Birthdays are a big deal for me so I cooked this Pad Thai Noodles with Shrimps in Tamarind Sauce. I love to celebrate our family’s birthdays. My son, Constante celebrates his birthday today. Constante has co-authored a history book with my husband and me on the late Philippine President Elpidio Quirino (Amazon.com). He lives on his own, carving his career as a digital content writer and e-commerce director. But I never fail to remind my sons to be sure to eat noodles for ‘long life’ on their birthdays.
I reminded my son of how he cooked a Pad Thai noodle dish for me a while ago on my own birthday. So, I revisited the recipe in “Simply Vegetarian Thai Cooking” by my good friend, Nancie McDermott, a prolific cookbook author.
Filipinos love Thai-inspired dishes because of the similarity we have in flavors, cuisine and culture. In fact, the Philippines is only a few hours away by plane from Thailand, geographically in Asia. So it is not unusual to see an abundance of Thai dishes in restaurant menus or our homes.
The base of this noodle stir fry is the tamarind sauce. I buy a block of solid concentrated tamarind from the Asian markets and each time I cook different dishes, I cut off a square inch or two, soften it with hot water and use this tangy, sour flavoring to add a special savory dimension to the dish.
This recipe is called Paht Thai by author Nancie McDermott in her cookbook. She explained the noodle dish’s origins: “In Thailand most noodle dishes have clear Chinese origins. This is a Thai invention of seasonings that marry sweet with sour and salty with hot spice in a way Thais adore.”
The author described the full name of the dish as kwaytiow Paht Thai; the first word means noodles and Paht means to stir-fry.”
I agree with what Nancie said that the word Thai in recipes creates images for me of tamarind, sugar, peanuts, noodles, lime and bird’s eye chilies (siling labuyo to Filipinos) in this dish and several other Thai-inspired dishes.
So twirl those noodles and dig into this incredibly amazing stir fry. You don’t even have to wait for a birthday to happen.
Enjoy this today and Happy Birthday, Toby!
Pad Thai Noodles with Shrimps in Tamarind Sauce
- Large wok or skillet : 12 to 14 inches in diameter
- 4 oz. dried rice noodles (preferably wide for Pad Thai ) about 2 cups when cooked and expands to larger sizes
- 1/2 pound fresh uncooked shrimps washed, deveined, peeled, tails removed
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice divided, use 1 Tablespoon to marinate shrimps, rest for noodles fresh lime juice
- 8 oz. extra firm tofu cook whole block, then cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 whole eggs beaten
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 cloves garlic peeled, chopped
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable broth add more if noodles get dry
- 1 square inch tamarind pulp from solid block or use 2 Tablespoons liquid concentrate, from Asian markets or online sources
- 1 Tablespoon patis (fish sauce)
- 1 Tablespoon granulated white sugar
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup crushed dry roasted unsalted peanuts
- 1/2 cup pineapple chunks fresh or canned (drain liquid)
- 2 cups shredded bok choy Chinese cabbage
- 2 stalks scallions sliced thin, for garnish
- Set aside and soak in water the amount of dried rice noodles to be used. I used thin bihon noodles. *Note: if using the dried rice noodles, pre-soak in water for 5 to 10 minutes. Do not over-soak noodles longer than this time or they will stick solidly together. I used dried rice noodles bihon for this recipe. The author used wide rice noodles in the cookbook recipe.
- Pre-marinate fresh shrimps in lime juice for ten minutes. Set aside.
- In a large wok or skillet, over medium high heat, add vegetable oil. Pan fry the solid block of firm tofu for ten minutes. Turn tofu only once so it does not break. When edges are brown, remove from pan and place tofu on parchment paper to remove excess oil. Cut in one-inch square cubes and set tofu aside.
- Using the same wok or skillet, add the beaten egg. Spread the egg around the pan by tilting it. The egg cooks in about 2 to 3 minutes. When cooked, remove from pan and place on a plate. Slice in strips. Set aside.
- In the same wok or skillet, add the garlic. When garlic is brown, add the vegetable stock, tamarind concentrate, fish sauce, sugar, soy sauce. Stir and allow the solid tamarind cube to melt into the liquid.
- Add the fresh shrimps to the tamarind mixture. Stir around so flavors blend.
- Add sliced bok choy and stir into the shrimp-tamarind mixture. The green leafy vegetable cooks in 5 minutes. Add the pineapple cubes.
- Place the pre-soaked rice noodles into the mixture. Mix the entire dish well so liquid coats the noodles and shrimps are well distributed.
- Place the tofu cubes and egg strips on top of noodles. Garnish with sliced green onions and crushed peanuts. Sprinkle lime juice all over just before serving.
- Cook's comments: The original recipe calls for bean sprouts and hot pepper flakes. I did not use it at this time. Feel free to add bean sprouts and hot pepper flakes if preferred.
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Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
Did you like this recipe?I have more Filipino Instant Pot recipes in my newest cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Cooking in A Multicooker Pot by Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino. I also have more classic recipes inspired by my mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
Copyright Notice: Hello, Friends! Please DO NOT LIFT OR PLAGIARIZE my original recipe, stories, photos or videos. All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos, essays, stories and recipe content on your websites, books, films, television shows, videos, without my permission. If you wish to republish this recipe or content on media outlets mentioned above, please ASK MY PERMISSION, or re-write it in your own words and link back to my blog AsianInAmericaMag.com to give proper attribution. It is the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]