Overhead photo of Chicken Pad Thai on a rustic white plate with a side of cucumbers, ready to be eaten.
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4.95 from 101 votes

Pad Thai

Recipe video above. Here's an everyday Pad Thai recipe that really does taste just as good as takeout and you'll find everything you need at the supermarket. This is the recipe I make most of the time. See here for a truly authentic Pad Thai recipe, if that's what you're after. I use chicken here but feel free to switch with any protein, even prawns/shrimp. 
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Mains
Cuisine: Thai
Keyword: Pad Thai, What is pad thai?
Servings: 2 - 3 people
Calories: 650kcal
Author: Nagi

Ingredients

  • 125 g / 4oz Chang's Pad Thai dried rice sticks (Note 1)

Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp tamarind puree (Note 2)
  • 3 tbsp (packed) brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce (Note 3)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce (Note 4)

Stir Fry:

  • 2 - 3 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 onion , sliced (brown, yellow)
  • 2 garlic cloves , finely chopped
  • 150 g/5oz chicken breast (or thigh) , thinly sliced
  • 2 eggs , lightly whisked
  • 1 1/2 cups of beansprouts
  • 1/2 cup firm tofu, cut into 3cm / 1 1/4" batons (see photo)
  • 1/4 cup garlic chives , cut into 3cm / 1 1/4" pieces
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped peanuts

For serving=:

  • Lime wedges (essential)
  • Ground chilli or cayenne pepper (optional)
  • More beansprouts

Instructions

  • Place noodles in a large bowl, pour over plenty of boiling water. Soak for 5 minutes, then drain in a colander and quickly rinse under cold water. Don't leave them sitting around for more than 5 - 10 minutes.
  • Mix Sauce in small bowl.
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large non stick pan (or well seasoned skillet) over high heat. Add garlic and onion, cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add chicken and cook for 1 1/2 minutes until mostly cooked through.
  • Push to one side of the pan, pour egg in on the other side. Scramble using the wooden spoon (add touch of extra oil if pan is too dry), then mix into chicken.
  • Add bean sprouts, tofu, noodles then Sauce.
  • Toss gently for about 1 1/2 minutes until Sauce is absorbed by the noodles.
  • Add garlic chives and half the peanuts. Toss through quickly then remove from heat.
  • Serve immediately, sprinkled with remaining peanuts and lime wedges on the side, with a sprinkle of chilli and a handful of extra beansprouts on the side if desired (this is the Thai way!). Squeeze over lime juice to taste before eating.

Notes

1. I've tried every rice stick sold at supermarkets in Australia. Chang's is the best - it's less prone to breaking when it's tossed in the pan. See photo in post. If you can't find Chang's, use another that is 2 - 3 mm / 0.1 " thick. Avoid wider rice noodles, they are more prone to breaking.
If using the the Erawan brand rice noodles (see photo in post), soak in room temp tap water for 40 - 45 minutes until noodles are silky but still a touch firm. DO NOT follow the packet directions to boil - they disintegrate in the pan!
125g doesn't sound like much noodles but they expand when soaked.
2. Tamarind is the heart and soul of Pad Thai. The authentic version starts with tamarind pulp which needs to be soaked then strained. Puree is sold in a jar at supermarkets (Asian section), far easier! It's a scoopable soft paste (see video).
It can be labelled as Tamarind Puree, Concentrate or Paste. In Australia it's sold at Woolies, Coles, Harris Farms (Asian section) as well as Asian stores. There's a few different ones on Amazon US - here is the cheapest one
Use leftovers for  Beef Rendang !
KETCHUP SUBSTITUTE if you can't find tamarind. Use this for the Pad Thai Sauce instead of ingredients listed above:
1 tbsp ketchup, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 2 tbsp fish sauce, 2 tsp oyster sauce, 1 tsp dark soy sauce*, 2 tbsp rice vinegar (or 1 tbsp white vinegar).
See in post for explanation, and cynics, don't judge until you've tried this! It's remarkably good and quite close to the base Pad Thai recipe!: 
* This is mainly for colour, so can be substituted with light or normal soy sauce and flavour will still be the same.
3. Can be substituted with light soy sauce though you will lose a bit of the flavour edge that fish sauce gives it.
4. Not in authentic Pad Thai but is essential for this everyday version.
5. Garlic chives look like blades of grass and taste like garlicky chives. If you can't find them, it's not a deal killer. Best to substitute with chopped shallots (aka green onion / scallions)/..
6. General note: I use a skillet here, I find it easier. But if you have a well seasoned wok, make it in that if you want!
7. Nutrition per serving, assuming 2 servings. The weight doesn't take into account the water absorbed by the noodles. I think it's closer to 350g / 12oz per serving. It's a generous serving!

Nutrition

Calories: 650kcal