The Ultimate Guide to Making Classic Pad Thai
Our Pad Thai recipe, crafted by studying Thai street food videos, provides you with all the necessary ingredients and instructions to prepare authentic Pad Thai
- For the Pad Thai Sauce:
1.5 ounces of tamarind pulp (plus ½ cup of boiling water)
3 tablespoons of sugar
3 tablespoons of fish sauce
2 tablespoons of Thai black soy sauce (seek the “Healthy Boy” brand)
1 teaspoon of Thai sweet soy sauce (optional)
1/4 teaspoon of white pepper (adjust to your preference)
- For the Rest of the Dish:
8 ounces of dried Pad Thai rice noodles
8 ounces of chicken breast, cut into thin pieces
1 teaspoon of Thai light soy sauce
1 teaspoon of cornstarch
1 teaspoon of water
1/3 cup of small dried shrimp (minced or processed into a coarse powder)
3 cloves of garlic (sliced)
2 large shallots (thinly sliced; you can use red onion as a substitute)
2 tablespoons of preserved Thai salted radish (preferred) or Chinese mustard stem (rinsed in warm water and julienned; optional — preserved salted radish is a Thai product, but if unavailable, zha cai can be used)
3 large eggs (whisked, preferably at room temperature)
2 cups of washed and drained mung bean sprouts
1 cup of Chinese garlic chives (cut into 1-inch pieces)
2 tablespoons of finely chopped roasted peanuts
6 tablespoons of vegetable oil, to be used separately
- To start, create the sauce. Take the tamarind pulp (a block about 1 x 2 inches or 2.5 x 5 cm) and combine it with ½ cup of boiling water (add more if needed to fully dissolve the paste). Dissolve the pulp in the hot water, then strain the mixture through a fine-meshed strainer, discarding the solids. To the resulting liquid tamarind concentrate, add the sugar, fish sauce, Thai black soy sauce, Thai sweet soy sauce (if using), and white pepper. Set this sauce aside.
- Soak the Pad Thai noodles in hot water for approximately 20 minutes, then drain them in a colander. If the noodles are very long, consider cutting them into 10- to 12-inch lengths for easier stir-frying.
- Marinate the thinly sliced chicken by combining it with 1 teaspoon each of Thai thin soy sauce, cornstarch, and water. Set aside.
- Now, ready the dried shrimp by mincing them into a coarse powder (you can use a food processor for this). Prepare the garlic, shallots (or red onions), preserved Chinese mustard stems (zha cai), eggs, mung bean sprouts, garlic chives, and peanuts. Ensure everything is prepared before starting the cooking process.
- You’re now set to start cooking! Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in your wok over high heat until it begins to smoke. Add the chicken and sear it until it turns golden and is just cooked through. Remove the chicken from the wok and keep it aside
- Pour an additional 3 tablespoons of oil into the wok. Over medium heat, add the shrimp powder and fry it until it becomes fragrant and crisp (about 2 minutes).
Introduce the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, followed by adding the shallots and zha cai. Continue stir-frying for an additional 30 seconds.
- Increase the heat to high, and add the noodles and sauce. Stir-fry to combine, using your wok spatula to spread out and break up the noodles.
- Create an open space on one side of the wok by pushing the noodles to one side. Drizzle 1 more tablespoon of oil into the open space and pour in the beaten eggs. Use your spatula to gently fold them, scrambling without breaking them up too much. When the eggs are about 70% done, stir-fry to distribute them into the noodles.
- Add the bean sprouts and chives, stirring to combine and allowing the chives to wilt. Then, reintroduce the cooked chicken and stir-fry to combine everything thoroughly.
Plate the dish, garnish with crushed peanuts, and serve!
Pad Thai is akin to a cozy blanket. It’s a beloved comfort food of our generation, featuring those delightful chewy noodles, crispy peanuts, the sweet and tangy sauce, and an abundance of chives, bean sprouts, and chicken to make it a complete meal.
In crafting this recipe, I meticulously studied numerous street food vendor videos, capturing every detail and addition involved in preparing this iconic dish. This recipe encompasses all the essential ingredients and instructions required to create Pad Thai in the comfort of your own home.
I once had a friend who embarked on a journey to Thailand, spending months indulging in Pad Thai from the bustling streets of Bangkok. Upon her return, she declared that she could never go back to the overly sweet, neon-red versions often served in the United States.
We’ve strived to replicate the exquisite blend of savory, sweet, tangy, and shrimp-infused goodness that characterizes a genuine Pad Thai, while featuring the universally beloved addition of chicken. If you have a preference for Shrimp Pad Thai, be sure to check out my dad’s recipe