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Thai Stirfried Noodles | Pad Thai | ผัดไทย

Thai Stirfried Noodles | Pad Thai | ผัดไทย

The exact date that I started this blog two years ago has come and gone…  I guess that’s what happens when you’re having fun riding roller coasters with your adorable niece instead of writing blog posts!  But we shouldn’t let minor details like exact dates prevent us from continuing to celebrate, right?!

We kicked off the two-year anniversary celebration with a video of how to make som tam (Thai green papaya salad).  This was a dish that I had made many times before, but it wasn’t until I watched the boyfriend’s mom make it that I realized how a good som tam should be made.  So how about continuing the video series with another dish that I’ve struggled to get right?  Yes, you guessed it.  Next up is pad Thai!

Thai Stirfried Noodles | Pad Thai | ผัดไทย

Because pad Thai is so loved here in America, it was one of the very first dishes that I tried to make.  And that first attempt was, well, memorable.  But it wasn’t because I did anything heinously wrong.  I started with a decent recipe.  I had the right ingredients.  I had a general idea of what I was supposed to do.  It just wasn’t a stellar pad Thai.

Several attempts later, I finally had a dish that was blog-worthy (let’s call it year 0).  But when I tried to make it again, I found that it would be absolutely wonderful sometimes and only so-so other times.  And I have to admit, it’s pretty embarrassing to invite friends over for a so-so pad Thai!

So over the course of the next year, I continued to practice and experiment (year 1).  I realized that the two main problems I was having were 1) proper rehydration of the pad Thai noodles and 2) getting the taste of the pad Thai sauce just right.  For the noodles, fixing this problem was as simple as doing a little experiment with my kitchen timer.  After a few trials, I concluded that precooking them for 6 minutes produced the perfect noodle consistency for me  (I’d encourage you to do the same experiment in your own kitchen).  The sauce was a little harder to get right because it was based on taste, but with a year’s worth of tasting experience, I had gotten to the point of being able to taste and adjust until it was just right.

Thai Stirfried Noodles | Pad Thai | ผัดไทย

This year (year 2), I’ve formalized the sauce even more.  Because after tasting and adjusting and tasting and adjusting, I realized that I was always needing to add more sugar to achieve the perfect balance.  This new sauce works well for me without so much reliance on my tastebuds, which is always a good thing when you’re just starting to cook Thai food!  In addition to perfecting the sauce, I’ve also realized the importance of getting the sauce to noodle ratio just right.  Because no matter how good your sauce is, if you don’t add enough of it, you’re going to end up with bland noodles.

With these simple little tweaks, making pad Thai is easier now than ever.  The recipe and video below incorporate everything I’ve learned about making pad Thai over the past two years.  I hope it helps in making your pad Thai the best you’ve ever eaten!

Thai Stirfried Noodles | Pad Thai | ผัดไทย

Makes 1 serving

Thai Stirfried Noodles | Pad Thai | ผัดไทย


    Pad Thai Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon tamarind paste (see instructions below)
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon palm sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon white sugar
  • Pad Thai Noodles
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon shallots, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salted radish, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fried tofu, sliced into small rectangular pieces
  • 3-4 medium sized shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 Tablespoons pad Thai sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon shrimp paste in soya bean oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 ounces dry medium size rice noodles
  • 1/4 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/4 cup garlic chives, cut into 1" pieces
  • 2 teaspoons roasted peanuts, chopped
  • lime slices, roasted chili flakes, white sugar as accompaniments


    To Make Pad Thai Sauce:
  1. Make tamarind paste by mixing 1/4 cup of wet tamarind with 1/2 cup of hot water. Mash between your fingers until the tamarind forms a paste and then strain to get all seeds and veins out.
  2. Mix the tamarind paste with the other sauce ingredients and heat over medium heat until everything is dissolved.
  3. To Make Pad Thai Noodles:
  4. Prepare your pad Thai sauce and all other ingredients. Once you start cooking, you won't have time to wash, chop, or mix anything.
  5. Heat a pot of water on medium heat until small bubbles appear on the bottom. Blanch the rice noodles in this water for 6 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, heat a wok to medium-high heat. Add a bit of oil and wait until it's hot. Then add the garlic, shallots, and salted radish and saute until garlic is golden brown.
  7. Add the fried tofu and shrimp and saute until they are cooked through. By the time they're done, your rice noodles should also be done.
  8. Drain the rice noodles and immediately put into the wok. Add the pad Thai sauce and shrimp paste in soya bean oil and stir to incorporate.
  9. Move everything to the side of the wok and scramble an egg on the other side. Once it's done, incorporate it with the noodles.
  10. Add the bean sprouts, garlic chives, and peanuts. Stir fry for just a few seconds more until the chives are barely wilted. Take off the heat immediately.
  11. Serve with lime slices, roasted chili flakes, and white sugar on the side. Enjoy!


