Pad Thai for beginners

Pad Thai is one of the most popular Thai dishes, perhaps second only to Tom Yum Goong. It’s also one of the most requested recipes here on Chez Pim. Why, then, has it taken me this long to post this recipe, you asked? I don’t know…perhaps it’s because I don’t actually have a recipe! Is that a good enough reason?

Then what am wasting your time for, you are wondering, yes? Well, it’s true that I don’t have a recipe, but what I have, and will share with you here, is way better than a recipe. It’s in fact a fool-proof way to make Pad Thai -Pad Thai for just about anyone from beginners to experts. I must warn you that I will a bit wordy. I could easily write a very short description and make everything look and sound easy -but that means I’d be leaving you to figure out the details on your own. Or I could explain every step of the way so that you understand what goes into a Pad Thai and what distinguishes a great one from the usual blah. The piece might look a little intimidating, but I think it will in fact be easier than any easy-looking recipe. And, I promise you, if you read through the entire thing, you’ll never have to look at another Pad Thai recipe. You’ll be set. Really you will.

There are so many silly Pad Thai recipes around, a quick google reveals one with ketchup as an ingredient. What an abomination! Not even the fabulous June Taylor’s artisanal ketchup can rescue that one! A few other recipes I came across would have us make four or more portions of Pad Thai at once –which, I can guarantee you will result in clumps of oily, sticky noodle unfit for human consumption.

The textures and flavors of a proper Pad Thai derive largely from the way the dish is cooked, that is to say its quick footloose dance in an ultra hot wok. That simply means you can’t do many servings at once.

No, no, I’m not going to make you drive around town procuring all the exoticities required to make a proper Pad Thai only to feed just you and your sweetheart. It is entirely possible to feed a whole crowd. You just have to do it like they do on the streets of Bangkok -cook one or two portions at a time. Your friends and dinner guests must be a bit patient, but they will kiss you in the end –no, not the rear end, just the end of your party, get your mind off the gutter you!

Another common mistake in a Pad Thai recipe is to season while cooking in the wok, which once again get in the way of that super-heated wok-quickstep I mentioned before. If you follow those recipes that have you measure a tablespoon of fish sauce and one of tamarind and yet another of palm sugar into the hot wok during the cooking, you are –it pains me to say- doomed to failure. By the time you’re done adding all the whatnots, your noodle turns gooey, your protein done to the texture of a rubber eraser, and your perfectly innocent Pad Thai becomes what I call a sorry excuse of the dish. Bad all around.

Once again a little street sense can help a whole lot. Pad Thai vendors in Thailand don’t season their Pad Thai one portion at a time. They usually have a giant vat of sauce pre-made waiting patiently by the wok station. As they cook a portion they add the sauce -no guess work, no fumbling with this bottle and that, a ladle full of the pre-seasoned sauce and that’s it. Easy enough, yes?

That’s how I do it. I make my sauce beforehand. I don’t even care if I make too much sauce, since it keeps quite well in the fridge for a long time –comes very handy for a quickie Pad Thai fix later. I also prepare all the other ingredients and have them ready. (You can be fancy and call it mise en place like the French do, or just a simple meez like all the American cooks I know.) When my guests arrive I get the wok smoking hot and make one or two portions at a time until everyone has their fill of the noodle-y goodness. They can even take the wok on a spin and make one on their own. My friends get a kick out of that, yours might too.

So you begin by preparing the sauce.
There are four ingredients in the Pad Thai sauce, Tamarind pulp (for the sour flavor), Fish Sauce (for the salty part), Palm Sugar (for a slight sweetness), and Paprika or Thai chilli powder (for the spice). Two cups of sauce will make about 6-8 portions of Pad Thai. You can make your Pad Thai sauce vegetarian by using this sauce instead of fish sauce.

