Date Night Dinners - Wok-less Pad Thai

5/01/2015 tringel 0 Comments

We've made our own pasta, we've redeemed ourselves with a sweet and decadent passover dessert, and we've learned the secret to making a flakey, buttery popover pop. But, we are still anything but pros. Every time we try a new recipe, we grow more confident in a our skills. But every time we search for a recipe to make, we pass up a few because we think it is beyond our skill level. Not this week.

I have been dying to make pad thai. It is my go to at any Asian restaurant that doesn't have sushi (and even some that do). It is such a flavorful dish and always lasts me for days, but going out to buy food isn't always on my list of things to do. Especially when there is laying on my couch, binge watching Pretty Little Liars to be done.

If only I could cook up a big batch of pad thai and have it available to eat during any day of the week... And from there the idea flared. I began pinning different recipes for homemade pad thai that looked and sounded delicious but not to intimidating. I went to the Asain market and bought the ingredients I didn't have on hand (specifically, fish sauce and rice noodles). And then I waited. And waited. For some reason I was still too intimidated to actually make it.

A week went by and the ingredients were still tucked away, only to be seen during a quick stare down as they pleaded with me to be taken out of the pantry and used, instead of the box of LIFE cereal (that is now gone) I was going for. I told Brenden we should make pad thai for date night. He had never tried it, but the tablespoon of sriracha sauce the recipe called for ensured his okay on the recipe.

So, it was settled, we would make pad thai for the next week's date night dinner. That week came and went, with a success, but no pad thai. And then the next, and the next. We were either too busy, too tired, or too convinced we wouldn't be able to pull it off. That is until last week. We had made our own pasta after all, surely we could make a sauce to go with pasta. We were making pad thai; there was no more delaying it.

After last week, we were so confident in our "chef-ing" skills that Brenden was even determined to make our rice noodles from scratch. Yea, that lasted about five minutes; just enough time for me to measure out the special flours and then pour them right back into the bag to go into the pantry. We realized we didn't have the proper tools to follow the recipe properly. But I was okay with that. Better to keep our first trial of pad thai simple; it had taken me months to work up the courage to get this far, no need to complicate things. Plus, I had already bought the rice noodles, you know two months ago when I was first determined to make pad thai.

I was excited, after months of waiting I was finally going to be able to try my hand at homemade pad thai, free of a delivery fee. That alone would make the dish taste great. Free = great tasting no matter what - although technically the meal still wasn't free - but we can get into technicalities later.

We boiled the noodles, we cooked the shrimp, we mixed the sauce. I was anxious. Would I like it? Would Brenden like it? I didn't want to turn him off of pad thai on his first experience of the dish. It was one of the spiciest pad thai's I have ever eaten, but I loved it. And so did Brenden. "We have to make this again!" Brenden exclaimed after his first few bites. And, I assured him this was definitely going on our list of repeat offenders. We both continued to enjoy our portions throughout the evening. But, if it wasn't for my mouth feeling like it was going to fall off from the spiciness*, it would have been gone in only a few quick inhales.

*Brenden claimed the pad thai did not taste spicy, so don't be deterred by the spice level, it all depends on your taste. Plus, it is completely and very easily adjustable - add more sugar or less spice if you you like it less spicy or add more spice if you are immune to spice, like Brenden.

Shrimp Pad Thai
Recipe adapted from, Chicken Pad Thai

  • 1-12 oz package rice noodles
  • 2 Tbsp + 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 lb frozen shrimp, thawed, peeled, and de-vained
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 green onions plus extra for garnish, chopped
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha or your favorite hot chili sauce
  • 1.5 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1/4 salted peanuts for garnish, chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 fresh lime plus extra for garnish if desired
  1. Cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions.
  2. Drain and set aside.
  3. Heat 2 Tbsp vegetable oil in a very large skillet (or wok if you have one) over medium heat.
  4. Saute the shrimp, garlic, and green onions until shrimp is fully cooked.
  5. Remove and set aside.
  6. In a small bowl mix together the fish sauce, red wine vinegar, Sriracha, crushed red pepper, cayenne pepper, and sugar to make the pad thai sauce.
  7. In the same large skillet (or wok) add the remaining 1/4 cup of vegetable oil and heat over medium high.
  8. Crack the eggs into the hot oil and cook completely, until firm.
  9. Stir in the prepared shrimp mixture, rice noodles and pad thai sauce.
  10. Mix until everything is well combined and coated in the sauce. The noodles should be tender.
  11. Add in the bean sprouts and lime juice.
  12. Combine and heat for 3-5 more minutes, until everything is heated through and mixed well.
  13. Plate and garnish with peanuts, green onions, and lime if desired.
  14. Enjoy! 

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