How to Make Good Pad Thai – In this post I’m sharing how to make good Pad Thai that you can recreate at your very own kitchen.
Talking about Thai food transported me back to college time where I was truly spoiled by good home-cooked Thai food. I also remember my Thai friend who often brought me a Pad Thai take-out from the Thai restaurant she worked at. Oh man….that was seriously the best Pad Thai I’ve ever tasted. Having to recreate it to taste like that wasn’t an easy task.
In this post, I’m sharing with you how to make good pad Thai using few essential ingredients that I think pad Thai must have. Pad Thai is not hard to make, but it does require some planning and knowing few basic rules of stir-frying to get good results.
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SPECIAL INGREDIENTS USED IN GOOD PAD THAI RECIPE
These are the ingredients that I feel like they must be there to make good pad Thai.
1. Tamarind paste
You can easily buy this from Asian store or any store that carries ethnic food. But extracting your own tamarind juice using the seedless tamarind paste is really a no-brainer.
2. Preserved radish
Not very many people know about preserved radish, but adding this to pad Thai really add that savory and sweet taste to the dish.
3. Fish sauce
Don’t even bother to make pad Thai without fish sauce 🙂 just saying!
4. Flat thin pad Thai noodles
I usually use dry thin and flat rice noodles or some call it pad Thai noodle sticks. You will see some come in sizes like S,M,L, and XL. The size usually indicates the wideness of the noodles. For Pad Thai, I will stick with size S or M. I usually use S, which means it’s flat and thin.
Chopped roasted peanuts are one of the ingredients I must have in pad Thai. I don’t know, it’s just not the same without it
TIPS ON HOW TO MAKE GOOD PAD THAI AT HOME
1. Prepare ahead
Some of the ingredients can be prepped ahead. This will truly make your life easier if you do so. Such as soaking dried shrimp, extracting tamarind juice
2. Soak noodles
Dried pad Thai nooddles need to be soaked for 30 minutes until pliable before cooking
3. The wok/skillet you use
This is very important. We need something that can maintain good heat when it comes to stir-frying. I like cast-iron or carbon steel wok/skillet. They can maintain good heat
4. Cook in smaller portion
I recommend cooking 2 servings at a time for good result
So what do you think ? Are you ready for a Pad Thai ? 😉
How to Make Good Pad Thai at Home
- 4 oz dried pad thai noodles see notes
- 3 Tbsp cooking oil divided
- 2 cups fresh bean sprouts or you may use 2 cups shredded cabbage
- 4 oz extra-firm tofu
- ¼ lb medium raw shrimp shelled and deveined
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 2 oz ground pork preferrably with some fat
- 2 Tbsp dried shrimp
- ¼ cup preserved radish
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 2 shallots peeled and minced
- 5 stalks Chinese chives cut into 2-inch pieces
Pad Thai Sauce:
- 5 oz seedless tamarind paste + 5 oz water
- ¾ cup coconut sugar
- 4 Tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp crushed red chili flakes or more if you like more heat I added this last so it won't be spicy for my kids
- ½ cup chopped roasted peanuts for garnish
- fresh limes
- 3 stalks Chinese chives cut into 2-inch pieces
Things you can prepare ahead:
- If you are using tofu, press the tofu down by putting paper towels at the bottom and top of the tofu and then weigh it down by placing a heavy pan/pot on top for about 15 minutes. This will "squeeze" out the water: Discard the excess water and pat the tofu dry and cut into about 1x 1/2 inch pieces
- Meanwhile, soak dried shrimp in warm water to cover until softened, about 10 minutes; drain and chop finely
- To make pad thai sauce, combine the tamarind paste with water and then use the back of the spoon to keep mashing it until you get thick mash. Add in sugar and fish sauce and stir to combine. Set aside
On the day of cooking:
- Soak the dried pad thai noodles in water to cover until softened, about 30 minutes. The noodles should pliable after soaked. Discard water
- Place a wok or cast-iron skillet over high heat until hot. Add 1 Tbsp of oil. Add the noodles and stir fry until they started to get soft. Dish them out and set aside.
- In the same wok, bring the wok back to hot and add 1 more Tbsp of oil, add dried shrimp and the rest of the aromatics and stir fry for about 30 seconds, crumble in the ground pork and stir fry until they just about to turn color, push them to the side. Add the shrimp and stir fry until they are about to turn pink, not fully cooked yet, do not overcook, push them to the side. Add 1 Tbsp of oil. Add the eggs and let them cook for about 10 seconds and then start scrambling them to big pieces
- Add noodles and pour in pad thai sauce. Continue to stir fry to move the noodles around and the sauce will get absorbed by the noodles. Turn off the heat. Add the bean sprouts and stir to mix. The residual heat will soften the bean sprouts but they should be still crunchy
- Place noodle mixture on serving platter. Garnish with peanuts, cilantro leaves, red chili flakes, few stalks of chives, squeeze of lime juice and serve immediately
Wow, I’ll have to give this a shot. I’ve tried making Pad Thai a few times and it’s been decent, but never outstanding. I think my ratios have been off and, as you know, that’s really key to getting Thai food right. Great share, I’m pinning this for next week’s menu.
Thank you for stopping by Chava. And yes, I couldn’t agree more on the ratio. Sometimes it needs playing around until you get the taste you like. I hope this is up to your standard 🙂
YUM, Love Pad Thai…The balance of the sauce is making Pad Thai sooo good <3. And you nailed it with your awesome pictures.
You are so right Akhila. It’s all in the sauce the you pour in that noodle while you cook it! Thank you so much for stopping by and your sweet comment 🙂 Love your photos and blog too
I live in a small town but we have a tiny little Chinese/Thai food place and they make a Pad Thai that is TO. DIE. FOR. Total awesomeness. This looks very similar to that so I’m going to make it and find out 🙂
Oh…that’s nice when you have an authentic Pad Thai near your place. I’m a noodle freak and I can eat noodle anytime 🙂 I hope this is up to your standard 🙂