Pad Thai

Pad ThaiFake healthy? Probably. But switching out traditional rice noodles for brown rice noodles makes me feel better about eating loads of pad thai.

Some recipes call for dried shrimp, palm sugar, salted cabbage, or preserved radish. That’s really great if you have it around. But I didn’t — and scouring grocery stores for tamarind paste and fish sauce on a Monday night was more than enough foraging for me.

Try to do all your food prep before firing up your wok or cast-iron pan. Things move rather quickly after the first scallions hit the flames!

Pad Thai, up close.

Pad Thai
Adapted from a recipe by Alton Brown

Ingredients:
1-ounce seedless tamarind paste
3/4 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 pound wild-caught shrimp, shelled and deveined
4 ounces brown rice stick noodles
6 ounces firm organic tofu
1 to 2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 cup chopped scallions, divided
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 whole pasture-raised eggs, beaten
3 ounces bean sprouts, divided
1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts, chopped, divided
2 limes, cut into wedges

Place the tamarind paste in the boiling water and set aside while preparing the other ingredients.

Combine the fish sauce, sugar, and rice wine vinegar in a small bowl and set aside.

Place the rice stick noodles in a mixing bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Once the other ingredients are measured out into separate bowls, drain the water from the noodles and set them aside. Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch wide strips.

Place a wok or cast-iron pan over high heat. Once hot, add 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil. Heat until it shimmers, then add the tofu. Cook the tofu until golden brown, moving constantly, for no longer than 1 minute. Remove the tofu from the pan to a small bowl and set aside.

If necessary, add some more peanut oil to the pan and heat until shimmering. Add 2/3 of the scallions and then the garlic, cook for 10 to 15 seconds. Add the eggs to the pan; once the eggs begin to set up, about 15 to 20 seconds, stir to scramble. Add the remaining ingredients in the following order and toss after each addition: noodles, sauces, shrimp, and 2/3 of the bean sprouts and peanuts. Toss everything until heated through, but no longer than 1 to 2 minutes total. Transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with the remaining scallions, bean sprouts, and peanuts. Serve immediately with lime wedges.

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