Shina Soba and Pad Thai

Ramen. It is a staple of the Japanese diet, as well as for poor college students. While I love ramen, I spent most of my college career living in the residence halls with a meal plan, so I never had to rely on it for sustenance. I think my introduction to ramen came through the gateway of the old Cup-o-Noodles. When I was a kid we would rarely be able to get this treat but I remember the chicken, beef and shrimp varieties (beef was my favorite). Occasionally I will buy a cup or two to keep in my office desk in case I need a quick lunch.

I read an article the other day on MentalFloss that gave the interesting history of the noodles. While I was well aware of the long, sordid history between China and Japan, I wasn’t aware of the role that ramen played. Over centuries both countries interacted and the culture began to mix but the more militaristic Japan began to dominate the mainland in the 1800’s. The small country took great pride in their superior military ability.

In the early 1900’s, Chinese chefs in Japan created a fusion between the two cuisines. They created standard Japanese soba noodles in a new way, making them longer, yellower and more elastic. With the salty broth, it was an instant hit. It was originally named Shina Soba (with Shina meaning China). The popularity grew both because of the taste of the dish, but also the idea that the dish represented the act of Japan gobbling up their enemy.

After the conclusion of World War II, the taste remained the same, but as the country turned away from its imperialistic past, the dish fell on hard times. It was renamed to Chuka Soba (Chinese style soba) and when Momofuku Ando and his company Nissin developed instant noodles, it became an…….instant hit. Nissin branded their ramen “Cup o Noodles” in the United States.

Pad Thai

Photo May 03, 5 18 39 PM - Featured Size

Another popular noodle based dish from Asia, I just love Pad Thai. I know it has really nothing else to do with ramen, but both hold special places in my palate.

Photo May 10, 5 12 46 PM

There are a lot of ingredients, but it is so worth it.

Photo May 03, 4 02 29 PM

I looked 8 places for tamarind juice. I think I went to every Asian and Indian grocer in the Cleveland area, but could only find the concentrate, so I had to make juice from it.

Photo May 03, 4 09 24 PM

The dried rice noodles are getting soft.

Photo May 03, 5 06 42 PM

Make an omelette.

Photo May 03, 5 08 49 PM

Slice it up.

Photo May 10, 6 14 56 PM

Shallots and garlic.

Photo May 03, 5 11 45 PM

Putting it together.

Photo May 10, 7 19 18 PM

This is one huge platter.

Photo May 03, 5 18 29 PM


Pad Thai

Servings: 4 – 6

7 oz. dried flat rice stick noodles
3 tbsp. tamarind pulp
3 tbsp. palm sugar or light brown sugar
2 tbsp. nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. Thai chili powder
7 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 small shallots, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
6 oz. medium shrimp, peeled, with tail intact, and deveined
2 oz. smoked or fresh firm tofu, diced
2 tbsp. tiny dried shrimp
Half bunch Chinese chives or 4 scallions, green part only,
cut into 2″ pieces
1/4 cup chopped pickled turnips
1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
1/4 cup roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped
1 lime, quartered

1. Soak noodles in a large bowl of hot water until pliable, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside. Dissolve tamarind pulp in 1 cup water in a small bowl, then strain through a sieve into a medium bowl, pressing on pulp with the back of a spoon to push most of it through. Discard seeds. Stir sugar, fish sauce, vinegar, and chili powder into tamarind liquid and set sauce aside.

2. Heat 1 tbsp. of the oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add eggs and swirl around skillet to form an even layer. Cook until set on one side, about 1 minute, then turn and cook on other side until set, about 20 seconds more. Transfer omelette to a cutting board, thinly slice, and set aside.

3. Heat the remaining 6 tbsp. oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add shallots and garlic and stir-fry until soft, about 10 seconds. Add medium shrimp and stir-fry for 10 seconds. Add tofu, dried shrimp, chives, turnips, half the bean sprouts, half the peanuts, the noodles, the sliced omelette, and the reserved sauce and stir-fry, tossing constantly, until noodles absorb most of the sauce and sauce thickens, 2-3 minutes. Garnish each serving with the remaining bean sprouts and peanuts and serve with limes.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Main Dish 3, Pasta, Recipes, Seafood, Thai

Author:The Ranting Chef

Check out the best recipes at

8 Comments on “Shina Soba and Pad Thai”

  1. March 20, 2015 at 11:21 am #

    When I think of Pad Thai – I think of Phenom Pen on 25th street, one of the two restaurants I miss from Cleveland. The other is East China off of Chagrin with the best spicy pork fried rice ever.


  2. March 20, 2015 at 1:29 pm #

    I want this NOW!


  3. March 20, 2015 at 2:40 pm #

    Looks delicious! Mind Checking out my blog?


  4. March 20, 2015 at 4:45 pm #

    wow!! Amazing, very facinating. Mind checking my blog, i posted a new post yesterday. Check it over at,
    looking forward to see you at my blog and feel free to leave your comments and question.


  5. March 21, 2015 at 9:42 am #

    Nice looking pad Thai – my favorite Thai dish, oo.


  6. March 22, 2015 at 5:14 am #

    Try making tom yum soup with the tamarind sauce too! My thai friend taught me to use the original tamarind fruits and mix with hot water and leave for 30 mins to get the juice.


  7. plummymummy
    March 22, 2015 at 7:43 am #

    Looks delish! I didn’t know it had tamarind in it but now makes sense. Need to figure out how to substitute the fish parts in your menu and then I’ll get cooking as I love padthai


  8. March 23, 2015 at 12:09 am #

    looks great


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: