Healthier Shrimp Pad Thai

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I will be the first to admit that from the time when I make my dishes and the time when I actually get them up on the website is not as fast I would like.  Usually I have a back log of about 4 to 5 recipes at any given moment where the meals or items have been cooked or baked, but I just haven’t had a chance to sit down and type.

Let’s be honest.  I’m not doing this professionally and I’m not getting paid (it would be amazing if this was my job!)  Often, at the end of a very long day in the ever-changing and stressful banking world, sometimes I come home and would just rather watch Game of Thrones or Mad Men than sit down and blog.

Am I breaking some sort of bloggers code right now?  Is it a violation to admit these things?

HOWEVER, while I may not get recipes up as fast as I would like, I do try to take real-time pictures of what I’m making and post them to either Facebook or Twitter as a way to keep you looking ahead at things to come ….eventually.

I did so earlier this week when I posted a picture of Monday night’s dinner of homemade Pad Thai.  The response I received was more intense and immediate than normal and I received no less than 5 requests for the recipe via social media or in person.

“OMG, 5!?!” (…..”Legit” food bloggers everywhere erupt into laughter).

For that reason, I feel the need to answer the call and get this recipe up ASAP.  It’s jumping ahead of amazing dishes sitting in my blogging queue like Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bar (These will literally change your LIFE), Bistro Steak with Red Wine Sauce (A light and healthy dish!), Broiled Salmon with Mango Salsa (the spice will knock your socks off !), and Asparagus with Tomatoes and Goat Cheese (the side dish to conquer all side dishes).

This recipes comes to you from the amazing new cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen (my obsession) – Comfort Food Makeovers.  At any Thai restaurant, Pad Thai is probably the most recognizable and biggest favorite among us Western-ers.  It’s usually safe to say in most Thai restaurants, “When in doubt, order Pad Thai.”  I say “mostly” because a lot of the times I have ordered it, it has come to me as a huge greasy mess that leaves me feeling less than spectacular.

This dish focuses on the basic ingredients of the dish and when I tasted it, I got the very recognizable FLAVOR of Pad Thai, but did not feel like I was ingesting a million calories.  For that reason, I call this dish a HUGE success.

Start by covering your rice noodles with very hot tap water in a large bowl and stir to separate.  Let the noodles soak until softened, pliable, and limp, but NOT fully tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain.

Meanwhile soak the tamarind paste in 3/4 of a cup of boiling water until softened, about 10 minutes.  Push the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium bowl, removing seeds and fibers and extracting as much pulp as possible.

NOTE:  I wasn’t able to find Tamarind Paste at my very fancy and well-stocked grocery store, so I used Tamarind Concentrate (found in the “Asian Aisle.”  If this is the case for you as well, mix 1 tablespoon of tamarind concentrate with 2/3 cup of hot water. 

Whisk the fish sauce, sugar, 1 tablespoon of canola oil, vinegar, and cayenne into the tamarind liquid.

Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of canola oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat until just smoking.  Add the shrimp and cook, turning and stirring occasionally, until shrimp are pink, curled, and browned around the edges (about 3 to 5 minutes).  Transfer the shrimp to a bowl.

Add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of oil to the skillet and return to medium heat until shimmering.  Add the shallot and garlic and cook until lightly browned.  Stir in the eggs and cook, stirring constantly, until scrambled but still moist, about 20 seconds.

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Stir in the softened noodles and sauce mixture; increase the heat to high and cook, tossing gently, until the noodles are evenly coated, about 1 minute.

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Stir in the cooked shrimp, bean sprouts, and scallions and cook until the shrimp are heated through and the noodles are tender, about 2 minutes.  Season with salt to taste and sprinkle with cilantro and peanuts.

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Serve, passing lime wedges separately.

Please don’t be afraid of cooking International dishes!  Modern grocery stores are well-equipped most of the ingredients you would need can be found in your International Aisle.



  • 8 oz (1/4 inch wide) rice noodles
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 3/4 cup boiling water (for the tamarind paste)
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 12 oz medium shrimp (41-50 per pound), peeled, deveined, tails removed
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 6 oz (3 cups) bean sprouts
  • 4 scallions, sliced thin on bias
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons roasted, unsalted peanuts, chopped
  • lime wedges

Nutritional Info

Before:  600 calories, 24 grams of fat, 4 grams of fat

After:  470 calories, 13 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of fat

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Categories: Pasta, Recipes, Seafood

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3 Comments on “Healthier Shrimp Pad Thai”

  1. Chelsea Garlock
    April 24, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

    Mmmmmhhh!!! I have been craving this all week! I hope to make this soon – thanks for sharing!

  2. April 25, 2013 at 4:04 am #

    Lovely recipe. On the posting front, there are two ways of looking at it. My way is better than yours. I have the identical dilemma. I have the posts prepared but don’t put them up. I stick usually to a once a week schedule and have a few weeks comfort posts in the locker. This keeps the heat off rather than on. So look at it from the other side and be glad you have the few recipes done. There is nothing like the feeling of personal failure if you let the thing drift and try to catch up.

  3. April 25, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

    Gorgeous! An absolute classic and one of my favourite noodle dished.

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