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  • Writer's picturePatrick Chadd

Tom Yum Shrimp & Squid Ink Pasta

A fast and delicious Thai-inspired dish made for work nights, easy lunches and brunches

My version uses a shorter pasta made with squid ink over the traditionally spaghetti noodle and I think it results in an easier to eat dish with a better ratio of pasta to sauce.

Tom Yum Pasta with Shrimp and Squid Ink Spaccatelli, garnished with cilantro, cheese and pickled chilies

The Recipe: Tom Yum Pasta with Shrimp and Squid Ink Spaccatelli

(This recipe makes about 6 - 8 servings)


2 lbs of deveined and shelled, tail-on shrimp

1 stick of butter divided in two 4 oz/4 tbsp portions

1 24 oz jar of four cheese tomato pasta sauce (I used Rao's)

2 8 oz packs of baby bella, crimini or white mushrooms, sliced thickly

1 onion, chopped (or two shallots, chopped)

2 - 4 heaping tablespoons tom yum paste (I used Maesri brand) depending your desired spice level

1 - 2 tablespoons of fish sauce (I used Megachef brand)

1 heaping tablespoon nam prik prow or Thai roasted chili paste (leave out if making meatless, vegetarian version of this recipe)

1- 2 limes, juice only

1 1lb box of pasta (I used Sfoglini Cuttlefish Ink Spaccatelli)

To Garnish: Chopped fresh cilantro

Grated Parmigiano cheese

Pickled Thai Birds-eye Chilis, chopped


1. Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for cooking your pasta before you start the sauce, this sauce goes together fast, especially if you have the few components ready to start cooking.

2. Put a large sauté or frying pan on medium high heat and add the 4 tablespoons of butter to start melting.

3. Place all your cut mushrooms into the pan in one layer, it's fine if they are crowded in, you're just trying to get some color on them.

4. After the mushrooms have fried in the butter for a few minutes, check to see if the cooked side is golden brown, if it is, flip all of the slices of mushroom over to brown the other side.

5. When both sides of the mushrooms have browned on both sides, remove them to a platter and set aside to cool.

6. Into the same pan you used for the mushrooms, raise the heat to medium-high and add all of the shrimp in one layer in the pan just like you did for the mushrooms. You aren't trying to cook the shrimp through here, just letting them cook for a minute or two to get some color on each side of the shrimp. Once you have color on both sides, remove the shrimp to a platter and set aside next to the mushrooms.

7. Into the same pan that you just cooked your shrimp, lower the heat to medium and add in your second 4 tablespoons of butter to melt. Once it starts to melt, toss in the chopped onion and let the onions cook until they are tender, translucent and starting to get some color.

8. At this point, add in 2 to 4 heaping tablespoons of the tom yum paste, 2 tablespoons of the Maesri paste will give your sauce a nice medium-heat level of spice.

9. Let the onions and paste cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently so it doesn't burn.

10. Now add in the heaping teaspoon of the nam prik prow (or Thai roasted chili paste) and mix it well into the onion and tom yum sauce mixture, let cook for a minute or so, stirring frequently.

11. Drizzle in 1 to 2 tablespoons of fish sauce, mix well and then add in the jar of pasta sauce and stir together very well to combine. Let the sauce cook for a minute or two and then turn off the heat and get your pasta cooking.

12. Once the pasta water is at a rolling boil, add in your pasta all at once and stir well to prevent sticking. You will cook your pasta a minute less than directed on the box or to your desired level of doneness.

13. When your pasta is about 2-3 minutes from being done, turn the heat on the sauce to medium or medium-low. When the sauce just starts to simmer, add in the cooked mushrooms, any accumulated juices and mix through well and then add in the cooked shrimp and any accumulated juices. Stir the shrimp through in the sauce, and by this time your pasta should be ready to add to the sauce.

14. Add all of your hot cooked pasta directly into the sauce and mix through the sauce gently but well to make sure that all of the pasta is covered with the sauce.

15. Add in a handful of chopped fresh cilantro, squeeze over a lime or two; mix through the pasta and remove from the heat.

16. Serve the pasta immediately with extra cheese, cilantro and chilies if desired.

NOTES: I often make this with shrimp, octopus and calamari - many types of seafood works well in this sauce; that said, this can be also made completely vegetarian but not adding any seafood. Maesri Tom Yum paste contains: soybean oil, lemongrass, tamarind juice, drid chilli pepper, garlic, lime juice, sugar, salt, shallot karffir lime, galangal.

Most Thai Nam Prak Prow or Thai Roasted Chili Sauce has Anchovy Extract (Fish Sauce) and Shrimp (Crustaceans Shellfish) products in it, so make sure to check the label or leave it out for a vegetarian version of this dish. The History:

Italian or more specifically, Italian-American food in the shape of pizza made its way into Thailand in the 1960s via the American soldiers of the Vietnam War. Pizzas topped with Thai ingredients and flavors like holy basil, chilies, Thai stir-fried chicken, shrimp and tom yum flavors appeared and by the 1990s; Thai-Italian fusions were becoming commonplace. and Tom Yum as a flavor is ubiquitous across Thailand - all of these elements naturally evolved into the very popular Tom Yum spaghetti dish in Thailand.

Traditionally it is made with spaghetti noodles and many recipe variations exist across Thailand - it is very good, delicious. This is a great example of a fusion dish that was created by Thais for Thai tastes using Western-inspired ingredients. In Thailand, try the Tom Yum Spaghetti with Shrimp and Crab at any OKAJHU location or at any Eat Am Are (Eat Am Ah) location for a delicious version.


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