An easy recipe for Pad Thai 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!
- 3–4 ounces dry pad thai noodles (rice noodles)
- Boiling water to cover noodles
- 1 large shallot, finely diced ( much better than onion here)
- 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)
- 6–8 ounces tofu, chicken breast or peeled prawns
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil, wok oil or coconut oil
- 1 lime
Pad Thai Sauce:
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce (see notes- or use vegan fish sauce)
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar (or coconut sugar, palm sugar or regular sugar) see notes
- 3 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar (or tamarind water– see notes)
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce (or GF liquid aminos like Braggs)
- lime wedges, fresh bean sprouts, chili flakes, chopped scallions, roasted peanuts.
- COOK NOODLES: Cook noodles according to package instructions (or place rice noodles in a shallow bowl or baking dish and boil enough water to cover them. Cover with boiling water for 7- 8 minutes, until tender, then drain. They don’t have to be totally soft, just bendy and pliable)
- Chop shallot, garlic and ginger and set aside.
- Whisk the two eggs with a fork and add a generous, 3-finger pinch of salt.
- Make the Pad Thai Sauce Whisk fish sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar and soy sauce. (see notes) in a small bowl.
- Prep and Cook the protein: Chicken: slice chicken into very thin strips and season with salt and pepper. Crispy Tofu: Blot tofu with paper towels pressing down firmly. Cut tofu into ¾ inch cubes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and for extra crispy, dredge in a little corn starch. Shrimp: Peel and season with salt and pepper. COOK: Sear the seasoned chicken, shrimp or tofu in a wok with hot oil until cooked through over medium-high heat. Set aside, on top of a paper towel, wipe out the pan. Turn heat off.
- STIR FRY: Gather your chopped shallots, whisked eggs, cooked noodles, cooked protein and Pad Thai sauce around the stove. Heat 2 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil in the wok over medium heat, add shallot-garlic-ginger and stir, cooking just a few minutes until golden and fragrant.
- Make a well in the center of the wok, 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 continuing to break them into small bits.
- Add the drained, semi-soft noodles and toss with the egg mixture, stirring, flipping, frying constantly for 3-4 minutes, until noodles become soft and pliable.
- Add the Pad Thai Sauce and cook 1 minute. It will smell quite fishy at first – turn your fan on – but it will mellow out perfectly. Add the cooked chicken, tofu or shrimp and turn and toss the noodles for a few more minutes. 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 roasted peanuts (or serve on the side) and sprinkle with chili flakes and scallions. Squeeze with the lime. Taste. Adjust salt, lime and sweetness to your liking adding a pinch of salt, more lime or more sugar to taste. Give one more toss and serve immediately. Divide among two plates.
- Garnish with more bean sprouts, fresh scallions, cilantro or basil, chili flakes, lime wedges and roasted crushed peanuts. Or make this Peanut Chili Crunch!
DO NOT BE tempted to cut out the sugar – understand that Pad Thai Sauce is a very delicate balance between sweet (sugar), salt (fish sauce) and acid (vinegar or tamarind) . 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 and fish sauce as well. 🙂 *Leaving the sugar or honey out will result in terrible Pad THAI! Also the same with leaving out the fish sauce (or vegan fish sauce) or leaving out the acid.
Fish sauce: If you are not accustomed to fish sauce, or are using a brand you haven’t tried before (some are fishier than others) feel free to go a little lighter on the fish sauce. It is an acquired taste. If going less, you will need to add a little more salt to taste.
DOUBLING: Doubling the recipe will double the time and be much harder to manage all at once, in one wok. If doubling, I highly recommend cooking in two batches in the wok.
Use time-saving ingredients 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!
Tips for health: 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) and poach in the pan or wok for just a few minutes. Drain and set aside. The thinner you slice the chicken the faster it will cook.
TIPS for flavor:
- Peanut Oil and chili flakes really really elevate this dish!
- Tamarind: If using tamarind (instead of rice vinegar) make tamarind “water” by mixing 1 -2 teaspoons tamarind paste with 2 tablespoons water. Or use 1-2 teaspoons tamarind “concentrate” with 2 tablespoons water. Use in place of the vinegar. This is more traditional but I realize not everyone has access to tamarind. Tamarind is extremely sour so if unfamiliar, go light. You can always add more.
- TEXTURE IS KEY! Everything from frying the noodles to adding the bean sprouts and roasted peanuts elevates this.
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