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Take it from a Thai person, it's hard to find a really good, authentic pad thai outside of Thailand. I've searched high and low, and concluded that the best option is to master cooking it at home. This recipe is the real deal with all the ingredients of a traditional pad thai—no compromise.
I'll share all the tips and tricks and provide substitutions for ingredients you may not have. Make sure you also watch the video tutorial because this is a dish that's better learned visually and the techniques are important to success!
Pro Tip: Pad thai is easy to make, but it isn't quick if you make everything from scratch. So to prep it for a weeknight meal, check out my post on How to Make Authentic Pad Thai in 5 Minutes!
What does REAL traditional pad thai look like?
You've probably had pad thai in your local restaurant, but what you had may not be anything like the authentic version. First, it should not have ketchup or any tomato product in it. Second, it should not be syrupy sweet. And finally, it shouldn't be just a heavy, soggy clump of noodles with bits of green onions.
Real pad thai should be:
- Stir-fried in a hot wok, so the noodles come out dry with a little smokiness, not wet.
- A good balance of sweet, salty and sour, not leading with any one flavour.
- LOADED with beansprouts which lightens the noodles and add freshness.
- Have lots of "bits" in it which gives complexity: shallots, garlic, tofu, dried shrimp, etc.
- All in all it should be a well-balanced dish that leaves you satisfied, and not heavy.
Why is it so hard to find good pad thai in restaurants?
Cooking pad thai is not that hard, but the fully-loaded, traditional version has a lot of ingredients, not all of which are easy to find. For many restaurants some ingredients may not be available, the many prep may be too complex for their simple operation, or they need to keep the cost of such a staple item low. So things get left out and substituted.
But each ingredient in pad thai contributes a flavour. Nothing in there is added just for "fluff" - so the more you take away, the less complex the flavour becomes. Sure, you can omit or substitute a few things without much harm, but past a certain point, the flavour suffers significantly.
Ingredients for Pad Thai
Here's everything you'll need, with more details on a few less common ingredients and how to substitute them.
FOR THE SAUCE:
- Tamarind paste - This is a key ingredient for the sauce, and homemade is recommended for best flavor. Here's how to make tamarind paste from pulp. A store bought one is fine to use to make life easy, but do make sure it is a product of Thailand or Vietnam, not India, and should be a brown liquid with a pourable consistency.
- Palm sugar - Choose high quality palm sugar when possible, for more info check out my ultimate guide to palm sugar. If not available, substitute equal weight of light brown sugar.
- Fish sauce - Good fish sauce is perhaps the most important thing for flavour. For more info, here's my guide to fish sauce. If you're vegetarian, check out my vegan pad thai recipe.
FOR THE PAD THAI:
- Dried shrimp - Can be omitted if not available or allergic.
- Pressed tofu (pic below) - Sometimes labeled as bean curd, this is the firmest of all tofu. Extra firm tofu can be substituted, but if you feel like they might break in the wok, pan-frying them first will firm up the exterior and prevent breaking.
- Sweet preserved radish (chai po waan, pic below) - Can be omitted if not available. These sweet-salty chewy bits of preserved daikon is always added to pad thai in Thailand. You'll likely need to go to a specifically Thai grocery store to find these, and it may come whole or pre-chopped. Japanese sweet preserved daikon, takuan, makes for a decent substitute and is much easier to find. Note that there is also a salty Thai preserved radish, which cannot be used instead.
- Chili flakes - Optional but recommended. Pad thai is really much better when it's a little bit spicy!
- Roasted peanuts
- Rice noodles - I recommend Erawan Brand size medium (pic below) which is the traditional size used in Thailand. If using a different brand, you might need to adjust the amount of water and soaking time.
- Bean sprouts - Go for mung bean sprouts, not soybean sprouts.
- Garlic chives - If you can't find these at your regular Asian store, try looking at Japanese or Korean markets also. You can substitute green onions but the two really do taste different. If using green onions, finely chop them as they have a much stronger taste than garlic chives.
- Lime wedge for serving.
PS. You can make the sauce fresh as I showed in the video tutorial, or make it in bulk in advance and keep it in the fridge for months! Check out this large-batch recipe for pad thai sauce.
Pro Tip: Emergency Noodle Soaking
Medium size Erawan Brand dry rice noodles take about 1 hour to soak in room temperature water. Brands that are thinner, such as Thai Kitchen, will take less time, but the final texture won't be as good. You can use warm water to lessen the time required, but keep an eye on them and drain the noodles once they become opaque white and completely pliable (i.e. they don't resist gravity at all.) Don't over-soak.
