Western Pennsylvania is not known for a huge Thai community. It may exist, for all I know, but my first introduction to Thai food came when I lived in the Washington D.C. area. My education continued with greater ferocity once I moved here to Seattle, where several Thai restaurants are found in every neighborhood. In fact, there are three within walking distance from where I currently sit.
The first dish ordered? Phad thai, likely at the suggestion of someone else.
This recipe, found in the book Noodle by Terry Durack, tastes like Phad Thai, but feels as if it is missing something. What, I don’t know. My guess is Rice Vinegar. But it is still quite good and worth your time to consider.
- 6 oz. rice sticks
- 1/4 cup peanut oil
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 7 oz. small shrimp, peeled and pre-cooked
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 2 Tbsps. Fish Sauce(nam plau)
- 2 Tbsps. roasted Peanuts, chopped
- 2 Tbsps. dried shrimp, ground to a powder
- 1 Tbsp. ketchup
- 1 Tbsp. lime juice
- 1 Tbsp. pickled Thai radish, minced
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 dried chiles, ground to a powder
- 3 Tbsps. Cilantro, chopped
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
Bring a stock pot full of water up to 200 degrees F. Soak the rice sticks in the hot water for fifteen minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. Drain again and set aside the noodles for later use.
Place a wok over high heat and add peanut oil. Bring to temperature before adding shallots. When the shallots gain a light golden color, add the garlic, cooking for one minute. Add the eggs, and allow to set in the wok, until any whites start to solidify. Then scramble the eggs lightly before adding the noodles that had been earlier set aside. Work in the eggs into the noodles by tossing the noodles in the wok.
Then add the shrimp, 1/2 of the bean sprouts, green onions, fish sauce, 1 tablespoon of the peanuts, 1 tablespoon of the dried shrimp powder, ketchup, lime juice, thai radish, sugar, and chile powder. Stir together until all ingredients are heated through.
Transfer the noodles to a large serving dish, and top with the remaining bean sprouts, dried fish powder, and roasted peanuts, as well as the cilantro. Serve with the sliced limes.