Shrimp Pad Thai

Serves 4
Pad thai, right at the top of any Thai menu’s noodle section, is everyone’s favorite, with its sweet, salty, sour, and hot flavors—plus the “cold flavor” from the crunchy bean sprouts. My son Calder says that whenever you try a new Thai take-out place, you’ve got to order the pad thai as a barometer of the spot. Embrace the unusual ingredients here. Learn about Asian pantry items (see page 16) and you can replicate the best versions of your favorite dishes at home over and over.


  • 8 ounces pad thai noodles (flat rice noodles)
  • 3/4 cup tamarind juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup chopped Thai palm sugar
  • 6 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha
  • 1/2 cup safflower oil
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 5 scallions, cut lengthwise into 2-inch pieces, bulbs halved lengthwise
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 ounces fried tofu, thinly sliced
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten


  • Lime wedges
  • Cilantro sprigs
  • Sriracha
  • Bean sprouts
  • Roasted unsalted peanuts


  1. Soak noodles in warm water for 30 minutes. Drain in a colander and cover with damp paper towels until ready to use.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine tamarind juice, soy sauce, palm sugar, fish sauce, and Sriracha. Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar is dissolved and remove from heat.
  3. Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, carefully add half the shallots and fry, stirring frequently, until shallots are golden brown. Transfer shallots to paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  4. Raise heat to high and add remaining shallots, scallions, and shrimp. Cook, stirring constantly, just until shrimp are opaque and firm to the touch, 2 minutes. Remove to a plate, reserving oil in wok.
  5. Add tofu to wok and cook to heat through, 1 minute, and transfer to plate with shrimp.
  6. Add eggs to wok and cook, stirring constantly, just until eggs are set but still wet, 1 minute, and transfer to plate with shrimp and tofu.
  7. Add sauce to wok and bring to a boil. Stir in noodles and cook until noodles are hot, 2 minutes. Return shrimp, tofu, and eggs to wok and stir to combine. Serve immediately with garnishes.
cook's note
I grew up in a central-casting white-bread suburb, where Chinese takeout was considered kind of exotic. Mung bean sprouts were featured in many of the dishes. (Did you know cellophane noodles are made from the starch extracted from mung bean sprouts?) They make a great side dish.

NUTSHELL RECIPE: bean sprouts two ways
Sauté 3 cups sprouts over high heat with 1 tablespoon minced ginger and 2 cloves minced garlic. Or toss fresh sprouts in a dressing of equal parts vinegar and soy sauce, ¼ teaspoon sesame oil, and a pinch of sugar—superb on a chilled salad.
Need help with the ingredients? Check our pantry list: