A few weeks ago I was blog hopping and I came across this post from one of my favorite blogs, Dinner a Love Story, and I identified with Jenny for a couple of reasons. First, I rarely, if ever, follow a recipe to a T. I am always editing things or substituting things because I never menu plan unless I'm hosting a party. I fly by the seat of my pants every night and I can not tell you what I am making for dinner most nights until I start cutting up the onions. Secondly, I have always loved a good personal challenge. So the idea of Dinner Party cum Personal Challenge sounds like a great idea. I'm going to make it a goal to do that very soon. When I do I will definitely let you know about it.
Until then I can only tell you that I did copy her and I made the same Pad Thai recipe that she blogged about in that post. I happened to find myself next door to the Super H Asian Market the very next day, and I took it as a sign that I was supposed to make this Pad Thai recipe as well. I got every single ingredient on my list and set to work making pad thai from scratch that night. It turned out a delightfully flavorful, yet light, pad thai. It had great depth of flavor from the tamarind paste, red chilis, and pickled radish. To my surprise the kids even devoured it...although, if they had smelled that pickled radish they may not have been so willing! If you live near an Asian Market, and you like pad thai, I would suggest that you try this recipe. It was pretty awesome.
Here is my version from the second time I made it. I increased it to serve 4 people, omitted the tofu, and simplified the process and the results were still terrific.
10-12 ounces pad thai noodles (rice noodles)
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 Tablespoons pickled radish, rinsed and chopped
2 cups brean sprouts
1/2 cup tamarind water (I mixed wet tamarind with water and then pressed it through a sieve)
4-5 Tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 cup simple syrup, made with palm sugar*
1 teaspoon ground dried thai chiles
1 large handful of garlic chives cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 cup crushed peanuts
In a large bowl, place the noodles and cover with boiling water. Soak for 5-8 minutes, until tender but not mushy, drain. Heat oil in a large saute pan or wok. Add eggs and stir briefly. Cook for 30 seconds and then add the shrimp. Cook 2-3 minutes or until pink. Add radish and noodles and cook 1 minute more. Add all remaining ingredients, except lime. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes or until the noodles have been coated and then serve. Garnish with more peanuts and lime juice.
* Heat equal amounts of water with palm sugar and bring to a boil. Whisk until dissolved and slightly thickened.