Pad Thai

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably spent many a Saturday night with pals, beers in hand, surrounded by a half dozen take-out containers of red curry, green papaya salad, pad see ew, and pad Thai, the latter of which is my particular favorite. It is always a must-order, which is why it is more upsetting to get one that does not live up to expectations when one is placed. You no longer have to worry about eating sauces that are overly sweet, noodles that are too sticky, or protein that is overcooked. You can cook this Thai cuisine, which has a hint of sweetness, tanginess, nuttiness, and saltiness, right in your own home, precisely way you want it, as long as you have a few specific components. Continue reading for some of our best advice on how to perfect this Thai stir-fry:

The greatest pad Thai noodles:

Rice noodles are essential to the authentic preparation of pad Thai, but not all varieties are made equal. You want rice noodles that are flat, thin, and not too thick. If possible, you want them to be made in Thailand. Dried rice noodles are more commonly available, but fresh rice noodles will also work. Do not boil any of them, regardless of what you find! Rice noodles that are fresh can be used right away, but dried ones require an initial soaking in boiling water before they can be used. Take the pot off the heat and soak the dried noodles for twenty to thirty minutes; this will make them pliable but they will still have some bite to them. They are going to keep cooking in the wok with the sauce until it reaches the ideal consistency.

Pad Thai

How to make the best pad Thai sauce:

When I was making this recipe, I delved deep to find out what makes Pad Thai sauce so great. I started by spending an afternoon dissecting some take out to see what I could uncover. Since Pad Thai is all about the sauce, I started by spending an afternoon dissecting some take out to see what I could discover. Which came first, the paprika or the ketchup in that boring one? Why are some a brighter shade of red while others are much darker? What was it about that one that made it so good? I’ve learnt that in order to make it taste the finest, you’ll need the following things: acid, sugar, and salt in the right proportions; nevertheless, the most important thing is to taste it as you go along.
—Tamarind, a fruit that is at once sour, sweet, and tangy, is the component that is absolutely essential for producing the authentic flavor of pad Thai. We went for tamarind puree for this version, but tamarind paste can also do the trick; just make sure it comes from Thailand and not India. If you choose with the second option, you will have to separate the paste from the seeds by first soaking the block in warm water, and then using your fingers to extract the seeds from the block once it has been broken up into smaller pieces.
—Palm sugar is an unprocessed form of sugar that, like jaggery and coconut sugar, imparts a distinct flavor to pad Thai. It has a slightly floral aroma and a flavor profile that is reminiscent of a rich caramel. It is typically presented as a tough, solid block or disc that has the potential to appear threatening. To achieve a texture that is easier to work with and more granulated in appearance, you can merely grate it using a box grater, a microplane, or a mortar and pestle. Can’t seem to locate any palm sugar? Instead, you may try light brown sugar.
— Fish sauce from Thailand: Thai fish sauce, which can also be referred to by its other name, nam pla, is what gives pad Thai its distinctively salty and savory umami flavor. Even though fish sauce is very simple to track down in the grocery (technically, even Worcestershire sauce qualifies! ), for this dish, you’ll want to look for a variety that specifically states that it’s a “product of Thailand.”

Pad Thai

Pad Thai variations:

What’s the best part about creating pad Thai in your own kitchen? You are free to prepare it in just the manner in which you would choose. You are welcome to substitute the shrimp for chicken, tofu, or stir-fried vegetables if you are not a fan of shrimp. You don’t adore the eggs, do you? Just don’t include them.


This can be made up to two days in advance; simply place it in a container that can seal tightly and place it in the refrigerator. As the meal cools, the noodles will soak up the sauce; thus, you should reheat it very slowly in a nonstick pan or in the microwave, and then add a squeeze of lime juice and some peanuts to give it a new lease on life.

YIELDS: 4 serving(s)
PREP TIME: 30 mins
TOTAL TIME: 45 mins


8 oz. rice noodles, broken in half
6 tbsp. peanut or vegetable oil, divided
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
3 large eggs
3 tbsp. palm sugar
3 tbsp. Thai fish sauce
2 tbsp. tamarind puree
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 medium shallot, finely chopped (about 3 tbsp.)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 scallions, cut into 1″ pieces
1 c. bean sprouts
1/4 c. coarsely chopped peanuts
2 tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (optional)


Step 1

If you are using dried noodles, place them in a big saucepan or basin that is heatproof and cover them with boiling water. Soak the noodles until they are cooked, around 20 to 30 minutes.

Step 2

During this time, heat one tablespoon of oil in a big wok that is set over high heat. Add the shrimp and heat for two to three minutes, turning them once during cooking, until they are pink and just cooked through. Place in a bowl of a suitable size.

Step 3

Warm up one tablespoon of oil in the same wok. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl until they are completely combined. Cook for one to two minutes, giving the mixture a stir every so often and breaking up any curds that form with a spoon. Move to the bowl containing the shrimp.

Step 4

In a small bowl, combine palm sugar, fish sauce, tamarind concentrate, lime juice, cayenne, 2 tablespoons of oil, and 1 tablespoon of water using a whisk to get a uniform consistency.

Step 5

Two teaspoons of oil should be heated in the same wok over medium-high heat. Shallot and garlic should be cooked together for about a minute, with continuous stirring, until they become golden. After adding the scallions, continue cooking them for 1 to 2 minutes while tossing them regularly until they get softer. After stirring in the sauce, bring the mixture to a low simmer.

Step 6

After adding the eggs, shrimp, and noodles, continue to simmer the mixture while stirring it regularly for a further two minutes, or until the noodles have become more tender. Toss the mixture once more to include the peanuts and bean sprouts.

Step 7

Spread some pad Thai on each of the plates. Garnish with cilantro (if you are using it).


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