This recipe has been a long time coming. My Hubby has been begging and pleading with me to make him a homemade version of one of his favorite dishes. Given the fact that I am quite a wimp when it comes to my tolerance level to spiciness, this endeavor was actually a bit nerve-wracking for me. After doing some research, and quizzing Hubby for every detail he could give as to which ingredients he likes best, etc...I figured why not. And you know what? I really liked it! I was sweating a bit from the spice, but I survived and enjoyed it. I'm must be growing up.
Some of the ingredients in Pad Thai may vary quite a bit from one recipe to another. Many restaurants (especially in the U.S.) have taken creative liberties that stray from what would be found in a traditional Pad Thai from a food cart in Bangkok. All that being said, go with what you like. Try as I may, tofu just isn't for me, although I did prepare it for this recipe and ultimately decided to leave it out of the final dish. I also didn't particularly want to have to go to several different stores to gather my ingredients, so hopefully you'll find that you are able to find these ingredients relatively easily as well.
If you make this Shrimp Pad Thai exactly according to my recipe, the spicy factor is at about a medium, or "level 3". Feel free to adjust according to your own preferences. You can always add more, but can't take away, so taste as you go.