35 comments… add one
  • Kristi May 23, 2018, 10:18 pm

    I bought tamarind paste. I’m confused whether it’s ready to go or if I have to mix with water as you have instructed?

    • Kristi May 23, 2018, 10:51 pm

      I meant tamarind concentrate.

    • Rachel June 5, 2018, 2:43 pm

      Hi Kristi,
      Tamarind concentrate is ready to go. If you start with whole, fresh tamarind or a paste which is just tamarind mashed together, then you need to mix it with water to form a “paste”.

  • Kiki March 7, 2016, 11:17 pm

    I grew up in Seattle with tons of delicious Asian food within 5 minutes of my house. I now find myself in city/state with nearly NO good Asian food, so I was delighted to find your blog! For me, this recipe is superb! Exactly like a lot of the Pad Thai I grew up eating in Seattle. My favorite is chicken Pad Thai, so I swapped the shrimp for chicken. I’m not sure if the switching made the difference, but the shrimp paste was a little heavy for my taste when doing it with chicken, so I reduced the shrimp paste by nearly half and it turned out perfect. THANK YOU!!! I’ve been dying for some good Thai, and am so excited that I can now eat delicious Thai I make at home! THANK YOU!!!! Trying out the Yellow Curry next per my hubby’s request. Can’t wait to try it!

    • Rachel March 7, 2016, 11:29 pm

      Hi Kiki, thanks for the report back! I’m so glad that you gave it a try and enjoyed it :)

  • GAN August 9, 2015, 12:10 am

    Hi, Rachel!

    Thank you for the recipe!
    I’m gonna make it next 2 week and bring to the Potluck Night party.
    And I have to introduce about cooking Pad Thai, so I would like to use your photos to show to all participants.
    So may I use your Pad Thai photos to show them?

    (Sorry I’m not good at English.)

  • Josh May 23, 2015, 2:22 am

    I made this recipe tonight almost exactly as described (I left out the tofu). It was incredible and in my opinion this dish had the exact taste of the takeout I love so much. To those trying to make pad thai at home for the first time, I have the following advice: tasting the sauce before mixing it in with the other ingredients does not really give you a representative idea of how the final meal will turn out. I found the sauce to be quite sweet, but pleasant. A friend of mine who recently visited Thailand told me that the pad thai there is often sweet, but to those who prefer a more savory taste, I would omit the white sugar and add half quantity of palm sugar (I haven’t tried this yet but I will on my next attempt). I soaked the noodles for and hour in room temp. water before frying. I have read in other recipes and in the accompanying comments that this is the best way to prep the noodles. I have not tried cooking them in hot water, but I chose not to since I did not want to overcook and potentially ruin the food. Finally, if you like your noodles saucy (I like a saucy noodle) I would consider to make 1.5 portion of the sauce. This recipe makes dry, but delicious, noodles so use your judgement. :)

  • Kexet April 29, 2015, 8:54 am

    Just tried this recipe, it’s really simple and super tasty! Also, that drink in the background looks really good, may I ask what it is?

  • Lynda April 26, 2015, 5:31 am

    Which brand of phad Thai noodles should I buy? Which one do you recommend?

  • Chef Garrin January 14, 2015, 9:07 pm

    Re; Pad Thai noodles. The best way to prepare your noodles is to just let them soak in cool water for a few hours, they will soften up to perfection when added to the dish……. I tell my students never to pre-cook noodles or soak in hot water as you end up cooking the noodles twice.

  • Lee July 13, 2014, 2:13 pm

    Thanks for posting such great recipes!! I am going to make this one tonight. I tried the pad see ew and the green curry (with Mae Ploy) and they were both amazing! They were both just as good as what you would get in a thai restaurant (and I live in a city with a large Asian population with tons of great thai restaurants). I can’t even tell you how many bad thai recipes I have stumbled upon (on the larger food websites) trying to figure out how to make yummy thai food…. Ketchup in pad thai, no tamarind sauce in pad thai, lemongrass and ginger in pad see ew, suggesting honey OVER Palm sugar, etc. No wonder so many people think they can’t cook good thai food at home! So thanks for posting real thai recipes with authentic thai taste! And the videos make it even easier. I hope you continue this blog for a long time and keep giving us amazing recipes! :D

    • Rachel July 13, 2014, 5:18 pm

      Aww, thanks for such a sweet comment, Lee!

  • LauraNOC March 4, 2014, 9:37 am

    I will give your recipe a try. No matter what I do, my Pad Thai doesn’t taste as crispy as the one at the restaurant. I am guessing it’s because I am using an electric stove.

