This delicious recipe would make a perfect weeknight meal, and Jess from Cook Smarts says it’s surprising easy to make at home. Here’s how…

The Best Pad Thai You’ll Ever Have
By Jess Dang of Cook Smarts

Shrimp Pad Thai was definitely the first Thai dish I ever experienced, and I fell absolutely in love with it. Whenever I ate at a Thai restaurant, I always told myself, order something different this time, but inevitably, I’d end up getting the Shrimp Pad Thai. I’m sure a lot of people can relate.

After spending many hundreds of dollars on this dish over the years, I finally decided I should try to make it at home—and I was happy to discover that it was relatively easy to replicate in my own kitchen. The recipe below has condensed Shrimp Pad Thai down to the essentials—tasty shrimp, al dente noodles, and a tasty sauce—which makes it perfect for the everyday home cook. Fish sauce and tamarind paste are classic Thai pantry staples. If they’re not available in your regular grocery store, see if you can find an Asian grocer nearby.

Recipe: Shrimp Pad Thai
Serves 4

You’ll need:
8 oz. Pad Thai noodles
3 tbsp. canola oil
1 lb. frozen peeled, tail-on shrimp
1 bunch green onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
2-4 eggs, whisked
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp. brown sugar
3 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. tamarind paste (optional)
1 limes

What to do:

Place noodles in a large bowl and pour 6 cups of boiling water over the noodles. Give the noodles a stir and then let them sit in the hot water for about 5 to 8 minutes. This will be enough time to get them softened but not soggy. Drain and set aside. (I usually toss the noodles with about 1 tbsp. of oil to keep them from sticking.)

While waiting for the noodles, defrost shrimp in a bowl of lukewarm water. Drain them after 15 to 20 minutes and dry with some paper towels.

Meanwhile get your the other ingredients ready: chop green onions, keeping green and white parts separate; mince garlic; chop peanuts, and whisk eggs.

Next mix together the sauce. Combine stock, sugar, fish and soy sauces, tamarind paste and minced garlic. Marinate shrimp in about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the sauce.

Now it’s time to put all the ingredients together. Heat a wok over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp. oil and then shrimp to heated oil. Be careful to drop the shrimp in as close as you can to the wok to prevent spattering. Sear shrimp for about 2 to 3 minutes on both sides until you get a beautiful caramelization. Remove shrimp from pan and set aside.

Return wok back to medium-high heat and add remaining tbsp. of oil. Add in the chopped white parts of the green onion with a dash of salt. Pour in whisked eggs and scramble lightly for about 30 seconds. Push them to the side of the wok and then add noodles. Pour in remainder of the sauce and toss your noodles with tongs and get them completely coated in your sauce. Once the noodles have absorbed all the sauce, add the shrimp back along with the green parts of the green onions and juice from half a lime.

Toss everything together and then taste! If it needs more sweetness, add more brown sugar; if it needs more salt, add fish or soy sauce; if it needs more tanginess, add more tamarind paste. Once you get it exactly to your liking, serve piping hot with chopped peanuts and extra lime wedges. (For a how-to video taking you through the steps of this meal, click here.)

Thanks, Jess! If you’re looking for simple dinner ideas, check out Jess’s weekly meal plan service and health and cooking program for home cooks. She’s awesome!

P.S. More best recipes, including crispy fish tacos and Thai-inspired brussel sprouts.

(Photos and recipe by Jess Dang of Cook Smarts. Thanks to Shoko for helping with this series.)