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Super Moderator
7,978 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Great Pad Thai is dry and light bodied, with a fresh, complex, balanced flavor. It should be reddish and brownish in color. Not bright red and oily like I've seen in the US. The ingredients listed below can be somewhat intimidating but many are optional. If you would like to make authentic Pad Thai, just like in Thailand, use all the ingredients.

Pad Thai is another perfect vegetarian dish, just omit shrimp and substitute soy sauce for fish sauce. Add more tofu if you like.

From street carts, you can also often find an older, more traditional version of Pad Thai made with dried shrimp.

2-3 Servings, Prep Time: 40 Minutes, Total Time: 40 Minutes

1/2 package Thai rice noodles
1-1/3 cup bean sprouts Optional
1/2 banana flower Optional
1-1/2 cup Chinese chives Optional
2 tablespoon cooking oil
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
2 tablespoon sugar
1 minced shallots
1 tablespoon preserved turnip Optional
1/3 cup extra firm tofu
1/2 lime
2 tablespoons peanuts Optional
1/2-1/4 lb shrimp Optional
ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground dried chili pepper
3 cloves minced garlic
4 teaspoons fish sauce
1 egg

Tips and Techniques
•By far, the trickiest part is the soaked noodles. Noodles should be somewhat flexible and solid, not completely expanded and soft. When in doubt, undersoak. You can always add more water in the pan, but you can't take it out.
•Shrimp can be substituted or omitted.
•In this recipe, pre-ground pepper, particularly pre-ground white pepper is better than fresh ground pepper. For kids, omit the ground dried chili pepper.
•Tamarind adds some flavor and acidity, but you can substitute white vinegar.
•The type of super firm tofu or pressed called for this recipe can be found at most oriental groceries in a plastic bag, not in water. Some might be brown from soy sauce, but some white ones are also available. Pick whatever you like.
•If you decide to include banana flower, cut lengthwise into sections (like orange sections). Rub any open cut with lime or lemon juice to prevent it from turning dark.
•The original Pad Thai recipe calls for crushed roasted peanuts. Thailand is hot and humid and storage conditions are often sub-optimal, so a certain fungus can grow on peanuts. This fungus is linked to cancer, so many people in Thailand avoid eating peanuts.
•One of the big challenges with Pad Thai's measurements is that the flavor densities and characteristics of the 3 core flavor ingredients: fish sauce, tamarind and lime juice vary greatly from brand to brand and purchase to purchase. Plus the salt content of your fish sauce, dried shrimp and preserved turnips will likely differ from ours. You will need to taste this as you're making it and keep the 3 flavors, salty, sweet and sour, in balance to your liking.


Start with soaking the dry noodles in lukewarm or room temperature water while preparing the other ingredients. Getting the noodles just right is the trickiest part of making Pad Thai. Make sure that the noodles are submerged in plenty of water. Check out Tips and Substitutions for in depth explanations. By the time you are ready to put ingredients in the pan, the noodles should be flexible but not mushy. Julienne tofu and cut into 1 inch long matchsticks. When cut, the super firm tofu/pressed tofu should have a mozzarella cheese consistency. You can fry the tofu separately until golden brown and hard, or you can fry with other ingredients below.

Cut the Chinese chives into 1 inch long pieces. Set aside a few fresh chives for a garnish. Rinse the bean sprouts and save half for serving fresh. Mince shallot and garlic together.


Use a wok. If you do not have a wok, any big pot will do. Heat it up on high heat and pour oil in the wok. Fry the peanuts until toasted and remove them from the wok. The peanuts can be toasted in the pan without oil as well. Add shallot, preserved turnip, garlic and tofu and stir them until they start to brown. The noodles should be flexible but not expanded at this point.

Drain the noodles and add to the wok. Stir quickly to keep things from sticking. Add tamarind, sugar, fish sauce and chili pepper. Stir. The heat should remain high. If your wok is not hot enough, you will see a lot of juice in the wok at this point. Turn up the heat, if it is the case.

Make room for the egg by pushing all noodles to the side of the wok. Crack the egg onto the wok and scramble it until it is almost all cooked. Fold the egg into the noodles. The noodles should soft and chewy. Pull a strand out and taste. If the noodles are too hard (not cooked), add a little bit of water. When you get the right taste, add shrimp and stir. Sprinkle white pepper around. Add bean sprouts and chives. Stir a few more times. The noodles should be soft, dry and very tangled.

Pour onto the serving plate and sprinkle with ground pepper and peanuts. Serve hot with the banana flower slice, a wedge of lime on the side, raw Chinese chives and raw bean sprouts on top.

As always, in Thailand, condiments such as sugar, chili pepper, vinegar and fish sauce are available at your table for your personal taste. Some people add more chili pepper or sugar at the table.

The Mad Scientist
1,500 Posts
We can get pretty good thai food here but I might have to give this a try. I'll have to go shopping at the oriental market. First time I went there it was a cultural experience for sure! Any favorite brands I might find there, like fish sauce?

Super Moderator
7,978 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
3 crabs is one I like, but, my favorite is Phu Quoc. Be sure and pick one that is as clear as possible. Dark or black ones, leave on the shelf. Por Kwan is a good brand of tamarind paste.

Super Moderator
7,978 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
This is a good brand of Thai dried chili. It is very hot. You can use other chili or none if you want. I spoon on Prik Nam Pla instead of dried flakes. (That's Fresh diced little bird eye chilis diced and soaked in fish sauce.).


4,517 Posts
OOOOhhhhh .... this sounds good !!!!!!!! .... going shopping later today to buy ingredients.
Thanks Larry

Super Moderator
7,978 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
For any of you that have tried the pad thai, did you try the Chinese chives? Here is a recipe that my daughter cooks very often.

1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Shaoxing cooking wine
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 rounded tbsp. minced garlic
6 cups bean sprouts, rinsed and dried
5 ounces Chinese chives, ends trimmed, cut into 2-in. lengths, or green onions, dark green part only (cut lengthwise in half first)
Salt and pepper

1. Blend your cooking sauce: In a small bowl, mix together fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and rice wine.

2. Have your other ingredients lined up next to the stove: oil, garlic, bean sprouts, and Chinese chives.

3. Heat a large--12 inches or wider--heavy skillet or wok over high heat. Swirl in oil. Toss in garlic and fry, stirring constantly, for 15 seconds until it just begins to brown. Add bean sprouts and then cooking sauce, and fry, stirring and tossing, for about 90 seconds. Sprinkle in chives and cook, tossing well, for 30 to 60 seconds.

4. Remove pan from heat and stir in a couple of pinches of pepper, and salt to taste. Lift the sprouts out of the hot pan and onto a platter quickly, so they don't continue cooking.


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