What is Pad Thai?
Pad Thai is a Thai stir-fried noodle dish with rice stick noodles, shrimp, chicken, fried tofu and eggs. It’s topped with crushed peanuts and served with fresh chives, lime wedges, with condiments such as sugar, fish sauce and chili powder on the side.
The noodles are cooked over high heat in a wok, with a sweet, savory, sour and spicy Pad Thai sauce. It is a popular street food in Thailand and sold by many street vendors. It’s also available in Thai restaurants.
What are Pad Thai ingredients?
- Flat rice noodles (also labeled as rice sticks)
- Fried tofu
- Bean sprouts
- Chicken and/or shrimp
- Crused peanuts
- Fresh limes
You can get the ingredients easily from regular supermarkets and in the International food aisle. Otherwise, you can buy them online or go to an Asian store.
The Origin of Pad Thai
The dish was born, with much fanfare, during a competition masterminded by Prime Minister Plaek Phibunsongkhram some time in the 1940s, when Thai nationalism was on the rise.
The goal of the competition was to identify a noodle dish that was Thai and the dish was born. (Most noodle dishes in Thailand Thailand are Chinese in origin, for example: Pad See Ew.)
What is Pad Thai Sauce Made of?
There are two types of Pad Thai sauce: tamarind based and vinegar based.
The sauce is the soul of the dish and you should make it from scratch. It calls for only five ingredients such as fish sauce, tamarind, chili powder, sugar and water. Mix the ingredients together to make the sauce.
Authentic Pad Thai noodles are made with tamarind. Tamarind is prepared by extracting the juice from tamarind pulps, which comes in a block in a clear plastic packaging. You can also buy tamarind concentrate which can be diluted with water.
However, you can make the sauce without tamarind, by substituting tamarind with vinegar, which is what I use for my recipe here.
There are many bottled sauces in the market but they don’t taste as good and not authentic because it’s loaded with chemicals, preservatives and MSG.
How to Prepare Dry Pad Thai Rice Stick Noodles?
There are many kinds of Pad Thai rice stick or flat rice noodles available in the market. They vary in their width so for the best Pad Thai, you want to use rice noodles that are about 1/10″ wide, as pictured above.
To prepare the fry rice noodles, follow the package instructions to boil them in hot water first. The rice noodles should be soft (but still chewy and not mushy) after boiling. Rinse the boiled noodles with cold running water before cooking.
Is It Healthy?
My homemade Pad Thai recipe is healthy as it’s loaded with vegetables. You can also make it with either shrimp or chicken. It’s also low in calories at 357 calories per serving. It’s very easy to make and the taste is better than Thai restaurants or takeouts. Enjoy!
What Dishes to Serve with this Recipe?
For a wholesome and authentic Thai-style dinner at home, make the following dishes.
Pairs well with:
Pad Thai Recipe
Pad Thai is stir-fried rice noodles in a sweet, savory and spicy Pad Thai sauce. Easy and authentic recipe like Thai restaurants and takes only 15 mins to make.
- 4 oz packaged flat rice noodles
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 4 oz medium-sized shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 2 oz fried firm tofu, cut into slices
- 1 large egg
- 4-6 oz bean sprouts
- 1 oz Chinese chives or scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
- 2 tablespoons crushed peanuts
- lime wedges
1Follow the package instructions to boil the dry rice noodles. The rice noodles should be soft (but still chewy and not mushy) after boiling. Rinse the boiled noodles with cold running water.
2Mix all the ingredients in the Seasonings in a small bowl until well combined and the sugar completely dissolved, set aside.
3Heat up a skillet on high heat and add the oil. As soon as the oil is heated, add the garlic into the skillet and start stirring until you smell the aroma of the garlic. Add the shrimp and the tofu pieces into the skillet and continue stirring. As soon as the shrimp changes color, add the noodles into the skillet and stir continuously, about 30 seconds. Use the spatula to push the noodles to one side of the skillet, and crack the egg on the empty side of the skillet. Use the spatula to break the egg yolk and blend with the egg white, let cook for about 30 seconds. Combine the egg and the noodles, and add the Seasoning sauce. Stir to combine well with the noodles.
4Next, add the bean sprouts and chives and continue stirring. As soon as the bean sprouts are cooked, stir-in the crushed peanut. Turn off the heat and serve the Pad Thai immediately with the lime wedges.