Shrimp Pad Thai

Ok, one could argue that I had a severe Pad Thai addiction in college…Needless to say, I love me some good Pad Thai. After a semi-successful vegan pad Thai attempt, I finally tried to create the real thing myself — this Pad Thai tastes even better than what I have had in many the restaurants — and I’ve had my fair share of pad Thai over the years…I got the recipe here, huuuuge success. This one’s for the books!

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Ingredients (serves 3):

8 oz rice noodles
3 scallions, sliced thinly (green and white parts)
1 tsp ginger, grated2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 small head of broccoli, cut into florets
1 cup chopped mushrooms
2 carrots, sliced thinly
12 shrimp, already cooked and de-veined (I’ve also made using tofu instead)
1 lime, cut into wedges
chopped peanuts, for garnish
bean sprouts, for garnish
cilantro, for garnish

For the sauce:
1.5 tbsp tamarind concentrate*
1/4 cup veggie or chicken broth
3 tbsp brown sugar
1-2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1/4-3/4 tsp cayenne (depending on desired heat level)

*You can find tamarind at any asian market. It sometimes comes in a jar where it is already a good consistency for mixing into the sauce. If you buy it in the paste form (it comes as a block), then you have to pour a little bit of boiling water over it and, after letting the water cool a bit, work it with your hands and then strain it. You should end up with a thick smooth liquid.

Directions:
1. Cook the rice noodles according to the package. I soak them in hot water for about 10-15 minutes…The noodles should still be a little aldente, as they will cook more in the pan.
2. While the noodles are softening, heat oil in a large skillet or wok. Add scallions, ginger and garlic and cook for a minute making sure not to burn.
3. Add in the veggies (broccoli, carrots and mushrooms) and cook for another minute, or until veggies are tender but still a little crunchy. Add in the shrimp or tofu and cook for another 30 secs.
4. Push everything around the edges to make room in the center for the eggs. Crack the eggs into the center and whisk around with a fork to mix the yolks and whites. Once eggs are cooked through, mix everything together in the pan.
5. Add the rice noodles to the pan and 1/2 of the sauce. Mix around so that the noodles absorb the sauce. Add the remaining sauce. You can tell when it’s done once most of the sauce is absorbed but not completely absorbed.
6. Serve and garnish with the peanuts, bean sprouts, cilantro, scallion and lime wedges.

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