Daily Archives: September 25, 2010

Mark Bittman’s Pad Thai

This is delicious and tastes about as close as I’ve come to recreating restaurant-quality Thai food. I used real tamarind, real fish sauce and everything else. But there was still something missing – MSG? More cooking oil? That smoky char you get from cooking on a huge wok? Still, even the next day, it was damn good. And it made about 50 pounds of noodles flavored with the tangy tamarind, the crunch of sprouts and peanuts and a squeeze of citrus.

This recipe came to me via Twitter, from Mark Bittman’s feed: @bittman. I instantly went to the local Asian market for tamarind paste, which of course ended with me buying unprocessed tamarind that I had to steep in boiling water and then strain in order to use. I also bought a bunch of huge prawns, the cabbage, sprouts and bottles of authentic soy sauce, rice vinegar and fish sauce that the store owner recommended. Everything cost me about $20.

The mise en place took forever because my shrimp still had their heads, my peanuts needed to be shelled because Harris Teeter doesn’t have any unsalted, and the tamarind needed to soak in hot water. Quite a bit of work on a late Friday night (while the “crack pie” was baking!), but I got to relax with a wonderful meal afterward.

Pad Thai


  • 1 box rice noodles
  • 1/4 c. canola oil
  • 4 T tamarind paste (or packed tamarind soaked in hot water and strained to 4 T)
  • 1/4 c. fish sauce
  • 1/3 c. honey
  • 2 T rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 c. chopped scallions
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 c. shredded Napa cabbage
  • 1 c. bean sprouts
  • 1 lb. peeled, deveined shrimp
  • 1/2 c. roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped
  • 1/4 c. chopped cilantro
  • Lime wedges

Place noodles in boiling water to cover, simmering until just tender, 7-10 min. Drain and drizzle with 1 T oil to keep from sticking.

Meanwhile, put tamarind, fish sauce, honey and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Stir in red pepper flakes and set aside.

Put remaining oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add scallions, then garlic, and cook 1 min. Add eggs, and once they begin to set, scramble until just done. Add cabbage and bean sprouts and continue to cook until cabbage wilts. Add shrimp. When shrimp is pink, add drained noodles and sauce to skillet. Toss everything together and continue to cook so the sauce thickens and coats everything, another 3-5 min.

To serve, sprinkle with peanuts and cilantro and squeeze a little lime over.

Yum, just seeing the pictures again make me hungry! Enjoy, friends! xoxo