The recipe and photography for this post was provided by Carolyn Hodges of The Dinner Shift.
Pad Thai on a weeknight, no take-out necessary! This easy, approachable recipe comes together in about 30 minutes using familiar ingredients. Traditional Pad Thai calls for tamarind paste, but to minimize extra ingredients I’m showing you how to make a flavorful Pad Thai sauce using ketchup (trust me!) and a few other pantry staples as an alternative.
In my opinion, two ingredients are key to a really good Pad Thai: fish sauce and brown sugar. These help to build that savory-sweet and slightly sticky sauce that is characteristic of this beloved noodle dish. While I’m an advocate of allowing all foods including sugar in moderation, I’ll admit I’ve attempted to cut back on it when making Pad Thai at home. The result? A really mediocre Pad Thai. Stick with the sugar and savor every satisfying bite!
Oh, about the fish sauce – quality matters here. I’ve become a fast fan of Red Boat Fish Sauce, which is the purest, most authentic fish sauce you’ll find. Imported from Vietnam, Red Boat Fish Sauce is made with two ingredients – anchovies and sea salt – no preservatives or fillers. It’s really worth trying. Find it at Heinen’s in the International Foods Aisle.
I’m using shrimp in this recipe, but you could easily swap in cubed tofu or cubed chicken breast (you’ll need to cook the chicken longer than instructed below to reach the safe internal temperature of 165°F).
Shrimp Pad Thai
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
For the Pad Thai
- 8 oz. Pad Thai rice noodles
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 2 eggs, scrambled
- 1 lb. peeled deveined shrimp, tails removed
- 1 red bell pepper, very thinly sliced
- 1 cup matchstick carrots
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/3 cup sliced green onions
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup crushed peanuts, plus more to serve
- 1 lime
For the Sauce
- 1/4 cup Red Boat Fish Sauce
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp. ketchup
- 3 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. reduced-sodium tamari (or soy sauce)
- Prepare rice noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse well under cold running water; drain again and set aside.
- In a jar or bowl, combine all of the sauce ingredients and whisk well to mix; set aside.
- Heat 1 tsp. of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium heat. Once hot, add eggs and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until scrambled and cooked through. Transfer eggs to a large bowl.
- Add 1 tsp. of olive oil to the pan followed by the shrimp. Sauté for 3-5 minutes, stirring often, or until just cooked through. Transfer to the bowl with the cooked eggs.
- Heat the remaining tsp. of olive oil in the same pan and add the bell pepper and carrots. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Toss in the cooked noodles, green onions and sauce and mix well until sauce is heated through. Fold in the cooked shrimp, scrambled eggs, cilantro and peanuts. Season with juice from ½ a lime. Cut remaining lime half into wedges. Serve Pad Thai in bowls topped with extra crushed peanuts and a lime wedge.