Pad Thai

If I am ever fortunate enough to live in a tropical setting, I’m afraid I would never cook again. A hot climate just saps the energy out of me, and the desire to spend time in a hot kitchen is not exactly appealing. You see, intense heat has returned, as it always does in late September in the Bay Area, refusing to make way for the leaves to fall and the fog to cloak us in cool mist. Instead of relishing afternoons cooking comforting stews and baking apple cakes, I found myself cranky and hot, not wanting to cook at all. I was really, really tempted to order some Pad Thai.

It’s just too easy to pick up the phone and place an order. But I pushed myself. I know how to make the dish, it’s not too difficult at all. I was just feeling lazy.

Pad Thai Noodles

Pad Thai comes together much faster than you might think; I guess there’s a reason I consider this my favorite “fast food.” There are, of course, complicated versions of this famous Thai noodle dish, but this recipe is fairly simple and many of the ingredients are in our pantry already. Make it with all shrimp or even tofu for a meatless version. Either way, you can easily make this dish, making it suitable for those crazy weeknights when you just don’t feel like cooking in the first place. After you take your first bite, you’ll be glad you did.

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Pad Thai

Yield: Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  •  12 ounces rice noodles (medium width noodles suitable for Pad Thai)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon pickled radish (optional)
  • 1/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 12 ounces bean sprouts, divided
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions (cut in 2-inch lengths)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • red chili pepper flakes or sriracha (optional)

Directions:

Fill a large bowl with hot water and soak the rice noodles for about 30 minutes, until the noodles have softened, then drain.

Heat the oil in a wok over high heat. Cook the garlic and pickled radish until the garlic is a light golden brown. Immediately add the sliced chicken and egg, and stir fry for about 4 minutes. Add the shrimp, half of the bean sprouts and drained noodles and stir. Quickly combine the ketchup, soy sauce, peanuts, sugar and fish sauce. Stir the sauce into the noodles. When the shrimp is fully cooked, add the scallions and the remaining bean sprouts. Add a little water or oil if the noodles begin to stick. Garnish with chopped cilantro, limes and red chili flakes or sriracha. Serve immediately.

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by Liren Baker on September 21, 2011

24 Responses to “Pad Thai”

  1. Kasey — September 21, 2011 @ 3:33 pm (#
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    I absolutely LOVE Pad Thai, but I have to admit that I have never made a homemade version. That said, your recipe sounds so approachable! I am definitely adding this to my ‘must make’ list.

  2. Hester aka The Chef Doc — September 21, 2011 @ 3:58 pm (#
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    Thanks for the homemade recipe! I enjoy a good dish of Pad Thai from time to time but have never made it myself. And it’s so simple, too. All it takes is some good planning and preparation as far as ingredients :-) I hope it cools down for you up there! It’s a little warm in So Cal, too :-(

  3. Joanna @ Chic&Gorgeous Treats — September 21, 2011 @ 5:14 pm (#
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    I absolutely LOVE Pad Thai. I can’t seem to get enough of it when I’m in Thailand for vacation. I seriously can have this on a daily basis. I cannot believe it took me such a long time to pop by your beautiful website with all these great looking recipes, you’ll definitely hear more from me ;). Your photos are amazing too. Really inspires me to do better. Yummm.. yummm.. really want to cook me some Pad Thai right now. Cheers, Jo

  4. Ridwan — September 21, 2011 @ 5:24 pm (#
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    My favorite dish ever from thai cuisine,great recipe,sure tste great as it looks :)

  5. Barbara | Creative Culinary — September 21, 2011 @ 6:09 pm (#
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    This looks almost too beautiful to eat. But I know I would force myself! I have never made pad thai though my daughter and I both love it. Think I’ll surprise her with some next time she is coming over for dinner…this looks perfectly doable. Thanks Liren!

  6. Belinda @zomppa — September 21, 2011 @ 6:36 pm (#
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    I hear you about not wanting to cook in hot weather. This is one of my absolute favorites.

  7. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts — September 21, 2011 @ 7:36 pm (#
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    I love Pad Thai!! I have a friend who makes the best at home. I need to get his recipe, so good!

