Thai food is among my favorite ethnic cuisines, offering an ethereal blending of flavors. From sweet coconut milk, to tart lemon grass, spicy hot peppers and salty fish sauce, the flavors of Thai food are subtle and sublime, sweet and spicy.
The pursuit of Thai ingredients used to require a trip to an Oriental market, but today many Thai staples can be found on the shelves of your local supermarket. Pad Thai, a Thai pasta entrée, is among the most common Thai dishes, and the only special ingredient you’ll need is bottled fish sauce. The other ingredients, which include shrimp, sugar, vinegar, red pepper flakes, eggs, green onion, garlic and peanuts, are easily acquired.
While Pad Thai usually is prepared with rice noodles, I’ve substituted the more common linguine. But, feel free to use rice noodles if you find them at your supermarket or want to make a trip to the oriental market. Pad Thai is the perfect example of true Thai flavors. It is subtly sweet, tart and salty all at once. Traditional Pad Thai recipes call for cooked chicken or roast pork in place of or along with the shrimp. And, bean sprouts are often tossed in with the Pad Thai before serving.
A salad of sliced cucumbers tossed with seasoned rice vinegar (which can be found with the other vinegars in most supermarkets) is the perfect accompaniment. Ripe mangos, either on their own or with vanilla ice cream would make a nice dessert.
- 1/2 pound linguine
- 1/4 cup Thai fish sauce
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 green onions, sliced into 1-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
- 1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Roasted peanuts, finely chopped, for garnish
Cook linguine according to package directions, drain and set aside.
Combine fish sauce, granulated sugar, vinegar, paprika and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallions, garlic, and shrimp and saute until shrimp turn pink, 2 to 4 minutes. Add eggs and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute or until cooked. Add linguine and fish sauce mixture and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with chopped peanuts.
Makes 4 servings.