If you're about to cook and forgot to soak them, don't panic! They can be soaked in 3 minutes in hot off-the-boil water, but it's a bit risky so I try to avoid this. Too long in hot water and they will become too soft, so you MUST time it and place them in cold water immediately after.
How to Make Pad Thai
I highly recommend watching the full video tutorial to ensure success, but here's a bird's eye view of what you need to do:
- To make the sauce, melt and caramelize the palm sugar.
- Add water to stop the caramelization.
- Add fish sauce and tamarind and bring to a simmer.
- Off heat and let it sit until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Cook off the shrimp (or any other protein you're using). Remove from pan.
- Saute shallots, garlic, tofu, dried shrimp, preserved radish, and chili flakes.
- Add the soaked noodles.
- Add the sauce.
- Toss until the noodles have absorbed all the sauce.
- Push the noodles to one side and add the eggs to the space you've made and break the yolks.
- Put the noodles on top of the eggs and let it cook for 15-30 seconds.
- Flip and toss to mix.
- Add the peanuts, bean sprouts and garlic chives.
- Turn off the heat and toss until the beansprouts are incorporated and slightly wilted.
- Plate and top with more peanuts and shrimp.
- Don't forget to add fresh lime before eating!
How to Make Pad Thai in 5 Minutes
Pad thai made from scratch isn't exactly weeknight-friendly because there's so much prep to do. But good news: the prep can be done days in advance so you can have pad thai on a Tuesday night in minutes, just like at a restaurant!
There are "4 levels of preparedness" when it comes to pad thai prep, all of which I explain in detail in this video, and even doing just level 1 in advance will save you a lot of time. If you've got all 4 levels done, you can cook pad thai in 5 minutes - watch me do it in real time!
FAQ's & Common Issues When Making Pad Thai
You used the wrong tamarind. You probably used "tamarind concentrate" from India, which is entirely different from the one we use in Thailand and is much more concentrated. It can be used but you'll have to dilute it. Unfortunately I've not personally used it so I don't know for sure how much water to add, but I would start with using just 1 Tbsp of the concentrate mix with 3 Tbsp water. See this video for everything you need to know about tamarind, and this video on how to make tamarind paste at home.
First, if you're struggling with getting a good texture for rice noodles, try this easier pad thai with glass noodles. It tastes just as good, and is SO much easier to perfect.
Now, your rice noodles. There are a couple common mistakes:
1) Do not boil the noodles before using. Dry rice noodles only need to be rehydrated for 1 hour in ROOM TEMP water, and they will finish cooking in the liquid of the sauce.
2) Do not crowd the pan, especially if you have a weak stove. If you crowd the pan you'll trap too much steam, which causes the noodles to boil rather than fry. I recommend making no more than 2 portions in one wok at a time, but if you want to cook a larger batch, you need to reduce the amount of water in the sauce.
Make sure you measure the ingredients correctly. This is not the recipe to "eyeball". The sauce amount is designed to be perfect for the amount of noodles, so if you eyeball the noodles and use too much, it will be too diluted.
Rest assured, you pad thai is NOT supposed to be orange! Many restaurants will add ketchup and paprika to boost the colour in order to make it look more appealing, but this is not traditional.
However, we DO make a type of pad thai that is a little orange, and that colour comes from shrimp tomalley which we render out into oil and use it to cook pad thai. Check out this easier pad thai recipe where I also show how to make shrimp oil that boosts the flavour of pad thai!
Pad thai is not a dish I recommend making for a party. It's hard to make a large amount of pad thai using a home stove—you will need to make multiple batches.
Also, the noodles don't sit well and they are best when eaten fresh off the wok. If they sit for too long the noodles will start to clump up together.
It IS possible to do it for a not-too-big party, but I would cook multiple small batches, and plan it so that people will eat them shortly after they're done.
Pad thai, and rice noodles in general, do not keep well. One day in the fridge isn't too bad; it can be microwaved or re-fried in a pan with a tiny splash of water. But after multiple days in the fridge, the noodles will harden and can't really be brought back to life. Check out my glass noodle pad thai for a version that can keep and reheat better.
Don't modify this recipe! Use my awesome vegan pad thai recipe here instead!
Yes. I'd marinate them first so they have some flavour: For 8 oz (225 g) of thinly sliced pork, chicken or beef, add 2 tsp (10 ml) soy sauce, ¼ tsp (1.25 ml) sugar and 1 Tbsp (15 ml) water. Mix well and let it sit for at least 15 minutes.
Cook it off first the same way I do the shrimp in this recipe, and toss them back to the pan at the end.