    • Rachel March 6, 2014, 3:13 pm

      Yes, that probably has a lot to do with it. It also seems that restaurants tend to use a lot of oil in making their pad Thai, which most home cooks (or at least I) tend shy away from :)

  • Ted November 15, 2013, 10:36 am

    Excellent video and narrative on how to improve over time. Just wanted to let you know that many of us are allergic to shrimp and you should make sure your guest know there is shrimp paste in your Pad Thai. Some folks thing the allergy is to iodine in the shrimp but it is really to the proteins in the shrimp itself. Have you cooked any good curries that you especially like? I was also wondering about Thai Barbeque….I can’t seem to get the sauces in balance.

  • Website May 6, 2013, 2:16 pm

    Hey there! Someone in my Myspace group shared this site
    with us so I came to check it out. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m
    book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers!

    Fantastic blog and amazing style and design.

  • Sonal April 28, 2013, 6:30 pm

    Hi Rachel,

    I am a vegetarian, can you please suggest a substitute for fish sauce?


  • Cath April 25, 2013, 7:59 am

    Hi Rachel,

    Thanks for you detailed instructions on how to make the pad thai sauce. Otherwise my ripe tamarind would have all gone to candied tamarind land! I love your recipe. keep up the amazing blog.


  • marymoo March 12, 2013, 3:35 am

    Can’t wait to try, I will not be able to find the shrimp paste? Rats! This is my sons favorite food, sometimes its great but sometimes its soso! But he loves them all, great for me! We went to Bangkok two years ago and I am now in love with thai food. My favorite was the tom yum on the floating market. Gf said don’t eat the street food but I just kept stuffing my face! :) love all your recipes n videos, hopefully it will help me out in the kitchen! Thanks

  • Jean November 16, 2012, 5:28 pm


    I want to attempt this for my mom’s birthday on Saturday. She is from Thailand and is the biggest critic of local Thai restaurants, so I don’t know what I’m thinking!! Anyway, I can’t locate any palm sugar. My mom might have some in her pantry, but I don’t want her to catch me. What can I use as a substitute, if any? More sugar? Thanks!

    • Rachel November 17, 2012, 6:18 am

      Hi Jean! I’m really not sure – I’ve seen brown sugar being used instead, but haven’t tried this, so I can’t vouch for it. Alternatively, you could make another noodle dish like pad see ew that doesn’t require palm sugar :) Best of luck!

  • Jo@foodepix.com November 11, 2012, 1:10 pm

    Your pictures are lovely, would love for you to share your pictures with us at foodepix.com.

  • Katia November 10, 2012, 8:47 pm

    Question: how are you able to scoop palm sugar from the jar? Do you reheat it in the microwave?

    • Rachel November 10, 2012, 9:48 pm

      I’m just fortunate enough to find soft palm sugar (see pantry page) rather than the hard rounds or blocks that are more common. When I’m forced to work with the harder variety, I generally use a cheese grater to shred it.

  • Katia November 8, 2012, 7:52 pm

    I just discovered your website last night. Someone pinned your recipe on Pinterest! Omg! I love your website. I read thru all of your posts and recipes. I can’t wait to try your pad Thai recipe! I have been craving for it! I do make my sauce like yours. Love the video too! Yay!

    Happy cooking.

    Your New fan, katia

    • Rachel November 10, 2012, 5:12 pm

      Thanks, Katia! You’re too sweet :)

  • Jess November 8, 2012, 5:44 am

    Rachel, this looks so delicious! Your photos are gorgeous. I definitely plan on trying this Pad Thai recipe.

  • Debby November 8, 2012, 3:38 am

    I’ve just made your sauce for a rice noodle dish tonight. I don’t want to call it pad thai since I didn’t have all of the necessary ingredients to make it. The sauce was delicious! Thank you for sharing your recipe. I can’t wait to make it again with all the right fixings!

    • Rachel November 10, 2012, 5:11 pm

      Debby, I’m so impressed that you had everything to make the sauce on hand!

  • Tali Simon @ More Quiche, Please November 7, 2012, 9:58 pm

    I’m a kosher vegetarian, so any recipe with shrimp is not something that tends to interest me. I clicked on your video on a whim, though, and I have to tell you — this is one of the best recipe videos I’ve watched to date. Beautiful work!

    • Rachel November 8, 2012, 2:15 am

      thanks, Tali!

    • Jaffa March 12, 2015, 11:31 pm

      You can go to the recipe of the Kosher pad thai…

  • Mary C. November 6, 2012, 11:12 am

    Hi Rachel,

    I love Pad Thai and want to try making it at home, but only have Tamarind Paste from my local
    Indian Grocer. Is this the same? I don’t have a Thai store or even Vietnamese grocer in my
    area and know that sometimes we can substitute. Thanks.

    • Rachel November 6, 2012, 2:59 pm

      Hi Mary! As long as the tamarind paste is just tamarind and water, it should work well. Because it may be more or less concentrated than what this recipe calls for, I’d encourage you to taste the sauce as you’re making it and adjust accordingly. Best of luck!

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