Delectable Pad Thai

For an authentic version of pad thai like how it’s served by street vendors in Bangkok, look no further than this recipe from It offers a basic version of the meal that everyone can enjoy, along with a number of optional flavor additions and cooking tips.

Gather the ingredients

To prepare a genuine pad thai, you’ll probably need to make a trip to an Asian grocery store for some of the less common items. Otherwise, the majority of ingredients can be found in the international aisle of your local grocery.

The most accessible items you’ll need are 1/2 package of rice noodles, 1 minced shallot, 1 egg, 1/3 cup firm julienned tofu and 1/2 lime. You may need to do some searching for 2 tablespoons tamarind paste and 4 teaspoons fish sauce. The remaining ingredients you’ll already have in your kitchen: 2 tablespoons cooking oil, 3 cloves of minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon ground dried chili peppers and a dash of ground pepper.

In addition to those essential ingredients, you can add a number of optional items to your dish if want to customize the flavor. These include 1 1/3 cups of bean sprouts, 1 1/2 cups Chinese chives, 1 tablespoon of preserved turnip, 2 tablespoons of peanuts and 1/2 pound of shrimp.

Preparing the meal

While you’re slicing, dicing and measuring your other ingredients, let the noodles soak, submerged in lukewarm water until they’re flexible.

Heat up a wok or large pan so it’s hot and fry the peanuts in the oil, removing them once they’re toasted. Then, do the same with the shallot, garlic, preserved turnip and tofu; once they start to brown, add in the drained noodles, stirring the mixture and adding in tamarind, sugar, fish sauce and chili pepper.

Cook the egg in a separate corner of the wok, mixing it into the noodles right before it’s done cooking. Add any final ingredients at this time before serving with ground pepper, peanuts, a lime wedge and Chinese chives.

Tips for creating the perfect dish

According to, it’s crucial that the noodles be supple yet firm, solid without being hard and not completely soft. It’s safest to under-soak them until you gradually reach the right pliability.

Also important to concocting the perfect pad thai is finding the right flavor balance among the fish sauce, tamarind paste and lime juice. Each of these ingredients can vary in flavor potency based on the brand and quality of the purchase, so it’s important to taste and adjust the levels of these influencers as desired.  If you can’t obtain tamarind paste, substitute it with white vinegar.

You can accent the presentation of the pad thai by adding a banana flower to the plate, cutting it lengthwise into sections, rubbing the exposed areas with the lime to keep it bright.

The next time you’re craving Thai cuisine, head to the grocery instead of a restaurant and master this homemade meal so you can make it for your friends and family whenever you want.


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