Noodles: you need rice noodles, about 3mm wide, but there's some play in that. Take half a pound of those noodles and dump them in slightly hot water (and a lot of it) for about half an hour. Make sure you can take any of those noodles and easily wrap it around your finger, but that it's still unpleasantly chewy. Then give it another 5-10 minutes in the water. You'll also have a much easier time down the road if you break them up some so you don't end up with a tangled noodle ball while cooking.
The shesimmers.com blog calls for:
150g tamarind pulp
180g fish sauce
226g palm sugar
60g brown sugar
I used all of that, but felt it was missing a little something, so I squeeze half a lime in there as well. This is a lot more than you're going to need for one batch according to this recipe, but the sauce keeps well.
roughly 1.5 T of shrimp paste in soy oil (this isn't the block stuff you'd use in other Thai dishes)
roughly a cup of slightly crushed roasted nuts (peanut or cashew)
1/4 cup of sliced garlic chive greens (can be left out, but I like them)
slightly less than 1/3 C of small dried shrimp (the little tiny whole ones complete with eyes)
3/4 C extra firm tofu (preferably the extra firm unseasoned yellow stuff)
2 eggs, scrambled until just done in another skillet and chopped up
1-2 C bean sprouts
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
Thai chiles to taste, minced
1/2 of chicken or shrimp (if using chicken slice it fairly finely to make it cook more quickly)
Very finely julienned carrot as a garnish (optional, if you can cut it that finely)
How to make it
Add vegetable oil to the pan over medium high; when a noodle sizzles in the oil you're ready to go. Add the noodles and 2/3 C of the sauce, as well as the shrimp paste.
Keep everything moving around the pan, and once the pan gets back up to temperature another 30 seconds to a minute and everything should loosen up.
Add in the garlic, chiles, shallot, dried shrimp, tofu, and shrimp or chicken; you may need to add some more oil. Now is the important time, KEEP EVERYTHING MOVING. You need to get the protein cooked, and make sure the noodles soften and loose that unpleasant chew; you may find that you need to add a little extra sauce or a little water.
When the noodles and protein are just about right add the bean sprouts and chives to wilt slightly.
Kill the heat, add the eggs, peanuts, and carrot and toss to combine.
Serve it up, you might want to include some dried red pepper, lime juice, fish sauce, or, if you're a bad person (and in this case I admit I am), some soy sauce on the side.