To make about two cups of sauce, you should begin with about ½ cup each of Tamarind (*see the note below for how to prepare tamarind pulp), Fish Sauce, and Palm Sugar. If you substitute white and/or brown sugar for the Palm Sugar, you should use only about 1/3 cup. Melt all these together in a small pot over a low flame. Taste and adjust the flavor balance until it suits you. Then add the chilli powder, begin with a teaspoon or two, depending on your taste, and keep adding until it tastes the way you like it. By the time you’re done flavoring the pot should be simmering happily. Turn off the heat and let the sauce rest while you get to the other ingredients.

At this point in the game I like my sauce to lead with a salty flavor, follow by a mild sourness, then just a gentle sweetness and a soft caress from the chilli at the back of my throat at the very end. A finished plate of Pad Thai will be served with a sliver of lime and extra chilli powder to be mixed in at the table, so you could keep these two flavors in the sauce mild for now. I don’t know about you but there is nothing I hate more than a cloying sweet Pad Thai. If your sauce starts out super sweet now it will be very tough to correct later.

Those of you with a scientific mind might want more precise measurements or proportion or whatnot. I’d do it if I could, but the problem is most Thai ingredients are not standardized in the way that a Western ingredient, say, white granulated sugar, is. A cup of granulated sugar is always the same, but a cup of your Palm Sugar or Fish Sauce might not have the same intensity as mine. So the easiest thing to do is just to taste. And herein lies another beauty of preparing the sauce ahead of time. You can take your time to taste and adjust the sauce precisely to your liking, which would be hard to do à la minute in the wok.

Now that you have your sauce ready and waiting, you can prep the other ingredients.
Here’s a list of what you need, and the quantity to use per portion.

Thin rice noodle, also called Rice Sticks, Banh Pho, or Chantaboon.
You can buy Rice Stick noodles at your local Asian supermarket or get them online.  Soak them . Don’t soak until the noodle is soft enough to eat, or it will turn into mush in the wok. Just do it until it’s pliable and almost edile, like very al dente pasta, then drain well. You will need about 1-2 loosely packed cups per portion, depending on how carb-happy you are. You can use more or less, entirely up to you and your friends. A 500g (or about 16oz) bag of dried noodles should be enough for 6-8 portions. Buy a little extra just to be sure. It’s cheap and, if left unsoaked, will last just about forever.
If you can find fresh rice noodle at your market, depending on the freshness, you might want to soak it anyway just to soften it a bit more. Follow the same step as the dried noodle but do not soak for as long. One normal bag of fresh noodle, usually around 500g, will be enough for 3-4 portions.

Shrimps, or chicken, or for vegetarians see under ‘Tofu’ below
The more traditional version of Pad Thai uses shrimps. I use about 7 pieces of medium size shrimps per portion, peeled of course. You can be as generous as you want.
You can also easily substitute chicken, about 2oz of chicken meat (cut into bite-size pieces) per portion will be plenty.

Tofu
I like to use the pressed tofu that comes in square blocks. You can use just about any firm-textured tofu you can find, even the pre-fried varieties from Chinese markets. As long as it doesn’t disintegrate when fried in the wok, you will be fine. I cut the tofu into thin, bite-size pieces, and use about a small handful in each carnivorous portion. For a vegetarian portion, with only tofu and no other meat, you will have to use more. A little guess work is involved here but it’s easy enough, yes? (To make it completely vegetarian, you can use this sauce in place of fish sauce.)

Eggs
I usually crack one small egg into the wok while cooking each serving. If you dinner guests like less egg you can make two servings at a time and only crack one egg into the wok while cooking, essentially cutting the egg quantity in half in each portion.

Ground Peanuts
I use roasted and unsalted peanuts (sometimes I roast my own) for this. Ground the peanuts roughly, beware not to overdo it as you will end up with peanut butter and not ground peanuts. You will need 1-2 tablespoons per portion, depending on how much your friends like peanuts.

Flat-leaf Garlic Chives, also called Chinese Chives
Bai Gui-chai as they are called in Thai. Although most restaurants use the green part of green onions or spring onions, Garlic Chive is the more traditional herb for Pad Thai. Wash and dry the chives carefully, then cut into 2 inches pieces. I use a handful of them per portion.

