This is an authentic Prawn/Shrimp Pad Thai recipe from Spice I Am, a critically acclaimed Thai restaurant. To say it tastes incredible is an understatement!
Also, here is my everyday Pad Thai recipe which is the version I make most often, no trip to the Asian store required. 🙂
The restaurant version I’m sharing is an absolute ripper of a Pad Thai. I can go on and on about how incredible it is because it isn’t mine, so I don’t have to worry about sounding arrogant! It is the Pad Thai recipe of one of Sydney’s hottest Thai restaurants – Spice I Am.
The first time I went, I was blown away by the flavours. Seriously intense Thai, unlike the usual Thai restaurants. It’s phenomenal. And it’s authentic. That’s what I love the most. Spice I Am is unapologetically real. They don’t tone down the spiciness of curries. They don’t “westernise” dishes. They are modernised in the presentation but at the core of it, every dish is cooked the traditional way which is why it’s so different.
It was perhaps a decade ago when I first went and Spice I Am remains as one of my all time favourite Thai restaurants. So I was beyond excited when I spied a Spice I Am cookbook at my brothers’ house. I went to swipe it but he caught me and wouldn’t even let me borrow it. Hmph! So I wrangled my own copy.
I get such a kick out of getting restaurant recipes for signature dishes!! There are so many I want to try but in my excitement to share one with you, I decided to start with Pad Thai.
As you can imagine, after describing how authentic the Spice I Am dishes are, the Pad Thai recipe has more steps than my everyday version. And it has one ingredient that requires a trip to the Asian grocery store – dried tiny baby shrimp. It is the magic ingredient that makes this a real Thai restaurant style version. Yes it is worth the trip and the extra steps to make it! But you can get everything else you need from the supermarket.
It probably sounds like I was hired to talk about this cookbook, but I’m not! This is genuinely a cookbook I am obsessed with. Sujet Saenkham, the genius behind Spice I Am, is a native Thai and his recipes are actual family recipes he learnt from his mother and grandmother. Those are the kind of recipes that really get me excited!! You can get a copy of his cookbook from Bookworld or Booktopia (these are not affiliate links).
Yummy….Pad Thai….I could eat this every day. I swear! – Nagi x
- 5 oz / 150 g dried Pad Thai rice noodles (Note 1)
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 12 raw shrimp (prawns), shelled and deveined (Note 2)
- 1 small red shallot , finely sliced (Note 3)
- 3 oz / 80 g firm tofu , cut into small matchsticks
- 1.75 oz / 50 g dried shrimp (Note 4)
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 2 tbsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)
- 2 tbsp tamarind puree (Note 5)
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 1/2 tsp + chili powder , to taste (Note 6)
- 2 eggs , lightly beaten
- 1.5 oz / 45 g roasted unsalted peanuts , finely ground
- 5 oz / 150 g bean sprouts
- 2 tbsp garlic chives , cut into 3/4" / 2cm lengths
- 1 tsp white sugar
- Lime wedges , to serve
Place the rice noodles in a bowl and cover with lukewarm water and set aside for 1 hour. (Note 7) Drain then set aside.
Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a wok or large heavy based fry pan over medium heat. Add the prawns and cook until they just change colour. (Note 8) Remove from the wok and set aside.
Add the shallot and stir fry for 2 minutes. Then add the tofu, dried shrimp, fish sauce, palm sugar and tamarind puree and cook for 1 minute until the sugar has dissolved.
Add the rice noodles, vinegar and 2 tsp chili powder and stir fry for 2 minutes.
Turn the heat down to low and push the noodles to one side. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil into the wok then the egg.
Push the noodles over the egg and stir, scraping the base of the wok so the egg scrambles and mixes in with the noodles.
Remove from heat. Add half the peanuts, most of the bean sprouts, garlic chives, prawns and toss gently.
Transfer to serving platter. Sprinkle with white sugar and remaining peanuts. Serve immediately with lime wedges on the side and sprinkled with extra chili powder, if desired.
1. The original recipe called for thin rice stick noodles that looks more like vermicelli. I chose to make it with Pad Thai noodles.
2. Original recipe called for 6 large prawns. I could only find medium size ones so I used 12.
3. Red shallots are like baby red spanish onions. The flavour is sweeter and milder than onions. If you can't find them, just substitute with 1/4 finely sliced red onion.
4. Dried shrimp is the key ingredient in this restaurant style version. They are tiny shrimp / prawns that are dried. They cost around $4 for a packet at Asian grocery stores (you'll only need half).
5. Tamarind is a fruit and the puree is like a smooth paste and is sour. In Australia, you can find it in supermarkets (Coles, Woolworths, Harris Farms) in the Asian section.
6. Real Pad Thai is supposed to be spicy! Adjust to taste - you can sprinkle on the finished dish at the end as well (common way to serve). Chili powder used in this recipe is pure ground dried chilies. Not American chili powder which has other seasonings and is not that spicy. If you are unsure, use cayenne pepper. The chilli powder is to add heat to the dish, not additional seasonings.
7. This is a key tip - rehydrating the noodles using lukewarm water instead of boiling. This stops the noodles from breaking when you are stir frying because the noodles don't overcook which can happen in a flash if you boil them.
If you're really in a rush, soak them in hot water or follow the packet instructions, but reduce the cooking time by 1 minute, and be extra careful when tossing the noodles.
8. How to tell a prawn is perfectly cooked: raw prawns hang straight. Perfectly cooked prawns form a "c" and overcooked prawns curl into an "o" shape.
9. Nutrition assuming 3 servings.