Mark Bittman, of the NYTimes just did a pad thai recipe. Now, I love him (and his opening to his cooking videos - tee he he), but sometimes you gotta put in just a taaad more love than he does. So, I made just a few adjustments that I think make all the difference. I started out just making it as he suggests, but it was under-spiced, there weren't enough noodles and the sauce was way too watery. I think I have come up with a great pad thai recipe. And the ingredients seem a bit daunting - fish sauce and tamarind concentrate - but once you get them, you'll have them as a go-to. I love pad thai, but I think I might be pad thai'd out, considering I've eaten it for like 4 meals this week - hah!
12 oz thick rice noodles (if you can only find thin ones, then just use fettuccine pasta... it sounds so weird and unauthentic, but the shape/texture of the noodle is key in pad thai)
1/4 C tamarind concentrate
1/4 C fish sauce (Mark Bittman has it dead on... smells like old socks, tastes wonderful)
3 TBSP palm sugar (or regular if that's all you got)
2 TBSP rice vinegar
2 tsp arrowroot (optional thickener)
Red pepper flakes to taste ... I used ~2 tsp for spicy
2 TBSP + 1 tsp peanut oil
4 cloves garlic
1 bunch of scallions, chopped on a bias
1/2 block of tofu, cut into 1/2" cubes
2 C shredded nappa cabbage
2 C mung bean sprouts
1/2 lb shrimps
1/4 C chopped mint
1/4 C chopped cilantro
1/4 C chopped peanuts
Cook the noodles according to package direction, toss w 1 tsp peanut oil and set aside.
In a large wok over high heat, saute the garlic and scallions in 2 TBSP peanut oil for 1 minute. Add the tofu and egg and cook for 30 seconds or so (remember, this is a quick go-to). Add the rest of the veggies and cook until they are all slightly wilted (5-8 minutes). Add the shrimp and sauce and cook for another 4 minutes or until the shrimp are cooked through.
Transfer to a bowl and top with cilantro, mint and peanuts.