Pad Thai Noodles

Pad Thai

If I’m going to make Thai noodles, nine times out of ten it’ll be a simpler spicy noodle with garlic and Chinese cabbage.  But sometimes, and I’m pretty sure you’ll all agree, only Pad Thai will do, with those chewy, sticky noodles, a sweet and slightly spicy sauce, crunchy beans sprouts and peanuts, and a sprinkling of fresh herbs.  There’s a reason why it’s one of the world’s favorite Asian dishes.

Even just a few short years ago, the idea of making Pad Thai would have seemed overwhelming.  So.  Many.  Ingredients.   But I didn’t go on this culinary adventure to back down from food challenges.  So I finally put on my big girl pants, made the rounds to the grocery store, Asian supermarket and farmer’s market, and gave it the ol’ college try.

Pad Thai

And wow.  I’m pretty sure that a large number of Thai restaurants would go out of business if more people knew just how easy it is to make Pad Thai at home.  You’ll have to make a special trip to the Asian grocery store, sure, but that’s pretty much the most difficult part.

And please don’t go crazy (or get lazy) and make the very Americanized versions of this dish.  Friends don’t let friends make Pad Thai with peanut butter.  Tamarind is a non-negotiable ingredient.  No Asian market nearby?  Amazon is your friend.

While the noodles are soaking, just be sure to get all of your ingredients chopped and organized.  Mise en place will make all the difference in this recipe, as it’s a quick race to the finish once the chicken is cooked.

Pad Thai


Pad Thai Noodles

Although there are a lot of components to pad thai, you can easily prep the sauce and all of the ingredients while the rice noodles are soaking and the chicken is marinating. Once the 30 minute soak and marinade is done, the noodles come together in just minutes.

I like a mix of proteins in my pad thai, but feel free to use just shrimp, chicken or tofu if you'd like.

Yield: 4 side servings; 2 as a main dish

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes


* 8 ounces dried rice noodles (banh pho)
* 4 ounces chicken, cut into strips or large chunks
* 1 Tablespoon palm sugar (can substitute light brown sugar)
* 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
* 1/4 c cup canola or another frying oil
* 4 ounces medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined
* 2 eggs, lightly beaten
* 1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 4 ounces drained, firm tofu, cut into small cubes
* 1-1/2 cups bean sprouts
* 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves
* 1/2 cup 1-1/2" lengths green onion
* 1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
* 1 lime, cut into wedges

* 2 Tablespoons Sriracha chile sauce
* 2 Tablespoons palm sugar (can substitute light brown sugar)
* 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
* 3 Tablesoons tamarind concentrate
* 1/4 cup water


Place the rice noodles in a large bowl and cover with warm water. Let soak for 30 minutes, drain and set aside. Combine the chicken, 1 Tablespoon of palm sugar and 1 Tablespoon of fish sauce and set aside for 30 minutes.

While noodles are soaking and the chicken is marinading, prep all of your ingredients and make the sauce by combining all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and stirring well to combine.

Heat the oil in a wok or a very large skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook until they turn pink. Immediately remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside in a small bowl. Add the eggs to the same oil. Let cook until partially set, and then scramble. Remove the egg to the same bowl as the shrimp.

Add the shallots and cook until they begin to turn golden. Add the garlic and cook another minute or two. Add the chicken and all of the marinade. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the outside of the chicken is no longer pink (it does not need to be cooked through at this stage). Add the tofu and cook for another minute.

Add the drained noodles and cook until they begin to soften and begin to brown a bit on the edges. Add the prepared sauce and bean sprouts and stir well to mix. Add the cilantro, green onion, the reserved shrimp and eggs, and half of the chopped peanuts and cook until everything is nice and hot. Remove from the heat, transfer to individual dishes and sprinkle with the remaining peanuts. Squeeze a wedge or two of lime on each serving.

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15 Responses to “Pad Thai Noodles”

  1. #
    Ashley @ Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen — February 1, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    I love Pad Thai, and I usually make a tofu version. Love that this one has chicken and shrimp. Yum! Absolutely beautiful!


    • Cate — February 1st, 2014 @ 5:55 pm

      Thanks Ashley :)


  2. #
    Barbara — February 2, 2014 at 10:09 am

    In your list of ingredients you accidentally omitted how much canola oil to use. I’ve never had Pad Thai but it sounds and looks delicious! Glad you’re back to posting! Missed your posts!


    • Cate — February 2nd, 2014 @ 10:56 am

      Oops- thanks for the catch! Making the change now…


  3. #
    Lauren — February 27, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    I do love *good* pad Thai and I TOTALLY agree tamarind is a must. I’ve had trouble though with the brands of concentrate I can find though and skip it and use the bricks of pulp. Now that I’ve learned how to use it (what a mess the first couple of times) I actually prefer it.

    Thanks for the post! Must mean I need to put it on the dinner list soon!


  4. #
    Kate — April 12, 2014 at 9:47 am

    I really love this blog and the idea behind it. I’m also so jealous that you live in Hawaii! I’ve been visiting Hawaii about twice a year for the last four years, since dating my boyfriend, since his family lives on Oahu. Anyway i hope to see some more posts soon. The Thai recipes are inspiring to me, since I’ve never cooked Thai and eaten almost no Thai food (a peanut allergy has prevented it). I recently went out and bought Pok Pok’s cookbook, determined to master it for myself if I can’t eat it at restaurants. I’ll be referring to your site this summer for the project, too. Thanks!


    • Cate — October 4th, 2014 @ 6:42 pm

      Thanks for the sweet comment Kate! If you’re still on a Thai kick, I definitely recommend “Easy Thai Cooking” and “Simple Thai Food”… they’re a little bit more accessible than Pok Pok.

      You’ve probably even visited Hawaii since you posted this comment (sorry, took a loooong blog break)- hope you had a good time :)


  5. #
    Millie l Add A Little — June 7, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    Pad Thai is one of my favourites and this looks so tasty!!


  6. #
    Ami@NaiveCookCooks — June 11, 2014 at 10:03 am

    I love pad thai noodles!! This looks mouth watering good!


    • Cate — October 4th, 2014 @ 6:21 pm

      Thanks so much Ami!


  7. #
    Barbara — July 3, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Kate- When are you coming back? I miss your posts!


    • Cate — October 4th, 2014 @ 4:42 pm

      SOON! I promise :)


  8. #
    winnie — August 20, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Hope you are all right and that you haven’t lost your blogging mojo. I miss your posts. Aloha – Winnie


    • Cate — October 4th, 2014 @ 4:35 pm

      Sorry for the delayed response Winnie. Everything is fine… just busy. Hoping to get back in the groove very soon :)


  9. #
    Annette E — August 3, 2015 at 4:44 am

    I was curious if you have a recipe for your “spicy noodle with garlic and Chinese cabbage” that you mentioned. I looked on your site but did not see it? Please let me know! Great site btw!


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