Glad you asked! My other favourite is this easy drunken noodles recipe (pad kee mao) which also comes together in just a few minutes after the prep is done. Or if you want something not spicy, pad see ew is a cult-favourite that is very simple and kid-friendly!
Watch The Full Video Tutorial!
All my recipes come with step-by-step video tutorials with extra tips not mentioned in the blog post, so make sure you watch the video below to ensure success - and if you enjoy the show, please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel. Thank you!
*If you prefer, you can also watch the video on YouTube.
Authentic Pad Thai Recipe
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 2 servings
- Category: Noodles
- Cuisine: Thai
- Diet: Gluten Free
This pad thai recipe is the real deal. Fully loaded with all the classic ingredients an authentic pad thai should have. Perfectly balanced flavour that is complex and not overly sweet. It's also naturally gluten-free. Vegetarian or vegan? Check out my vegan pad thai recipe.
Pad Thai Sauce
- 35 g palm sugar, chopped (3 Tbsp tightly packed)
- 3 Tbsp (45 ml) water
- 4 Tbsp Thai cooking tamarind (see note 1, and also see how to make tamarind paste from pulp)
- 2 Tbsp good fish sauce (how to choose good fish sauce)
- 4oz (115g) dry rice noodles, medium size, soak in room temp water for 1 hour (see note 2)
- 2 Tbsp dried shrimp, medium size, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- ¼ cup roughly chopped shallots
- 3 oz (85 g) pressed tofu, cut into small pieces
- 3 Tbsp finely chopped SWEET preserved daikon radish (see note 3)
- Dried chili flakes, to taste (optional)
- 3 Tbsp (45 ml) vegetable oil
- 10 medium sized shrimp, or as many as you like (to sub other protein, see note 4)
- 2 eggs
- 2 ½ cups (120 g)bean sprouts, loosely packed
- 7-10 stalks (70 g) garlic chives, cut into 2” pieces
- ¼ cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
- 1 lime
- Garnishes and condiments for serving: chili flakes, roasted peanuts, bean sprouts and garlic chives.
(In Thailand, fresh banana blossom is sometimes served on the side of pad thai. I don't love them personally, but if you do and can find them, go for it!)
To make pad thai sauce (see note 5):
- Add palm sugar to a small pot and melt over medium heat. Once the sugar is melting, keep stirring until it darkens in colour (see video for colour). Immediately add water, fish sauce, and tamarind paste. The sugar will harden immediately and this is okay.
- Bring sauce to a simmer, then turn off heat. The hardened sugar will not have dissolved at this point, but let it sit while you prep other ingredients and it should be dissolved by the time you need it. Check that it is dissolved before you start cooking!
To make pad thai (see note 6):
- Cut drained noodles once with scissors so they are half as long. This makes them easier to toss and separate in the wok.
- In a bowl, combine tofu, garlic, shallots, preserved radish, dried shrimp, and chili flakes.
- Heat a wok or a large nonstick skillet over high heat and add just enough oil to coat the bottom. Sear shrimp, or whatever protein you're using, until done and remove them from pan.
- In the same wok over medium heat, add a little more oil if needed, then add everything in the tofu bowl and sauté for a few minutes until garlic starts to turn golden and shallots are wilted. If the wok looks dry, add a little more oil. (Don't skimp on oil otherwise the noodles will clump up together.)
- Turn heat up to high then add noodles and sauce. Keep tossing until all the sauce is absorbed.
- Once sauce is absorbed, you can turn off the heat and taste the noodles for doneness. If they're still undercooked, add a little more water and continue cooking, being careful not to add too much water!
- Once noodles are done, push them to one side of the pan. Add add little extra oil to the empty space and add eggs. Break the yolks, then put noodles on top of eggs and cook for about 30 seconds. Flip and toss to mix eggs into noodles.
- Toss the cooked protein back in, plus any collected juices. Then add bean sprouts, garlic chives and half of the peanuts. Turn off the heat and toss until well mixed.
- Serve immediately with a lime wedge and extra peanuts on top. For a classic presentation you can add a little extra side of bean sprouts and some garlic chives garnish.
- Be sure to squeeze a bit of lime on top before eating!
- Do not use the black, sticky tamarind concentrate or paste from India as it is much more concentrated and cannot be used in the same way in this recipe. Either make it from pulp or buy the loose, brown tamarind that is from Thailand or Vietnam. Be sure to see the video for what the right consistency of the product should look like.
- You can soak noodles in advance, drain, and keep them well sealed in the fridge for a few days. I use Erawan brand noodles. Some brands, such as Thai Kitchen, have thinner noodles and take less time. Keep an eye on them and drain once the noodles are completely pliable (no resistance when bending). No time to soak? See emergency noodle-soaking in the blog post.
- Thai sweet preserved radish is hard to find, but you can omit or use the Japanese version instead which is called “takuan” and is bright yellow. See blog post for more info.
- If using chicken, pork or beef, slice into bite-sized pieces and marinate them with just a bit of fish sauce or soy sauce so the meat isn't bland.
- You can make a big batch of sauce in advance and store indefinitely in the fridge. See this recipe for large-batch pad thai sauce.
- I recommend cooking no more than 2-3 servings at a time to avoid crowding the pan and making the noodles soggy.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 682
Keywords: pad thai
This was amazing! My only complaint is that it was a bit too salty. Hoping you have some suggestions as I didn't add any salt anywhere. I made my own tamarind paste from a block of pulp. I used chicken and shrimp as the protein and didn't season them so it can't be that. Maybe I overdid it with fish sauce?
Also, how long is preserved sweet radish good for after you open the package? I can't find a definitive answer in my Google searches. Thanks so much!
Made this for lunch today and it was delicious. Finding all the ingredients was easy aside from the preserved turnip but managed to find the Thai version at a smaller Chinese grocery store. It tastes like a maybe slightly sweeter version of the Chinese pickled turnips. It's really the only ingredient that was completely new but now I have this entire bag of it with no other way to use it aside from pad thai. What other dishes uses it? I might try using it the same way I use the Chinese version and see if it works. Any idea how long it'll last?
Delicious!! Doubled the recipe and it was enough for 3 people as a main dish. No leftovers. I made the tamarind sauce the day before (per your video). Added cilantro and roasted peanuts for garnish. Next time I would use Medium or Large noodles (Three Ladies brand), as the ones I used were Extra Large and wide, like for Pad See Ew. What I learned is - don't doubt Pai's method! Soak the noodles just as described. They will be very al dente but will soften in the sauce and heat. The sauce will look soupy as though there aren't enough noodles. Don't add more noodles. Definitely a keeper! <3
So glad to hear it worked out! Yes, at certain points things might look like it's "wrong", but as you discovered, it's right 🙂 Thank you for sharing your experience!
I’ve made Pad Thai many times, trying different recipes, from Emeril to Marion Grasby. Once I came across this recipe, I knew I hit pay dirt! This tastes every bit as good as the best Pad Thai I’ve had in restaurants. After I make this for dinner tonight, it will be time to make another 8-servings batch of the sauce. Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe!
loved this! will make again for sure. my pad thai was not that saucy / strong though. I added a bit less tamarind since I was afraid mine was too strong & also added a bit more onions since that's how I like it. Would the best bet to make it more saucy/strong be to increase the amount of tamarind or to just make more sauce?
Hi Pai! I used a different recipe for Pad thai and was very disappointed in it so I'm excited to try yours. I'm so nervous about the fish sauce though. I think you mentioned in an article or video that it smells fishy at first but as you cook it the fish flavor isn't as strong (or maybe someone else shared that online). Is that true? Or if I'm worried should I have half the fish sauce or just make the vegan version of it?
The last recipe I tried was WAY too fishy (it also called for oyster sauce) but it didn't involve cooking the sauce the way you did, so I'm wondering if that made the difference. Please let me know what you think!
Hi Helen, I don't think this should turn out particularly fishy. Fish sauce doesn't smell as strong once added to a cooked dish. If this is your first time, I would watch the video thoroughly and follow the recipe as-is to establish a baseline from which you can make adjustments. You won't know until you try! But buy good quality fish sauce, and a small bottle just in case 🙂
Wow. I just made this and I couldn't believe my taste buds when I had the first bite! It truly is Pad Thai, if not BETTER than any Pad Thai I've had (and I've had a lot). The taste was so authentic and complex that you couldn't even tell I used sauteed cabbage instead of rice noodles. (I have poor self control when it comes to Thai food lol so I try to sub out the noodles whenever I can). I went to my local Oriental market and found EVERYTHING on the list. So worth it to keep true to the ingredients. You will not be disappointed!
Thank you SO MUCH, Pai!
Made for the second time tonight and it was superb. The only things I changed were to 1) reduce tamarind sauce to 3 tbsp, 2) add one tbsp of oyster sauce to compensate, and 3) jack up the sugar to 45 grams. We like it sweet...
Aside from that, we put the dried shrimp in the food processor and pulverized them, as otherwise they are very tough and chewy.
Result was fantastic, which is great, because there's no Thai food anywhere near me since I live on an island in Puget Sound.
Best pad thai !
Better than what most Thai restaurants serve here in Paris !
Followed the recipe to the letter (minus the garlic chives I could not find, I put onion chives instead) and it was excellent.
Thank you so much for the recipe and all your great tips !
Best pad thai !
Better than what most Thai restaurants serve here in Paris !
Followed the recipe to the letter (minus the garlic chives I could not find, I put onion chives instead) and it was excellent.
Thank you so much for the recipe and all your great tips !
Hi! Thanks for the recipe. I have a question about the garlic chives. I didn't get the same garlic chives with flat leaves. I got the one with the yellow flower bud and the stems are tubular. Will this make a difference? My other question is about the noodles. When you finish the soaking, the noodles have to be al dente or softer? It will cook some more in the pan, right? Thanks.
I made this and it was nice overall but the taste of the sauce was very sour, it tasted like it needed more sugar? I followed all the sauce instructions and used palm sugar.
I am thinking maybe to reduce the tamarind concentration by two tablespoons instead of four next time.
Thankyou for your helpful times along the way
It could be the wrong tamarind (make sure it is a product of Thailand, not India), or that brand is particularly sour. So yes, reducing the amount would be the way to go if using this same tamarind again.
Hmm sounds like they may have been garlic scapes vs chives. Garlic scapes are thick, almost fibrous and very garlicky. They grow out of actual garlic bulbs and you pull them out in order to allownthe garlic bulbs to grow full size. I pulled out a bunch with my mom as a kid so we could pickle them. Us Koreans eat them pickled or fried up until soft. They would NOT work in this recipe. They take too long to cook. On the other hand, garlic chives almost look like grass, (I used to think they were grass, hahaha) and have more a chive like flavour. They do NOT grow out of garlic. Both are delicious but for this recipe you want the garlic chives that look like grass. Hope that helps!
Sorry this got missed! Those are flowering chives and cannot be used in this recipe. You need the one that is flat. Once noodles are soaked, they're still raw and hard, they will cook and soften in the pan.
This recipe is absolutely DELICIOUS and very easy to follow! If you are looking for authentic tasting Pad Thai, this is the one!
The only thing that messed me up was the garlic chives, my local Asian market, T&T has something completely different labeled as 'garlic chives', it's thicker, tougher, and smells a bit like garlic! What I should've gotten from them is labeled as 'chives'.
Hi there, I’m so excited to try this! Quick question - when using a store bought tamarind concentrate (Thai dragonfly brand in the blue bottle), do I omit the additional water? It’s pretty liquidy in consistency so I wasn’t sure if adding the extra water would make it too runny? Thank you for this authentic recipe!
Hi! There is no need to omit the water. The tamarind I make is more or less the same consistency as ones you buy, and any difference isn't going to be a big deal. Hope it turns out!
Hi, I've soaked my rice noodles for an hour but they haven't turned white (except for one noodle) and although they are flexible they are very hard when bitten. I am wondering if they need to soak longer or if they are ready to fry as is?
Hi! Are you using the medium size, flat rice noodles? What brand are you using? Soaked noodles will still be hard when you bite into them because they're still raw, and they will cook and soften in the pan. Without knowing whether the brand you're using is might be different from mine in significant ways, I would go ahead and cook them, and just see how it is. Taste them once all the sauce has been absorbed and add more water if needed!
I can tell that this will be good and I will make it soon. I used a different recipe a couple days ago to make Pad Thai but it was nothing like my old Thai BF used to make. One issue is finding the right noodle. I live in Montreal and it’s hard to find good. Affordable Asian products. In Boston I had no issue. I learned that Thai people don’t use ginger, first of all, and do use Tamarind, which my old recipe didn’t use. Then I used A Taste of Thai noodles, and recipes said to soak 30 minutes, which I did, but they were too chewey, so I will soak longer, or used boiled water next time. My recipe was bland, water. And that cause they asked for ¼ cup warmer for sauce. Way too much, as I now know. I will try your recipe soon!
Had a lot of fun making this and going to find the ingredients. It's so easy to make your own tamarind sauce. One thing, I was using Red Boat fish sauce and I think its flavor is much more concentrated than the Squid brand because it overpowered the tamarind and palm sugar. Next time I will use less in the sauce, maybe even half - it's that strong!
That is very good to know re: red boat! Thank you!
If you life in a country as me where you don't get that kind of radish or it is simply to expensive, try this: Use garden radish (the little round ones with red skin..). Peel them, cut them in small cubes or how you like it. Set up a pan with water and rice vinegar (Same quantities..), add brown sugar (we call it here Mascobado), a bit of curcuma powder and some bay leaves. Cook it up and let it cool down. The taste should be acid/sweet. Keep in the fridge for a long time. Note: IT has a terrible smell, but if you cook it, a nice sweet/acid taste and it doesn't smell anymore.
