Shrimp pad thai, and a parable

Remember a few weeks back when I promised to share a recipe for zoodle pad thai? No? Good, because this is not that recipe.


I did intend to make zoodle pad thai. I even bought the zucchinis. But then I had an open jar of tomato sauce that I needed to use and ate zoodles in tomato sauce three days in a row for lunch until I never wanted to see another zoodle again in my life.

So that’s why this is a recipe for normal pad thai, not that you probably mind or care in the slightest.


It’s also simple to make, delicious and gluten free so I think we all actually win here.

And while the ingredients together cost around $15, more or less what it costs to order pad thai delivery, consider the parable of the Ikea table: something about making it yourself makes it so much better.


Here’s how the parable goes: you buy a $30 table from Ikea. You spend 6 hours building it, huffing and puffing and misreading the instructions and cursing the Swedish. But once it’s done you have this beautiful, miraculous thing that you built with your own two hands!


And so you lug that crappy Ikea table from apartment to apartment to eventual house in the suburbs until finally, 30 years from now, when the kids have moved out and you’re turning their room into a yoga studio/weaving room/walk-in closet, that table will end up on the curb for someone else to love.

That’s how it is with this pad thai, except hopefully you’ll eat it all right away because I don’t think it’ll keep for more than a few days in the fridge.



Shrimp pad thai
(Adapted from Rasa Malaysia)

Serves 3-4

8 oz package rice noodles*
2 tablespoons oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 shelled and deveined shrimp**
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Just under 1 cup bean sprouts***
2 tablespoons chopped chives or scallion

For the sauce:
3 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons water

To top (optional but highly recommended):
Roughly chopped peanuts
Lime wedges

*: Annie Chun makes rice noodles specifically for pad thai
**: If you’re planning on eating this for multiple days, I recommend only cooking the number of shrimp you want to eat right away. Seafood safety people!
***: My grocery store didn’t have bean sprouts so I used snap peas and was pleased with the results.

Cook the rice noodles according to the package directions. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water until the noodles are cool. Drain and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Add the garlic and fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the shrimp and cook until they change from grey to pink and are starting to brown, then flip and cook the other side.

Add cooked noodles and stir continuously for 30 seconds. Use a spatula to push all the ingredients to one side of the wok or skillet. Add the eggs and let cook for about 1 minute or until the bottom sets.

Fold the noodles over the eggs, and then add in the sauce. Stir continuously until everything is well combined. Add the bean sprouts, chives and stir to mix.

Then, let it sit undisturbed for 1 minute to let everything come together. Turn off the heat and serve hot, topped with peanuts and cilantro, and lime wedges on the side.

Shrimp pad thai: 

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