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How To Make Authentic Pad Thai

Like Pad Thai? This pad Thai recipe will get you excellent and authentic results.

Pad Thai is easily the most popular Thai noodle dish.

With this authentic pad Thai recipe you will be able to recreate pad Thai at home that tastes just as good as if not better than you find and the best Thai restaurants.

So please give this pad Thai a try. I promise you’ll love the results.

 
Pad Thai

So good and so easy to make.

Pad Thai is a rather new addition to Thai Cuisine

Chinese rice noodles have been used in Thai cooking for centuries in Thailand but it wasn’t until the 1930s that Pad Thai, the most famous of all of Thailand’s noodle dishes was created.

There are a couple of stories about how this delicious and authentic pad Thai recipe came to be.

The Prime Minister of Thailand, Plaek Phibunsongkhram who served from 1938 to 1944 and then again 1948 to 1957 is behind both stories.

Phibunsongkram, who was also a dictator ordered that the new dish should be made using Chinese noodles but that it should be called pad Thai as a way of promoting nationalism.

Another story goes that during WW2, good quality Thai grown rice was in short supply due to the war and heavy rains and floods. Phibunsongkhram promoted the use of rice noodles instead of rice to be eaten as a side and as part of main dishes.

Whatever the truth is, pad Thai has become one of Thailand’s most loved national dishes and it has made its way all around the world. I challenge you to find a good Thai restaurant that doesn’t have it on the menu.

No need to go out now though. My pad Thai recipe will get you awesome results. 

What noodles to use for this pad Thai recipe.

Take a look at the thickness of the rice noodles I used to make this pad Thai. 

This is what you are looking for when you want to serve an authentic pad Thai recipe. Of course, like every recipe, you could substitute another rice noodle if more convenient. 

Make this pad Thai recipe vegetarian.

If you would like to make this dish vegetarian, omit the fish sauce, prawns and chicken. You could double up on the tofu. When purchasing tofu, you need to look for the hard pressed variety and not the softer tofu that is supplied in water. That soft tofu is better for soups.

I purchase Chinese pressed tofu that is marinated in soy sauce, dried and then pressed. This tofu stands up really well to the high heat of the wok.

The required tamarind water is available at shops but you could also make it yourself. Simply soak block tamarind in some hot water for about 30 minutes, break it up and run through a fine sieve. You could also use tamarind concentrate. About 1 ½ tbsp. concentrate mixed with water.

 

Check out these easy step by step images. 

Sauce for pad thai

Start by mixing the sauce ingredients. Set aside.

Frying garlic and shrimp.

Give your garlic and baby dried shrimp a good sizzle in oil over medium high heat.

Browning chicken

Stir in the chicken and tofu to brown.

Adding eggs

Move everything to one side of the wok and add the eggs to fry.

Adding sauce to wok

Stir it all up and add the prepared sauce and prawns.

Adding chilli flakes

Stir well to combine before adding the soaked noodles.

Adding noodles to pan

Add the soaked noodles and stir well to coat.

Adding spring onions and sprouts.

Add the sprouts and spring onions.

Adding chillies and chopped peanuts.

Stir in the chillies and half the chopped peanuts.

Finished pad thai

Once the noodles have soaked up that delicious sauce, your pad Thai is ready.

Pad Thai is usually made with chicken, tofu and prawns though other meats are often thrown in by daring chefs. If you order it from street stalls in Thailand, you will most likely get the most popular combo though.

Pad Thai

Serve on heated plates, garnished with more peanuts, bean sprouts, lime wedges and more chilli flakes if you wish.

Love Thai food? Try some of these delicious recipes!

Thai Green Curry
Thai Red Curry
Beef Massaman Curry
Chicken Satay and peanut sauce
Thai Drunken Noodles
Steamed Sea Bass with Garlic and Lime Sauce
Tom Yum Gai
Tom Kha Gai
Hot and Sour Prawn Soup

Finished pad Thai

Add more fresh sprouts and chilli flakes and serve with lime wedges.

Yield: 4

How To Make Authentic Pad Thai

Pad Thai
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 1 tsp dried shrimp
  • 6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped 100g (1⁄2 cup) firm tofu, sliced
  • 2 skinless chicken thigh fillets, cut into small pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 jumbo prawns (shrimp), peeled and deveined
  • 2 tsp salted turnip (optional) 200g (7oz) dried rice noodles
  • soaked in bath-hot water for 30 minutes or 400g (14oz) fresh noodles
  • 5 spring onions (scallions), cut into 5cm (2in) pieces
  • 150g (11⁄2 cups) bean sprouts, plus extra to garnish
  • 50g (1⁄4 cup) dry-roasted unsalted peanuts, crushed 1 tsp roasted chilli flakes (see
  • page 22)
  • Lime quarters, to serve
  • FOR THE SAUCE
  • 5 tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 70ml (1⁄4 cup) tamarind paste
  • (see page 17 or shop-bought) 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 11⁄2 tbsp white distilled vinegar 1 tbsp sriracha sauce (see page
  • 145 or shop-bought)

Instructions

  1. Start by mixing the sauce ingredients in a bowl, adjusting to taste as necessary. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok over a high heat. When it begins to shimmer, add the dried shrimp and garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds. Add the tofu and chicken and brown in the oil for about a minute.
  3. Push all of these ingredients to the side of the wok and crack the eggs into the empty side. Allow them to cook for about a minute and then stir the par-cooked egg into the other ingredients.
  4. Add the prawns (shrimp) and let them cook with the other ingredients until about half cooked through. This should only take about a minute or two. Then add the sauce.
  5. Stir in the salted turnip (if using) and the soaked or fresh rice noodles until the noodles are nicely coated in the sauce mixture. Fold in the spring onions (scallions) and bean sprouts – the hot noodles will cook the sprouts and onions but you are only really steaming them.
  6. Stir in half of the crushed peanuts and continue cooking until the noodles look wet but there isn’t a lot of sauce left. You don’t want the noodles dripping with sauce, they should just be moist from having cooked in the sauce.
  7. Transfer to four heated plates and garnish with the remaining peanuts, the roasted chilli flakes and remaining bean sprouts. Serve with lime wedges.

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I hope you enjoy this authentic pad Thai recipe as much as my family and I do. If you tried it, please let me know how it went in the comments. I’d love to hear them.

Pad Thai

Probably the most popular Thai noodle dish! This pad Thai recipe makes it easy to make at home.

Chandler Horowitz

Saturday 17th of July 2021

Theres a star next to the thai fish sauce, is there anything i need to know regarding that or does it reference another of your recipes??

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 4th of August 2021

Thanks for checking, nothing you need to know, I have removed the star. Dan

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