I found fresh Pad Thai noodles at my market. What’s would be the equivalent amount of fresh noodles to dry noodle when reconstituted?
I just made this yesterday and it was wonderful. It's the best homemade Pad Thai I've ever made, and it'll be one I keep going back to for sure. Thanks for all the wonderful insights into Thai cuisine!
Has anyone tried to make a batch for the sauce? Curious if it would be just multiplying the ingredients. The reason I ask is that I'm unsure of the impact of simply multiplying the ingredients on the saltiness of the fish sauce, for example. Thanks!
You can absolutely make the sauce in bulk, and just scale everything up proportionally.
I doubled it yesterday and it was great! I am going to do a bigger batch to make things a little quicker for future times. It is the most fabulous recipe!
Hi Kang, I typically make about 4 batches of the sauce and it keeps for months in the fridge. I simply multiply the ingredients; it tastes the exact same 🙂
Is there a particular way to store the sauce, or tamarind paste prepared from pulp, in the fridge? Mine did not keep indefinitely...it went bad (moldy) after a month or so. Were my hands not clean enough when squeezing the pulp?
Every recipe of yours that I make "like in a book" comes out perfect.
So easy and tasty! Also way faster than getting takeout :).
I’d would just like to check, 4 tbsps of tamarind paste? That is a huge amount.
I was a little afraid, so I used almost 3, two full and a scant third and it is exceptionally delicious...
Made this tonight, first time making pad Thai and it was not too bad! I know i missed some things and made a couple of mistakes but I plan on making it again and again until I get it right... and have a few questions...The tamarind: mine IS the concentrated kind BUT it IS from Thailand, not India. Would you recommend still doing a 1:3 ratio? Also, the shrimp threw me off...I cooked with chicken instead. Do I cook it separately from everything else and then add it when I add the tofu? Also the tofu...I could only get the kind that's one step down from pressed...and it just crumbled 🙁
What kind of gas burner are you cooking on?
Adam The HTK Minion
Made this tonight and very much like the best local Thai place. Only thing missing was guidance on quantity of chilies. Usually get it spicy when ordering and had to make a guess so used 1 tsp and it was like Thai restaurant mild. Next time going for 3 tsp but 4 may be proper with the chilies I have. Better to go light than heavy handed on them.
Hi Jim, it's hard to give guidance on chilies because chilies vary significantly in how spicy they are. So if i used 1 tsp of the chili flakes that I make myself, it would be VERY hot! So just gotta "know your chilies" which is kind of frustrating! Thanks for the review and glad you liked it!
Thanks Pailin. I did get a jar that was made in Thailand but they are very mild. Cook and learn
Just made this for the first time. The extra effort was definitely worth it! My family loved it. We followed the recipe as written except for the palm sugar (subbed brown sugar). Thanks so much for the detailed instructions!
Adam The HTK Minion
Hi Renee and great to hear! (and yeah it is a bit of work isn't it? 🙂 )
This is by far the best pad thai recipe I have found! I have made this recipe soooooooo many times and it just gets better and better. It's also now faster and easier to make, since I am able to eyeball the ingredients. I make this dish and your Pad Gaprao at least once a month of not more.
I mad this and it was amazing. Totally authentic. Look no further and start cooking!
Adam The HTK Minion
Congrats and good to hear! Adam
Tasty and relatively easy to make...once all ingredients are gathered! Have saved this one for future use. Easy to follow instructions make it a pleasure to make this tasty dish.
Adam The HTK Minion
Thanks Karen, and great to hear! And yeah there's a bit of "ingredients gathering" to be done isn't there? 🙂
Thanks for taking the time to make your videos and write on this recipe. Your instructions are ultra clear. It was my first time cooking pad thai, a grateful distraction during this terrible pandemic.
Now I have a BIG admiration for Thai chefs! Pad thai is quite a slow masterpiece! It took me over 2 hours.
As a first-timer, I made some mistakes. Mine turned out too sour, I must've gone overboard with the homemade tamarind paste, so I added (don't cringe!) a small mixture of peanut-butter-water-soy-sauce and that did the trick for me.
Next time I might leave out or reduce the dried shrimp, the dried shrimp flavor was too overpowering for me.
Now I have a lot of tamarind paste, I'll google around to see what else I can make with it...
Thank you again!
A recipe that is really easy to follow and the taste is both authentic and tasty!
Love your recipe!! My husband loves it. Hoping the kids will too for dinner tonight!!! Thank you so much!
