Here is the BEST 15 MINUTE PAD THAI- a simple, flavorful, authentic recipe made with accessible ingredients that can be made with chicken, tofu or shrimp in no time flat! Gluten-free and Vegan adaptable!
Hello new favorite dinner! Here’s a quick and easy Pad Thai recipe that contains very accessible ingredients and only takes about 15 minutes of actual cooking time – the BEST! Please read the recipe notes for a few tips and tricks to make this even faster! The best part though? It tastes the incredible! Seriously! But don’t take my word for it….give it a try yourself and see what you think. Make this vegan with pan-seared tofu and vegan fish sauce, or make it with chicken or shrimp. So versatile!
This easy pad thai recipe came about after Brian and I went to Seattle a few weeks ago, taking a much needed break from catering. We sat at the counter at Brian’s favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant- Thai Tom, in University District, in the direct line of fire, where servers would pick up food to deliver, causing us to lean to the left or right every few seconds, while hot sizzling dishes passed within inches of our faces. We noticed that everyone was ordering Pad Thai!
We watched as the line cook busted out plate after plate during the dinner rush, while the line-up out the door grew longer and longer. After having one bite of it, I knew why. I immediately started paying attention. It was like watching an artist at work. I watched the line cook make order after order, watching the quantities of ingredients that went into each order, and committed it to memory.When we got home, I started practicing. For several weeks now, we’ve been having Pad Thai and each time it tastes just a little better. I used to make a more authentic version, emulating what we learned in Thailand- using tamarind and such, but after Thai Tom, I’ve paired it way down. It really doesn’t need to be complicated to taste amazing. It is really all about balance!
Give it a try. Once you have the ingredients together, see if you can cook it in 15 minutes! It’s a fun challenge. It took me 20 the first time, then finally down to fifteen! Read the whole recipe through first and then give it a go. You will be faster and faster the more you practice, and I think you will like the recipe enough to want to try this over and over.
Here’s a quick video if you want to watch how to do it!
It is easiest to make this Pad Thai using a wok ( I really like this one), but you can also use a skillet, if in a pinch.
Put on your apron and fire up that wok!
This can be made with tofu (like you see above) or chicken or shrimp — take your pick. If going for chicken, make sure to read the notes at the bottom of the recipe, especially if looking to reduce fat. We’ve been poaching the thinly sliced chicken in a bit of water instead of frying it, and this is the way it was done at the restaurant. In fact, they actually poached the chicken in water ahead to save even more time, which is always an option.
Cutting the chicken very thinly really cuts down on cooking time, plus it just works better in the recipe. Remember to cut across the grain. So here I’ve cut it into ⅛ -¼ thin strips about two inches long.
To save a few calories, I poach it in a little salted water, until cooked through which just takes a couple minutes. Then I set it aside.
I think the secret to this flavorful recipe is the shallot. And of course garlic. But shallot more than anything adds so much flavor to this dish, way more than substituting onions. So try to seek out shallots at your grocery store, it will make a big difference -trust me!
Sometimes I’ll add ginger, but it’s not imperative- and to save time, I’ll use store-bought, already peeled garlic.
Ginger paste, that comes in a tube is also another time-saving product I’ll buy at the grocery store.
Saute the garlic and shallot and prep the remaining ingredients.
Prep the protein, whisk the eggs, combine the pad thai sauce ingredients and soften the noodles.
Pour boiling water over rice noodles and let them soak just until they are pliable (about 7-8 minutes) They don’t need to be totally soft, as they will soften as you sauté them.
Then start cooking, making sure everything is close to the stove!
If going for a vegan pad thai, make the vegan fish sauce recipe ahead, it’s actually quite good, and keeps for months.
I hope you after you make this, you think this is the Best Pad Thai recipe, you’ve ever made too! 😉 Haha. Let me know in the comments below!
