Recreate your favorite restaurant’s Shrimp Pad Thai recipe in minutes at home with all of the flavor and none of the wait!
The first time I had this meal at a restaurant, I came home determined to find a Shrimp Pad Thai recipe so I could make it at home. See, I’m just not someone who enjoys the “restaurant experience.”
It’s not the noise or the crowds, although I find both irritating. Mostly, I just don’t enjoy dining at someone else’s pace or feeling pressured to wrap up a meal to make room for the next round of hungry patrons.
This dish almost changed my mind, though. It was delicious, with just the right combination of spice and heat, and wonderfully slurpy noodles. From the very first bite, I knew that I’d want to eat it regularly. But when our family’s dining bill came, well, I remembered the other reason I don’t like to eat out.
So, I began my hunt for a good Shrimp Pad Thai recipe. Some called for ketchup or Canola oil. Ketchup? Seriously?! And Canola oil, when sesame would give it a more authentic flavor?
Homemade Shrimp Pad Thai Recipe
Tamarind Paste is Optional
Admittedly, truly Shrimp Pad Thai recipes use tamarind pulp, an ingredient I can’t find in my small Kansas town. If you live in a more cosmopolitan area, you may be able to find it in the store. (I ordered it from Amazon.)
Don’t fret if you can’t get it, though: many Thai restaurants in the States don’t use it, either. Instead, they add tomato paste to get the same color with a little hit of acidity. (Related: Homemade Chili Garlic Sauce.)
The History of Shrimp Pad Thai
Despite its name, Pad Thai originated in China, and it was initially made with rice! Explorers brought it to Thailand where it quickly became popular. Then, during World War II, both war and floods led to a rice shortage in Thailand. Since rice was one of the country’s leading exports, the government encouraged people to use noodles instead.
And thus was born this delicious, noodle-based variation. It’s so popular and well-loved throughout the world that it’s been called one of the world’s most delicious foods. It is also now the National Dish of Thailand.
Although this is already a speedy recipe, you can speed up the prep even more if you want. How can you make this faster?
- Shake the sauce ingredients together in a Mason jar in the morning and pop it into the fridge.
- Defrost the shrimp in 20 minutes by putting them in a bowl of cold water. Change the water halfway through.
This Shrimp Pad Thai recipe stays good up to five days in the refrigerator. It can be frozen, but the noodles will absorb most of the sauce, so you’ll want to make a bit extra to add before serving.
Shrimp Pad Thai
- 8 ounces rice noodles stir-fry style
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste or 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
- 2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce
- 1 to 2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lime juice
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
- 1 lb. shrimp tail off
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 eggs well beaten
- 2 tablespoons unsalted peanuts chopped (optional)
- fresh lime wedges
- fresh basil and/or cilantro leaves chopped
- Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, combine fish sauce, tomato paste, chili garlic sauce, lime juice, and sugar in a small bowl.
- Heat oils in a large skillet. Add shrimp and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently, until the shrimp turn pink. (About 3 minutes.)
- Add sauce mixture and eggs. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
- Add drained noodles and stir until coated with sauce and the shrimp is mixed through. Remove from heat.
- Serve garnished with chopped basil or cilantro, chopped peanuts, and lime wedges on the side.