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Thai Pad Noodles

1 (16 oz) package rice noodles
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tsp minced garlic
1 cup chopped onion
1 stalk lemongrass, flattened with cleaver and finely chopped
1 1/2 lbs boneless pork loin, julienned
1/2 cup dried shrimp, soaked in 1/2 cup water for 5 minutes (or 1/2 cup salad shrimp plus salt to taste)
6 Thai red chili peppers, minced
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
4 tbsp ketchup
3/4 tsp black pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 cups bean sprouts
1/4 cup chinese chives, chopped (or 1/4 cup chopped green onion plus minced garlic to taste)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup chopped peanuts

Cook noodles in boiling water for 1-2 minutes or until softened, stirring constantly; drain and plunge into cold water; drain again.

Stir-fry onion and garlic in wok until tender; add pork, shrimp, lemongrass, and chilies, cooking 5 minutes further, or until pork is done.

Add sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, ketchup, black pepper, eggs, noodles, bean sprouts and chives; cook, stirring well for 2-4 minutes, until egg is pretty much cooked and set.

Serve on plates sprinkled with cilantro and peanuts; and optional hot sauces such as Nam Prik Dang or Sambal Oelek (chili paste) as table condiments, if desired.

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