Happy weekend. xoPrint
The Best 15 Minute Pad Thai
The Best 15 MINUTE PAD THAI- an easy recipe with simple accessible ingredients with the most amazing flavor! The best part … once you have your ingredients together it only takes 15 minutes of actual cooking time! See recipe notes for tips and tricks!
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 15 mins
- Yield: 2
- Category: Vegetarian Main
- Method: stir fried
- Cuisine: Thai
- 3- 4 ounces dry pad thai noodles (rice noodles)
- Boiling water to cover noodles
- 6-8 ounces tofu, chicken breast or peeled prawns
- salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil, wok oil or coconut oil
- 1 large fat shallot, finely diced
- 3-4 chopped garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon chopped ginger (optional)
- 2 eggs, whisked with a fork with a generous 3-finger pinch salt ( if vegan, leave it out)
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce (or vegan fish sauce)
- 3 tablespoons sugar (or coconut sugar, palm sugar or brown sugar) see notes
- 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce (or GF liquid aminos like Braggs)
- Chili flakes to taste
- juice of ½ lime, plus more for garnish
- lime wedges, fresh bean sprouts, chili flakes, chopped scallions, roasted peanuts.
- Place rice noodles in a shallow baking dish and boil enough water to cover them. Cover with boiling water for 6- 8 minutes, until tender, then drain. ( They don’t have to be totally soft, just pliable)
- In the mean time, slice chicken into very thin strips, ⅓ inch thick x 2 inch long, and season with salt and pepper. (Alternately, press tofu with paper towels to blot dry well. Cut tofu into ¾ inch cubes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and for extra crispy, dredge in corn starch) Sear the seasoned chicken or shrimp (or poach -see notes below) or sear tofu in a wok with hot oil until cooked through over medium high heat. Set aside, blot with paper towels, wipe out pan. Turn heat off.
- Chop shallot, garlic and ginger very finely. Set aside.
- In a small bowl whisk the two eggs with a fork and a generous, 3-finger pinch of salt.
- In another small bowl, mix fish sauce, sugar, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. ( see notes)
- Gather your bowls around the stove. Heat 2 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil in the wok over medium heat, add shallot, garlic ginger and stir, cooking a few minutes until golden and fragrant.
- Make a well in the center of the wok, and add the whisked eggs. With a metal spatula, scramble them and break them apart into little bits, letting them brown just little, and incorporate them into the shallots and garlic, continuing to break them into small bits.
- Add the drained, semi-soft, noodles and toss with the egg mixture, stirring, flipping constantly for a few minutes, until noodles become soft and pliable.
- Add the Pad Thai Sauce and the chicken, tofu or shrimp. Turn and toss the noodles for a few more minutes. It will smell quite fishy at first – turn your fan on – but it will mellow out perfectly. Cook until the noodles are soft (but still a little chewy) adding just a little water if it seems too dry. Toss in the bean sprouts and peanuts ( or serve on the side) and sprinkle with chili flakes and scallions. Squeeze with the lime. Give one more toss and serve immediately. Divide among two plates.
- Garnish with bean sprouts, fresh scallions, cilantro or basil, lime wedges and roasted crushed peanuts.
Tips for speed. Doubling the recipe will double the time and be much harder to manage all at once, in one wok. If doubling, I would highly recommend cooking in two batches in the wok.
Use time saving ingredites like store-bought peeled garlic ( or minced garlic) and ginger paste in a tube. Using pre-cooked chicken is fastest -leftover rotisserie chicken is perfect. Also you could make the Pad Thai sauce ahead!
An easy way to cut back on the oil in the recipe is to poach the thinly sliced chicken in a little salted water (just enough to barely cover) in the pan or wok for just few few minutes. Drain and set aside. The thinner you slice the chicken the faster it will cook.
You may be tempted to cut back on the sugar, but understand that pad thai sauce is a very delicate balance between sweet ( sugar), salt (fish sauce) and acid (vinegar) . I’ve already lowered the sugar as much as I could, while preserving the balance. That being said, if you are intent on cutting the sugar back, cut back the on the vinegar as well. 🙂
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