Adam The HTK Intern
Thank you Pailin for the recipe. I had all necessary ingredients at hand turned out great. My taste for tamarind in this recipe can’t be acquired🥜. I like it more the american version: tomato paste/a good european ketchup. I’m looking forward to an american version when it comes the time🥡!
This was my fist time making Pad Thai. A great recipie. Easy to follow. Will make again and again!
Loved it! Perfect recipie!
Just made and ate this, absolutely delicious, and my house smells wonderful too an hour later. Totally goofed up the sauce and forgot to buy dried shrimp from the store, but still turned out great! The recipe was more forgiving than I imagined, though I do prefer things a bit less salty (did not have enough fish sauce in stock haha).
I love this recipe and have successfully made this recipe numerous times. I cut the fish sauce to one tablespoon because it was too fishy for my taste. I order the hard to find ingredients from Amazon.
Thank you for giving us a detailed and authentic recipe. This was a hit at our home. Thank you also for telling us how to make and keep the tamarind paste. Your attention to detail makes it possible for us to succeed while making this recipe. I thoroughly enjoyed your video as your enthusiasm is infectious and you are very pleasant to listen to. I used brown sugar and it worked but I will look for palm sugar to try it for next time. Tks again for all your efforts.
Fourth time making this... though I seem to still manage to let my noodles get too mushy... next time I am removing them from soaking while they still have considerable “bite”. Other than that, (which is my error), this is delicious.. I do use scallions as I cannot find garlic chives, but everything else, right down to my making the tamarind, turned out excellent!
Well since I’m the only negative review, I’m thinking I did something wrong. Mine had overwhelming tamarind flavor and was very sour—so much so that we threw it all away which killed me because I had worked hard on this and made a few trips to the Asian market. Definitely my fault was I put too many noodles in the wok at once making it difficult to cook my egg which gave everything a strange texture. Super disappointed as I really wanted this to turn out.
Hi Philissa, I'm sorry this happened. But I'm pretty sure I know what happened with the tamarind, and it's something I caution people about in the "notes" section of the recipe. Did you use "tamarind concentrate" from India? It's dark, sticky, and very sour; looks very different from the one shown in the video. If so, that would be why. More written about this in the post itself.
Made my own version of this as I was missing some ingredients, but the sauce was fantastic! I used Mexican tamarind brick. I followed your video to turn it into paste using boiling water, strainer and heat. Also missing the palm sugar but substituted brown sugar. I used a good Thai fish sauce. The rice stick was soaked in boiled water for 30 minutes and was perfect, not mushy at all - I think a lot depends on the brand. Another sub was to use chopped kimchi as I didn't have daikon pickle - it's got some daikon in it and nice umami. We found the sauce perfectly balanced salt and acid, coated the noodles and other ingredients, the toasted peanuts tops it off beautifully.
I made the tamarind paste according to your blog post from the tamarind pulp block, and then I doubled the pad thai recipe. Maybe because I doubled the sauce? My pad thai was surprisingly sour. I like sour food so I still enjoyed it, but it was the most sour pad thai I've ever had.
Do you think doubling the sauce was the problem? Or do you think its just the way it is and Ive only had not really authentic pad thai?(even though I have also tried pad thais on the street in Thailand)
I will try again with less tamarind paste next time. Thanks for ur recipes!
First time i cook phad thai. Well, my mom said it was okay. Its bec, i dont the palm sugar available. I forgot the shrimp haha. But i will definitely cook this again. Is it okay to substitiute palm sugar to brown sugar?
Adam The HTK Intern
Yes a lot of people use brown sugar instead - changes the taste profile a bit, but will still be good 🙂
First time making pad Thai and I didn’t have the shrimp flakes or daikon. Still delicious! I can’t wait to hunt down those ingredients and make it again!
This recipe was amazing, as are all of your other recipes!!! I have been so excited to eat the leftovers. Pai, I was wondering how best to store the sweet radish after opening. Should I keep them refrigerated or should I chop and freeze?
Great recipe, very authentic. Thanks for sharing!
Love this recipe. It is really the authentic taste from the streets of Thailand. 👏🏼
Do NOT use tamarind concentrate. I just threw the entire thing into the trash. It was inedible. Or if you do you the concentrate cut it back to maybe a teaspoon (I'm guessing). I hope this tastes better with the pulp because what I made tasted horrible.
You didn't read all the instructions so the 1 star is not warranted. Her linked video says to not use concentrate.
