We try to share recipes with you that are simple and without too many strange ingredients. But sometimes, we just have to share a new favorite that is so amazing that it’s worth a little extra effort.

Romanesco or broccoli florets are a delicious and nutritious addition to this Pad Thai, the famous Thai noodle dish.


  • 8 ounces rice noodles 
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste 
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons light brown sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice 
  • ¼ pound Romanesco or broccoli florets 
  • ¼ pound carrots, cut into julienne 
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil 
  • 2 teaspoons crushed garlic (about 5 cloves) 
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger 
  • 16 large wild shrimp, cooked and peeled 
  • 2 eggs, beaten 
  • 3 or 4 spring onions or scallions, sliced at an angle 
  • 2 ½ ounces fresh bean sprouts 
  • 3 tablespoons salted peanuts, roughly chopped 


  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro 
  • lime wedges 
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds 
  • red pepper flakes (optional) 


  • 4 to 6 small onions or shallots 
  • sunflower oil, for frying

Additional Information

  • Cook Time: 30m


Put the noodles in a bowl, cover with water, and leave for about an hour. 

To make the crispy onions, peel and slice the onions or shallots very thinly. Separate the rings and allow to dry for several hours. 

Meanwhile, whisk the tamarind paste, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, and 3 tablespoons of water in a bowl. 

Blanch and refresh the Romanesco or broccoli florets and carrots in boiling salted water—3 minutes for the broccoli, 2 minutes for the carrots—until al dente. 

To make the crispy onions, heat the oil to 350°F in a wok or deep-fat fryer. Deep-fry for 2 to 3 minutes until golden. Spread them out on paper towels in a single layer and let cool. 

Drain the noodles. Heat a wok over high heat, add the oil, and continue to heat until almost smoking. Add the garlic and ginger, toss quickly, then add the peeled shrimp and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate. 

Add the noodles to the wok and stir-fry for a minute. Pour in three-quarters of the tamarind paste and fish sauce. Toss to coat the noodles, push to the side of the wok, and add the whisked eggs. Stir to scramble a little then add the shrimp, Romanesco or broccoli florets, carrots, spring onions, bean sprouts, and half of the salted peanuts. Add the remainder of the tamarind/fish sauce. Toss, taste, and correct the seasoning with more fish sauce and lime juice if necessary. 

Divide among four shallow hot plates. Garnish with the remaining peanuts, cilantro sprigs, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. 

Serve each with a lime wedge and a sprinkling of crispy onions and red pepper flakes if you crave some extra oomph. Enjoy. 

For more check out Grow Cook Nourish: A Kitchen Garden Companion in 500 Recipes by Darina Allen, published by Kyle Books. Photography by Clare Winfield and Tim Allen.


by Aray Till

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