  8. The Travelling Chopsticks — September 22, 2011 @ 8:21 am (#
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    First of all I love looking at your blog as you always seem to cook things that I want to eat! Second of all, I never knew making Phad Thai was so easy….I pretty much have all the ingredients on hand 100% of the time…well not bean sprouts…but thats easy to get a hold of! Thanks for sharing another great recipe!

  9. Curt — September 22, 2011 @ 8:56 am (#
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    What a great selection of ingredients. I love the peanuts in with the shrimp.

  10. Elizabeth @ Saffron Lane — September 22, 2011 @ 9:05 am (#
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    It seems unanimous that Pad Thai is a popular dish. You’re right, sometimes it just takes a little extra push to get in the kitchen and make something you could otherwise order in. Most times, the results are much, much better, too.

  11. JulieD — September 22, 2011 @ 1:18 pm (#
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    I have had failed pad thai disasters…I want to try yours! Thanks!

  12. merry jennifer — September 22, 2011 @ 4:49 pm (#
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    Pad thai is a take-out splurge for me. There’s a place here in town that does it justice, except they overload it with peanuts. I’m such a chicken when it comes to making food out of my comfort zone – like pad thai. This gives me hope, though. Thanks, Liren!

  13. Bob Y — September 22, 2011 @ 6:24 pm (#
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    I’m surprised not to see tamarind paste in the recipe. Substituting tomato-based ketchup changes the flavor: ketchup is sweet, tamarind combines some sweetness with an all-important tart flavor. Most Thai food in this country substitutes sweetness for the complexity of the real Thai cuisine.

    • Liren replied: — September 23rd, 2011 @ 12:22 am

      I do love tamarind, and it’s true, ketchup is not a perfect substitute. However, the appeal of this recipe and the use of ketchup is simply that it is more accessible for those who may not have access to tamarind or tamarind paste. In a weekday pinch, the ketchup suits the craving!

  14. Kita — September 22, 2011 @ 6:52 pm (#
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    I’ve always wanted to try pad thai at home, and just have never bit the bullet. I like that you say it comes together quickly and I generally have all these ingredients on hand.

  15. Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen — September 23, 2011 @ 3:18 am (#
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    Liren, Please send some intense heat this direction – winter is on my doorstep!

    Never mind, I’ll just have to console myself with Pad Thai. This looks like a cracking version – way superior to any I’ve eaten in a restaurant. Definitely hitting my table this weekend!

  16. myFudo — September 23, 2011 @ 6:16 am (#
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    Looks delicious. You have to make me one this and teach me how to use the chopsticks :)

  17. My Fudo — September 23, 2011 @ 8:49 am (#
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    Noodles has always been one of my favorite meals, this pad thai is giving me a craving syndrome. I love the seafoods and meat combination here. Making me ask for it.

  18. Cheryl — September 23, 2011 @ 8:31 pm (#
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    I can’t wait to try this!! I know Taylor loves Pad Thai, which will be a bonus for me. I will let you know how it turns out!

  19. Monet — September 24, 2011 @ 6:50 am (#
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    We do love Pad Thai around here…but I’ve never made it before. A shame, I know! Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe with me. I’m sitting down to a leisurely breakfast, and, as always, your blog is wonderful reading material. I hope you have a happy weekend, my friend!

  20. Jerry Ko | Simply Good Eating — September 26, 2011 @ 2:14 pm (#
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    I love Pad Thai with beef, chicken or shrimp! Its just one of those dishes that almost has me coming back for seconds.

  21. Norma — September 27, 2011 @ 8:56 am (#
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    I wait for someone to make it for me…hey how about overnight express

  22. Sunflowerchocolate — October 1, 2011 @ 8:00 pm (#
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    I found your recipe through Foodgawker the other day! It looked super tasty and easy,so I am going to try to make it tomorrow! Heheh I am so excited! Thanks :) check out my blog! I write on Korea!

  23. bigdealneal — October 17, 2011 @ 2:16 pm (#
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    wow, your pictures make the food look so good! I love pad thai, and ketchup does come in handy in pinch, you can also use a little worcestershire sauce with the ketchup, the sauce has both fish sauce and tamarind in it, cool right?

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