A traditional version of Thailand’s best-known dish. The balance of flavours in this Pad Thai recipe is surprising plus it is super easy to prepare.
Pad Thai is a traditional street food from Thailand. We already cooked Pad Thai before we travelled to Asia, but it was there that we learned all the secrets to making it like a true Thai. The result is a noodle dish with a lot of texture with well-balanced acid, sweet and salty flavours.
Be careful with too many adaptations
The preparation of this Pad Thai recipe is relatively simple. The biggest challenge is to find some of the ingredients outside Asia, which are often sold only in Asian store. Of course, there are substitutes, but each ingredient has its function that guarantees the harmony of the dish. I advise you to prepare the complete recipe at least once.
Don’t overcook it
If you are not used to cooking with the Wok pan, know that it requires high heat and fast cooking. It is essential to ensure that all ingredients are prepared and separated into bowls before going to the fire. If you cook it for too long, it can ruin everything because the noodle needs good texture and the bean sprout must keep its crispness.
The sauce needs to be balanced
You can adjust the sauce according to your taste. Change the amount of sugar to make it more or less sweet. If you like more acid you can add more tamarind juice. Do not be afraid of fish sauce, if you use the amount indicated in the recipe, it shouldn’t be a problem. The recipe does not take salt because the fish sauce is already salty. If you need salt, adjust with a little more fish sauce. If you don’t want to increase the amount of fish sauce, add soy sauce.
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Pad Thai: Authentic & Easy
- 120 g dried rice noodles – ~5mm width
- 6-8 medium-sized shrimp – fresh
- 1/2 cup hard tofu – cut into small cubes
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp dried shrimp – chopped
- 2 tbsp sweet fermented radish – (optional)
- 2 cups bean sprouts
- 10 stems garlic chives – or 6 stems spring onions – cut into 3cm pieces
- 1 shallot – or 1/2 red onion – chopped
- 3 tbsp roasted peanut – roughly chopped
- 4 tbsp tamarind juice – (or 1 tbsp tamarind pulp – see instructions)
- 2 tbsp fish sauce – Nam Pla
- 2 tbsp palm sugar – can be substituted by light brown sugar
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 lime
- dried chilli flakes – to taste
Prepare Tamarind Juice
- In a bowl, mix 1 tbsp of tamarind pulp soup (peeled tamarind fruit) with 1 cup of hot water. Let it rest for about 15 minutes. Then, massage the tamarind pulp with your hands until the seeds come off. Drain the juice with the help of a sieve. Planning tip: the juice can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Prepare the Noodles
- Soak the dry noodle in water for 30 minutes. Planning tip: prepare the day before, drain the water and leave in the refrigerator in a closed container (valid for up to 3 days).
For the Pad Thai
- Heat a wok over high heat. Add 2 tbsp of oil, then add the shrimps. Sear shrimps for 1 min on each side. Remove them from the wok and set aside.
- In the same wok, add more 2 tbsp of oil and fry the tofu dices until golden. Be careful not to stir the tofu too much and shatter it.
- Add chopped onion, dry shrimp and sauté well.
- Add the noodle and stir. Then, add the sugar, tamarind juice and fish sauce. Toss the noodle until it absorbs all the sauces.
- Taste the noodle and check the cooking point. If necessary, add a little water and keep tossing until it absorbs the liquid again.
- Pull the noodle to the sides of the wok, leaving an empty space in the centre.
- Break the eggs into the empty space and stir until it is well spread throughout the centre of the wok.
- Cook the eggs for about 20 seconds.
- Break up and rough scramble the egg.
- Flip the noodles back to the centre, toss it well so that the eggs are well mixed with the noodle.
- Add the bean sprouts, chopped chives, grilled shrimps and ground roasted peanuts. Turn off the heat and stir well until all the ingredients are well mixed.
- Split the Pad Thai into 2 plates.
- On the side of each plate, put lemon wedges, extra grounded peanuts and red chilli flakes.
- Fresh shrimps can be substituted by chicken or pork meat. In this case, let the meat marinate for a few minutes in fish sauce or soy sauce to add flavour.
- For a vegetarian version, do not add the shrimps (fresh and dry) and replace the fish sauce with soy sauce.
It is perfect with a glass of cold tea.