I’m not the jealous type. Never have been. But if I’m really honest, I must admit that I’m a wee bit jealous of my niece and her boyfriend. Off they went this morning, backpacks stuffed with lightweight travel clothes, camera equipment, a guidebook or two, and their passports for a month-long backpacking trip to Thailand. They’re heading everywhere from the bustling capital city of Bangkok, to historical Chiang Mai adjacent to the spectacular mountains of northern Thailand, to the beautiful beaches of Phuket – the most famous of the Thailand Islands. Well, I wanted a taste of Thailand too, so I decided to drown my wanderlust sorrows in this Authentic Pad Thai Recipe. And I added shrimp for good measure.
[bctt tweet=”Thailand offers beautiful food and beautiful beaches! It all begins with Pad Thai… ” via=”no”]Pad Thai is typically sold throughout Thailand by street vendors and is usually made with some soft rice noodles, a bit of egg, fish sauce, chopped peanuts, and tamarind, among other things. What is tamarind, you ask? (’cause that’s what I asked…) Basically, it’s a sour-sweet-fruit/bean-like paste substance with a very strong flavor that’s used in many Indian dishes. It is also commonly used in Pad Thai. (Here’s a bunch more info about tamarind from the Huffington Post if you’re interested.) It can be a bit hard to find, though, so if you’re in a pinch you can mix equal parts brown sugar and lime juice. I’ve found it best to plan ahead and order the tamarind online. It’s cheap and it keeps pretty much forever!
While an authentic Pad Thai recipe often features tofu as the source of protein, many street vendors in Thailand use shrimp, crab, chicken, or other vegetables. Interestingly, they tend to shy away from pork because they don’t want the dish to take on a “Chinese flavor.” (Some historians do actually credit the Chinese for the creation of Pad Thai. So, who knows…?)
All I know is that as I’m sitting here writing this, my niece and her boyfriend are taking in all the sights, sounds, and smells of Thailand – street vendors and all. And I’m guessing they’re having all kinds of Pad Thai (and perhaps drinking a Siam Sunray or two). I admire the two of them – jumping on a plane, heading halfway around the world to a place where they don’t speak the language, know the culture, or even know where they’re going to stay – barely a plan in their hands or heads. But I’m sure they’re heading for an experience of a lifetime. In the end, I’m not actually jealous. Just a bit envious, perhaps. I can’t wait to hear about the beautiful beaches, the fantastic food, the exciting nightlife, as well as the trials and tribulations that are inherent with a trip like this. Oh to be twenty-something….
Until you get your chance to fly off to Thailand, this authentic Pad Thai Recipe is a delicious and easy way to bring the rich flavors and aromas of Thailand to your kitchen. Share this with someone who wants to take a trip somewhere far, far away. (Or Pin it, or Yum it, Or Tweet it! 🙂 )
- 1 Package Rice Noodles, Usually comes in a 7 oz. package
- 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
- 1/2 Cup Tamarind Paste, Can use equal parts brown sugar and lime juice, but it's not as good
- 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
- 2 Cloves garlic, Minced
- 1 Pound Shrimp, Peeled and Deveined
- 1 Egg, Lightly beaten
- 1/2 Cup Peanuts, Crushed
- 1/2 Cup Bean Sprouts
- 2 Tablespoons FreshChopped Cilantro
- 1 lime, Cut into wedges for garnish
- Cook rice noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
- In a small bowl combine rice vinegar, olive oil, fish sauce, and tamarind paste. Mix well and set aside.
- Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add vegetable oil and garlic and cook for one minute. Add shrimp and cook until the shrimp barely turn pink (about 2 minutes). Do not overcook the shrimp. Push shrimp aside in wok and add egg. Scramble for about a minute then combine the shrimp and egg.
- Turn heat down to low and add vinegar mixture. Mix well and heat through. Add noodles, combine well, and heat through. Top with peanuts, cilantro, and bean sprouts. Serve in bowls with a lime wedge garnish. Sit back and enjoy and dream about getting on a plane to Thailand!