My Recipe Box

Quick Shrimp Pad Thai


Serves 2

  • To learn more, read:
    Rice Noodle Stir-Fries
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 77

The method in this tasty pad thai is dead simple. You don't need a super high-powered wok burner; you don't even need a wok. And even though Thai noodle dishes in restaurants often include hard-to-find ingredients like bamboo shoots or Thai basil, you won't need them here; your local supermarket should have everything you need.

  • 3 oz. dried wide (pad thai) rice noodles
  • 2 Tbs. fish sauce
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp. chile-garlic sauce (such as Lee Kum Kee brand)
  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 6 oz. medium shrimp (51 to 60 per lb.), peeled and deveined (to yield 1 cup)
  • 1 4-oz. can fire-roasted whole green chiles (such as Ortega brand), drained and sliced into long, very thin slivers (to yield 1/2 cup)
  • 1-1/2 cups bean sprouts
  • 2 Tbs. crushed unsalted roasted peanuts
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 10 mint leaves, torn into small pieces
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges for serving

Submerge wide (pad thai) rice noodles in a bowl of very warm (110°F) water and soak until they’re pliable but still rather firm, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prep the rest of the ingredients. Drain the noodles in a colander (no need to pat dry).

In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, sugar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and chile-garlic sauce.

Once the noodles are drained, heat the oil in a large (12-inch) skillet or stir-fry pan over high heat until very hot. Add the garlic, stir, and immediately add the shrimp. Stir-fry until the shrimp turn pink and firm, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the fish sauce mixture. Stir to mix for about 20 seconds, then add the chile slivers and the noodles. Stir-fry until the noodles are tender and the liquid is absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes. If the noodles are too firm, add 1 Tbs. of water and cook another minute. Add the bean sprouts and stir-fry until they’re slightly limp, 1 to 2 min. Transfer to a serving platter or individual plates, and garnish with the peanuts, cilantro, and mint. Serve immediately, with lime wedges on the side.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with a Honeydew-Cucumber Shake for dessert.

Photo: Scott Phillips

I made it. I loved it. Just made a few simple changes. One of the previous commentors wrote that she left out the cilantro. Unless you hate cilantro- don't do that. The cilantro adds great flavor and it plays of the flavors in the sauce.

It was easy and the flavors are there but way too salty. Maybe it's the large amount of fish sauce? Ugh I couldn't get through it all for the saltiness.

Much too sweet. 2 tablespoons of sugar? Plus sweetness of Hoisin sauce? Wow. If I did make it again, I would cut sugar by 50%.

Super easy, great recipe. I added one diced red pepper for some colour and I didn't have any chili garlic sauce so added a touch of sirichai hot sauce, turned out great.

Dead simple and faster and better than take-out! I substituted ground coriander for the fresh I didn't have, and tossed in an egg and some green onions. I've made it with both regular sugar and brown sugar. Either way is great!

The is a WOW! Keeper for sure. Excellent flavors and ready 1-2-3 after prep work. Butterflied the shrimp for faster cooking.

We enjoyed this. I left out the green chiles after reading the reviews, and it was just spicy enough. Also left out the mint; none in the garden yet. This does not require a huge amount of slicing and dicing, like some stir fries do. It really is pretty fast. I agree that the garnishes are important to the flavor of the dish. I will try this again and add the mint--sounds intriguing.

I've made this recipe over & over again since I first saw it in the 2006 issue. It really is dead simple, and deadly delicious too! In my humble opinion, leaving out the peanuts and cilantro is a big mistake though - they act as far more than mere garnish and definitely add to the flavour of the overall dish (especially the cilantro). And don't be fooled - it's amazing what that final squirt of lime juice over top does to elevate the dish. A favorite of ours for sure!

Delicious, inexpensive and remarkably easy to put together.

Followed the recipe exactly but did not enjoy it. I thought it was bland.

This is an easy and fabulous dish! I used a copper wok which really got hot and sizzled the noodles. Delicious and so easy to make! This is going to be our regular weekly meal.

Once all of the ingredients are assembled, this is easy and delicious. My fourteen year old daughter and her friend declared it "better than take out!". I consider that a high compliment. I used the small shrimp and I think they are well suited to the recipe. This will be new standard in our house.

made this tonight with thai marinated tofu instead of shrimp; added scrambled egg & shredded carrot as the garlic & tofu sauteed a bit - REALLY good!

Followed the recipe exactly. Delicious!

This recipe is very tasty and tolerates changes depending on the state of your pantry. I have made it with fresh rice noodles as well. Most North Americans find it spicy enough without the peppers. I just add extra chili garlic sauce.

Quick and good. I left out the cilantro and peanuts since they're only a garnish and I wasn't serving to guests. This dish packs a medium heat so, I'll probably leave out the green chilis next time. I could only find diced.

Cookbooks, DVDs & More