Pad Thai is an iconic Thai Noodle dish that has flavors of sweet, sour, and saltiness. Then topped with crunchy bean sprouts and peanuts.
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.
Pad Thai with Shrimp and Tofu
Make this popular Thai dish of noodles with a sweet and sour sauce.
Pad Thai Sauce (Makes about 4 servings):
- 1 Cup Brown or White Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Tamarind Concentrate
- 1 Tbsp Fish Sauce or can substitute with 1 Tsp Salt. But Fish Sauce will make it taste more authentic.
- 1 Tbsp Siracha Sauce
- Taste and adjust to your preference
Pad Thai (Makes 1 Large Serving):
- 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil Can use avocado, grape seed, or canola oil. But don't use olive oil. The taste is too strong
- 1 Large Clove Garlic minced
- 4 Shrimp
- 1/2 Cup Fried Tofu Cubes
- 1 Egg
- 4 oz Rice Stick Noodle Softened in water if using dried
- 1/4 Cup Water
- 1/4 Cup Pad Thai Sauce See above
- 1/2 Cup Bean Sprouts
- 1/4 Sliced Green Onions
- 2 Tbsp Crushed Roasted Peanuts
- Sliced Lime, Chili Pepper Flakes, Sugar, Fish Sauce
Pad Thai Sauce:
Mix all ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside if making dish now, or store in the fridge up to 1 week.
If using dried rice stick noodles, soak in room temperature water for at least 2 hours. The longer the noodles soak, the less chewy they will be. If you using fresh noodles then remove 4 oz from the bag.
To fry the tofu, use a small skillet and cover the bottom with oil. Use extra firm tofu, remove from packaging, and place between paper towels to drain out all the water. Slice tofu into small rectangles and fry each side until golden, drain on a paper towel and set aside.
Heat wok over medium heat with 2 tbsp of vegetable oil, place minced garlic, be careful not to burn, then add shrimp and cook until pink, remove shrimp and set aside.
Add noodles, water, and Pad Thai sauce, then turn heat up to medium high. Toss around to allow noodles to soak up the liquid. Push noodles to the side and pour in the egg. Break the yolk and allow it to set then place noodles on top to cook the egg.
Add shrimp, tofu, half of the bean sprouts, half of the green onions, and half of the crushed peanuts. Use tongs and toss with the noodles. Pad Thai is done once most of the liquid is absorbed.
Plate and serve with remaining bean sprouts, green onions, and peanuts on the side. Also add lime slices for squeezing on top, dried chili flakes for extra spice, and if you like more sugar, or fish sauce.