Usually when someone is trying Thai food for the first time, they order Pad Thai. It’s a safe choice, I mean you can’t go wrong with stir-fried rice noodles. Pad Thai has a popular trifecta of flavors, sweet, salty, and a little sour from the tamarind. While this dish is very popular in restaurants, it can be a bit more difficult to recreate at home. Lucky for you, I’ve tested this one 3 times and will outline some of the important steps for a good Pad Thai at home!
Here are my Tips:
- The Sauce- Pad Thai sauce can be made ahead of time and you can customize it to your own personal taste. Different brands of Tamarind and Fish sauce will be saltier, sweeter, etc, so taste and adjust to your liking. Don’t skip the Tamarind Concentrate, this ingredient is essential for the Pad Thai Sauce. The recipe I have here will make about 4 large servings. You can store leftover Pad Thai sauce in the fridge for about a week.
- Cook in Small Batches- The recipe listed is for one serving, and I only recommend making one serving at a time. This will prevent the wok from getting over crowded and allow the noodles to soften and develop flavor. If you don’t have a wok, you can use a large pan with high sides, but a wok, like this one, will work better.
- Fresh vs. Dried Rice Stick Noodles- You can find fresh rice stick noodles at most Asian grocery stores, but the dried rice stick noodles are more common in local grocery stores. If you are using the dried one, but sure to soak them for at least 2 hours in room temperature water. You can soak them longer, just keep in mind that the longer they soak, the less chew they will have to them.
- Prep all Ingredients First- It’s very important to have all your ingredients prepped, chopped, and your noodles pre-soaked. Don’t start cooking until you’ve checked that everything is prepped and ready to go. This includes the toppings too.
Like most Thai dishes, you can customize the protein to what you like or have on hand. If you want it to be vegetarian, omit the shrimp and just use tofu. Or you can use sliced chicken or chicken and shrimp. You could use sliced pork or beef, but those proteins are not as common for Pad Thai. The ingredient list may look intimidating, but once you have everything prepped, the process is quick, and you’ll love having a restaurant quality meal at home! And if you want to tackle another popular Thai noodle dish, try my Pad See Ewe.