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Pad Thai Pasta Salad


There are a lot of "Pad Thai inspired noodle salad"s on the Internet, but as far as I can see they are pretty much just cold pad thai. For my take on the marriage of these two classics, I really tried to meld pad thai flavors into an american style pasta salad. At the center of the dish was Mara's Pasta, a tasty whole wheat penne that complemented the sweet/sour flavors nicely.

I really like working with tamarind, even though it takes some time to de-shell it all.

Letting it simmer a little.

Then just press it through a strainer to get rid of the seeds and get this thick paste. Add some mayo, sriracha, lime, sugar, and fish sauce and you have a delicious dressing for your pasta salad.

It's a bit more effort shelling all the peas yourself, but totally worth it!

The pasta is just ok at this point, but it gets WAY better when all the other stuff goes in. It's better to mix some of it in cold though, so put it in the fridge and wait a bit.

Cilantro, peanuts and more lime finish things off.

This pasta salad actually took a bit of tinkering after cooking to get the sauce perfect and I lost track of exact measurements, but the starting points are listed below and it's easy enough to add a little more of this or that and taste as you go til it becomes just right.

Not just cold Pad Thai, this is a true Pad Thai Pasta Salad.

1 lb Whole Wheat Pasta
1 lb Box of Tamarind
2 Cups Fresh Peas
1 Cup Chopped Bean Sprouts
1 Cup Shredded Carrots
1/2 Cup Chopped Cilantro
2 Bunches Green Onion, Chopped
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
To Taste:
1/2 Cup Sriracha
2 or 3 Limes
1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce
1/4 to 1/2 cup mayo
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

Make the sauce: Shell all the tamarind and put into a sauce pot with about 1/4 cup of water. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Let cool slightly, then push through a mesh strainer, retaining the tamarind pulp and discarding the seeds and strings. Be sure to scrape the pulp off the bottom of the strainer and mix it with the rest. Now stir in the sriracha, lime juice, fish sauce, and mayo. Salt and taste the sauce and adjust to your liking.

Chop and prep the rest of the ingredients. Drop the pasta in some boiling water. Cook the peas in with the pasta during the last 2 minutes of boiling. When it's ready, strain and immedietly toss in a bowl with the sauce, bean sprouts, and carrots. Put into the fridge to cool. When cool, add the cilantro, green onion, and peanuts and mix well. Taste and adjust your seasonings.

Note: I said "about" and "to taste" and "adjust seasonings" a lot in this recipe. That's cause I started with a certain amount of lime, mayo, fish sauce and sriracha, but I wasn't happy with the way it tasted after everything was mixed so I ended up adding a bunch more of all of the ingredients. The final product came out awesome, but it took a lot of tinkering. Just wanted to make sure you understand before making this!


What an impressive recipe! Do you think it would work okay with store bought tamarind paste?

Colleen - it would work fine with store bought paste, but I highly suggest trying the fresh stuff!

This looks incredible and I love the variation from a typical noodle that most pad thai recipes use, to a whole wheat penne. And that it's cold. :) Great summer pasta salad!

I am eating this for lunch, right now. When making the tamarind paste, and subsequently the sauce the other night I was really worried how it would all come out. I really did not like the way the tamarind + lime + fish sauce + sriracha tasted alone, though once everything was together this does taste like a great pad thai dish.

Super awesome for my apartment, which lacks central air conditioning.

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