Pad Thai

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as copied from Chez Pim. this is a very good base recipe for making Pad Thai with your own adjustments. so you can experiment to your heart's (or stomach's) content. i've put it into a format that's more quick-glance-recipe-friendly. some paraphrasing to save space and some slight changes to the recipe. i also highly recommend going to read article from actual site.

original recipe from Chez Pim

be fore-warned, if you are unaccustomed to the smell of fish sauce, making the sauce is an extra...aromatic affair. but once mixed into noodles and all, delish! a fish sauce alternative for vegans is recommended in the Notes.
500g (or about 16oz) dried rice noodles, 6-8 portions (Chantaboon or Pho-style) OR
500g (or about 16oz) fresh rice noodles (about 3-4 portion)
Sauce, enough for approximately 6 servings
1/2 cup tamarind pulp*
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp palm sugar
1/2 cup fish sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
chilli powder, to taste
items to be added per portion
2 oz chicken, cut into bite-size piece [optional]
small handful tofu, cut into thin bite-size pieces
garlic, chopped
1 egg
7 medium size shrimps per portion, peeled [optional]
1 tbsp pickled turnips
1-2 tbsp grounded peanuts
1-2 tbsp dried shrimp, pounded until fluffy [optional]
1 cup, more or less bean sprouts,
handful garlic chives (Chinese chives) cut into 2-inch pieces.
lime wedge
Special equipments
sieve or chinois, for straining pulp
mortar and pestle, for pounding nuts and dried shrimp
1. prepping the noodles
soak noodle in warm water until soften. don't soak until the noodle is soft enough to eat, or it will turn into mush in the wok.  just until it's pliable, then drain well. set aside.
2. sauce
a) in a small pot over a low flame stir together, tamarind, fish sauce and palm sugar. taste and adjust. more tang, add more lime juice; more sweet, add more sugar; more saltiness, more fish/soy sauce
b) add chili powder, tasting and adjusting. turn off the heat when the sauce begins to simmer and let it rest. this will form base for Pad Thai. store in jar in fridge, if not using immediately.
3. adding the rest
a) heat a large wok over high heat until very hot, to the point of smoky. add a splash of oil, about 3-4 tablespoons.  don't be shy, this ain't no diet food.
b) if you are making chicken Pad Thai, add the chicken first, cook, stirring vigorously, until it's half way done, about 1-2 minutes, then add the tofu, a tablespoon or two of the sauce to flavor the chicken, and a pinch of garlic if you're using it.  if you are making tofu or shrimp and tofu Pad Thai, then only add the tofu (and garlic) for now.  cook for another minute until the tofu is crisp and slightly brown at the edges.
c) add the noodle, about 2 loosely packed cups for one portion is my standard, and then a ladle (about ΒΌ cup) of warm sauce.  stir rigorously,  keep everything moving in the wok, and cook the noodle until soft.  remember to break up the noodle and don't let it lump together.  if the sauce evaporates too quickly and your noodle isn't quite ready, sprinkle a bit of water and keep stirring.  add a bit of oil if the noodle still stubbornly sticks together.  as i said, this ain't no diet food.
d) when the noodle is ready (taste it to be sure), push it up to one side of the wok and crack an egg into the middle.  let it set for 10-15 seconds and toss everything all together.
e) add the shrimp meat, pickled turnips, ground peanuts, ground dried shrimp, bean sprouts.  keep things moving.  add more sauce if it looks a little pale.
f) when the shrimps are done, shouldn't take more than a minute, add a handful of Garlic Chives.  turn the heat off, and quickly give the wok a good stirring to mix everything together.
g) add the finished Pad Thai to a plate and serve to your first lucky dinner guest.  give the used wok a quick rinse with warm water, wipe off any excess bits of food with a warm towel, then put the wok back on to the fire.
h) as soon as it heats back up to a smoking point, you're ready to do another portion.  repeat this process until all your dinner guests are fed.  keep them lubricated and happy with ample supply of Riesling, Champagne, and/or beer while they wait.  that's how i do it!
* i have tamarind in block form as it keeps longer. in order to reconstitute, cut off around 2 tablespoons worth of tamarind and set in 1/2 cup of boiled water. allow to sit until pulp softens. press pulp through mesh strainer with the back of a spoon, pulling out pits. this might be a lot of tamarind for some people, so adjust as you go along. you can save the remaining amount of tamarind pulp in fridge as it keeps for quite a long time. (if you decide to pulpify the whole block, cut into 1/4 inch strips, soaking in 4 cups of water, to help distribute pulp and water.)

i have also pounded shrimp and nuts in a small sturdy bowl with the wooden handle of a knife, when a mortar and pestle is not at hand. just don't put an eye out.


-tamarind paste: equal parts dates, dried apricot and lemon juice is a decent approximation of flavor. Pulp and strain dates and apricot as you would with tamarind.
-rice noodles: whole wheat angel hair. i think the extra nuttiness of the whole wheat complements this dish quite well, in my humble opinion.
-palm sugar: 1/3 c light brown sugar. palm sugar has a more subtle creamier taste than brown sugar. very good sprinkled on plain congee as a quickie dessert. don't use dark brown as it has a harsher flavor.
-garlic chives: green onions, green parts only. add more garlic to add more pungency.
-fish sauce: vegans on top of leaving out meat items, can substitute Healthy Boy Soy Sauce for the fish sauce, as recommended by Pim. this does have wheat/yeast additive; wheat gluten conscious people be fore-warned.

San-J puts out a wheat-free (and Kosher) soy sauce: Tamari Soy Sauce, Wheat-free, Organic. La Choy is more accessible and also claims to only use soy in it's soy sauce, though the caramel colouring is suspect... here's a list of Gluten-Free soy sauces.
Meal   LunchCuisine   Thai
Dish   Main DishCooking Method   Pan Fried
Main Ingredient   PastaStyle   One Dish Meals
Features   Dairy-Free, High-Fiber, Vegetarian, Wheat/Gluten-Free

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