarind paste away. In a small sauce pan, add 1/4 cup fish sauce, 1/4 cup palm sugar, 1/4 cup tamarind juice and 1/2 tsp red pepper flake,bring to a boil over medium high, mix them up well until sugar is dissolved. Remove and set aside. Palm sugar is sold in round shape at our Asian stores. I grate them with a large hole cheese grater but you can break them up with a knife handle, or a mallet, etc.
If you use dried noodle, cover them with boiling water and for 15 minutes, make sure they’re soft but still have some bites (Al-dente) then drain them. If you use fresh noodles (in refrigerator of Asian market) give them a quick rinse with boiling water, they are getting soft in no time. Set them aside, stir occasionally to prevent them sticking together.
In a large pan, heat 1Tbs oil over medium high heat, add 1/2 of garlic and shallot, stir until light gold. Stir in chicken, shrimp cook a few second until chicken turns opaque and shrimp turns pink, season with 2 Tbs of Pad Thai Sauce, and set aside. Add 1 tsp oil into the pan. Add eggs and tilt the pan to make a thin layer. Stir to scramble and break up. Remove, set aside. Add 2 tsp oil into the pan, then add tofu, fry until golden, remove, season with 2 tsp of Pad Thai Sauce, and set aside. Heat the remaining oil and garlic and shallot in the same pan, Add dried shrimp, pickled daikon. Stir briefly. Add noodles and stir for a few second, season with Pad Thai Sauce (add a few Tbs at a time and taste) , mix well. Return chicken, shrimp, tofu and egg to the pan, and toss with the noodles, cook until noodles heat through. T hen add 1/2 garlic chives, 1/2 beansprout, and 1/2 peanut. Mix well, taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve topped with fresh remaining beansprout, garlic chives, peanut and lime wedges.
Hope you brave enough to try this: sweet from palm sugar, sour from tamarind with crisp beansprout, tangy garlic chive and crunchy peanut. Do not let some unfamiliar ingredients run you away. It is just another stir-fried dish but it is considered a national dish of Thailand.