Adam The HTK Intern
Thanks MS and yes Ben as Pailin said, do not use "concentrate". (once you've redone it perhaps you'll consider adjusting the one-star review?) Cheers! Adam
Best pad thai recipe I've ever made a d I've made A LOT
I tried one of your Pad Thai recipes and it was good, but this one is much better. I can never judge the amount of rice noodles as I am only cooking for myself, so I've had to fiddle with that amount. I took your advice from the video you made about tamarind paste. I had the big block of tamarind in a package and the first time I made it, I was eating chunks of it and found a seed. Ouch. I made this recipe, used the paste from that block of tamarind - and happy happy. It was perfect. I love pad thai and will make this often !
This was one of the most amazingly authentic and delicious Pad Thai recipes I have ever found. I had everything on hand and even my son who would eat pad thai everyday if he could and tries pad thai from every Thai restaurant he sees, compared this to the best pad thai he has ever tasted. Thank you for this amazing recipe.
Such a great recipe! I didn’t have a few things (dried shrimp, radish) but still came out great! Next time I will cook the noodles for a few mins less than the packet instructions so they don’t get too well done.
The Pad Thai was delicious! Definitely restaurant quality/flavour. I always get pad thai at a restaurant so I'm so happy I don't have to spend $18-22 for it anymore!
I used tamarind paste as per your other recipe. I took the extra step to caramelize the sugar and added a bit more sugar and fish sauce to the pad thai sauce. I like my pad thai saucy but not soggy, so I doubled the sauce for about 1.5x everything else - I did have a bit of extra sauce.
I couldn't find the sweet radish so I bought the salty stuff. I rinsed it, soaked in warm water for a bit, drained, then covered it in sugar as I prepared all the other ingredients. When I was ready to cook, I rinsed off all the sugar then chopped into small pieces.
Can't wait to make this again!
Serious recipe! Love the sour/sugary taste of the sauce. Will definitely keep this one. Thanks for sharing!
Really delicious - roommates loved it! Definitely a lot of prep, and had to run to the store for a few things not already in my pantry, but was able to crank it out on a weeknight and still eat before 9pm.
I made this recipe for the first time today and it's some of the best pad thai I've ever had. Luckily, I live in an area where thai groceries are readily available so I was able to make it without any substitutions. This pad thai is a lot less sweet than any pad thai I've had in a restaurant and the flavors are a lot more complex. I'll definitely be making this again soon!
Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe! We made it tonight and it was superb. I added, tofu, chicken, and shrimp and it was great.
I've made pad thai using this recipe at least 5 times. This recipe is the best so far. The result tastes very similar to the one from my favorite Thai restaurant. Thank you.
Thank you SO much for this recipe. It was seriously the best Pad Thai I’ve ever made and totally on par with anything I’d enjoyed at a resto.
I had to sub in dashi for the dried shrimp so I was a little worried at first- there was a serious “funky” smell. But after the first bite, my man and I were giving you a slow clap. So darn good.
Your tamarind paste recipe came out great for us here too!
I'm only ever going to cook pad Thai at home (unless I visit Thailand). Thanks for amazing recipes!!! <3
Being a big fan of HKT, Pad Thai is for sure one of my favourites, and I'm not surprised of how many reviews there are already, given the function is only available for days, as this is so good! Really, you may not be able to tell it's not directly from Thailand.
5 years of trying to find the perfect pad thai recipe... hands down best one out there!
I have made this recipe countless times. Believe it or not, I once made it while camping in a trailer. We had friends visiting and they requested for Asian food! They declared it was the best Pad Thai they've ever had and it's way better than any restaurants'. Thank you Palin for sharing all your wonderful recipes!
Best authentic Thai recipe of a very famous Thai dish.
This recipe was my first encounter with HTK. Family council requested to put it on "heavy rotation" 🙂 Just delicious.
Lets face it, loads of us came to Thai food through this dish. I’ve tried many recipes over the years, but this is the only one I’ll need from now on, not least because Pailin actually TEACHES me how to cook in her videos. She doesn’t just walk through it. Pai is right, though, the main difficulty with this classic is the many ingredients in it which need to be obtained and prepared. That means I probably won’t make it every night, but when I absolutely have to eat Pad Thai I’ll know how to do it.
Bonnie Miller Donaldson
I've made this recipe a few times now and LOVE it! I haven't taken a photo because I was only thinking about eating it. Pad Thai is hit or miss at restaurants. I've had more bad (usually too sweet) Pad Thai than good. This recipe is excellent. If you like Pad Thai, this is worth the learning curve - like searching the Asian market for all of the ingredients. But, now when I need them - I know what they look like and where they are.
I am so impressed with the balance of flavors in Pailin's recipes and the clarity her videos provide. I've tried five recipes so far and keep making them over and over because they are that good.
Seriously, best pad Thai ever.
Perfect. Just like in Thailand.