Our version of this take-out classic is surprisingly easy to make and requires just one skillet.
While truly authentic pad thai, with its sweet, sour, and salty flavors, requires hard-to-find ingredients like preserved daikon, palm sugar, and dried shrimp, our simplified weeknight recipe uses accessible ingredients to create a simple flavor profile.
One-Pan Shrimp Pad Thai
Start to finish: I hour
8 ounces (3/8-inch-wide) rice noodles
1/3 cup lime juice (3 limes)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 pound extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces (4 cups) bean sprouts
1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts, chopped
Bring 3 quarts water to boil in large saucepan. Place noodles in large bowl. Pour boiling water over noodles. Stir, then let soak until noodles are soft and pliable but not fully tender, stirring once halfway through soaking, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain noodles and rinse under cold running water until water runs clear. Drain well and set aside.
While noodles soak, squeeze 1/3 cup lime juice. Whisk sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice together in bowl. Mince garlic. Chop 1/4 cup cilantro. Chop peanuts.
Peel and devein shrimp. Pat shrimp dry with paper towels.
Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add shrimp in single layer and cook until spotty brown and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Stir in garlic during last minute of cooking. Transfer shrimp to plate and tent loosely with aluminum foil.
Add noodles and lime juice to mixture to now-empty skillet and cook over medium heat until sauce is thickened slightly, about 4 minutes.
Add sprouts and shrimp to skillet and cook until shrimp and sprouts are warmed through and noodles are well coated and tender, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and peanuts and serve.