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It’s safe to say that making homemade pad Thai could be life changing. Planned correctly, the whole dish comes together in about 30 minutes and tastes infinitely better than takeout. The noodles and fish sauce can be found in the international foods aisle of grocery stores or at Asian markets.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (7 oz./220 g) dry flat rice noodles, 1/4 inch (6 mm)
      wide
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) Asian fish sauce
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1/2 lb. (250 g) medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups (4 oz./120 g) bean sprouts
  • 4 Tbs. (1 oz./30 g) unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped
  • 4 Tbs. (3/4 oz./20 g) thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup  (3/4 oz./20 g) chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup (1/3 oz./10 g) chopped fresh mint

Directions:

Bring a saucepan three-fourths full of water to a rolling boil over high heat, then remove from the heat. Drop the noodles into the water and stir well. Let the noodles stand until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain well.

In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, lime juice and sugar and stir with a fork to dissolve the sugar. Set aside.

Warm a wok or large fry pan over high heat, then swirl in the canola oil. Add the shrimp, garlic and red pepper flakes and stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in the eggs and cook, without stirring, until lightly set, about 30 seconds, then stir well to scramble the eggs with the shrimp. Add the fish sauce mixture and drained noodles and cook, lifting and stirring the noodles constantly, until the ingredients are well blended, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup (2 oz./60 g) of the bean sprouts, 2 Tbs. of the peanuts and 2 Tbs. of the green onions and cook, stirring, until heated through and evenly distributed, about 1 minute more.

Transfer the noodles to a platter. Garnish with the cilantro, mint, and the remaining bean sprouts, peanuts and green onions. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Ingredient demystified—fish sauce: If you’ve never used fish sauce before, don’t be alarmed by the smell. Right out of the bottle, it’s stinky stuff, but it adds surprising depth of flavor to dishes. In Southeast Asia, they use fish sauce in the same way Westerners use salt, both as a cooking seasoning and at the table. The liquid ranges from amber to dark brown.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Cook Good Food (Weldon Owen, 2014).