Try this recipe at your next Thai feast.
1/2 pound dried sen lek (flat rice noodles, 1/8 inch thick)
6 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate
1/4 cup palm sugar
3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
3 tablespoons nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground dried red chilies, or more to taste
2 tablespoons finely chopped dried shrimp,
1/4 cup safflower or canola oil
4 shallots, minced (preferably purple shallots)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon shredded pickled salted radish (optional)
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 scallions (green parts only), sliced very thin on diagonal
1/2 cup roasted and chopped peanuts
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1/2 cup chopped cilantro plus fresh cilantro leaves and stems for garnish
2 limes, quartered lengthwise
1. Soak sen lek in a large bowl in warm water to cover for 15 to 20 minutes or until softened; drain completely in a colander.
2. While noodles are soaking, bring the 6 tablespoons of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the tamarind concentrate and stir well to blend. Add the palm sugar, vinegar, nam pla, and dried red chilies and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add dried shrimp, and reserve.
3. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over moderate heat. Stir in shallots, garlic, and optional salted radish and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Raise heat to high, add the shrimp, and cook until shrimp are just past translucent, about 1 minute. Remove shrimp immediately and reserve.
4. Add palm sugar mixture to the pan in which the shrimp cooked, along with the drained noodles, half of the scallions, and half of the peanuts. Cook, for 4 minutes, or until most of the liquid is evaporated. Stir in the cooked shrimp and the bean sprouts, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute longer. Place pad thai on a platter, toss with remaining scallions, peanuts, and the 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro. Arrange cilantro leaves and lime quarters over and around the dish. Serve immediately.