Beansprouts
I love a lot of beansprouts in my Pad Thai, so I use almost a full cup per portion. You can use as much or little as you like. You can even skip them entirely.

Pickled Turnips (optional)
You can buy pickled turnips pre-chopped in a
plastic bag, but I think the whole ones are fresher. I chopped whole
turnips into small bits, and use about 1 tablespoon per portion.

Dried shrimps (optional)
The cheaper versions of Pad Thai on the streets of Bangkok are made with only tiny dried shrimps and no fresh ones at all. I don’t want to go that far, but I still like to add a bit of these salty dried shrimps for extra flavor -you can easily skip it altogether. I take a bit of dried shrimp and pound in a stone mortar and pestle until fluffy. It’s important to use the mortar here and not your cuisinart, which will turn to dried shrimp into hard, dried chunks (entirely capable of cracking a tooth) instead of fluffy bits of salty shrimp. I use about 1-2 tablespoon per portion.

Chopped garlic (optional)
I like to use a little bit of garlic in each portion, give it an extra kick. You don’t have to.

To serve as condiments at the table you will need:
Slivers of lime, extra ground peanuts, extra chilli powder, fish sauce, and even a bit of white sugar. Just like other street food in Thailand, everyone can tailor the final dish to their own taste. I suggest a squeeze of lime for sure, and anything else that pleases you.

Toast yourself with a glass of champagne now that the prep is done before your dinner guests arrive. A nice off-dry and not oaky champagne will go well with the Pad Thai later too. Lovely Rieslings will do fine as well.

While you’re savoring your champagne, let me tell you a bit about that temperamental beast that’s your well-seasoned wok (**see note below). The success of your Pad Thai depends on it. A wok is not built for heat retention or long and even cooking, unlike Western style pots and pans. A Le Creuset pot, for example, is built like a marathon runner, slow to warm up but has a long staying power. A wok, on the other hand, is more like a sprinter. It heats up really fast, and loses it just as quickly. The thin iron steel material in a good wok transfers more or less all the heat from the flame directly to the content inside. This is great for the ability to control heat, you can turn the fire up and down and the heat in the pan will rise and fall just as quickly. This also means that a wok can sear and cook a small amount of food lightening fast. Adding too much all at once and letting the heat escape would turn a wok into a useless piece of tin in a blink of an eye. And since the caramelization and charring from a hot wok is where the wok-flavor, or wok-breath as some call it, comes from, your utmost goal in wok-cooking is to start out hot and keep it hot! Make sure that all your ingredients are at room temperature, and that you add them in sequence and let the wok reheat back up before each addition. At no time should you add a huge amount of ingredients all at once, unless you want a Pad Thai stew.

Now you are ready to make a Pad Thai.
Follow these steps carefully and the best Pad Thai you’ve ever had will be the one you’ve just made! Keep the sauce pot warm on another burner next to your wok. Keep a bowl of water handy too, if things get to hot in the wok you can sprinkle the water on it to slow it down.

  1. Heat a large wok over high heat until very hot, to the point of smoky.
  2. Add a splash of oil, about 3-4 tablespoons. Don’t be shy, this ain’t no diet food.
  3. If you are making chicken Pad Thai, add the chicken first, cook, stirring vigorously, until it’s half way done, about 1-2 minutes, then add the tofu, a tablespoon or two of the sauce to flavor the chicken, and a pinch of garlic if you’re using it. If you are making tofu or shrimp and tofu Pad Thai, then only add the tofu (and garlic) for now. Cook for another minute until the tofu is crisp and slightly brown at the edges.
  4. Add the noodle, about 2 loosely packed cups for one portion is my standard, and then a ladle (about ¼ cup) of warm sauce. Stir rigorously, keep everything moving in the wok, and cook the noodle until soft. Remember to break up the noodle and don’t let it lump together. If the sauce evaporates too quickly and your noodle isn’t quite ready, sprinkle a bit of water and keep stirring. Add a bit of oil if the noodle still stubbornly sticks together. As I said, this ain’t no diet food.
  5. When the noodle is ready (taste it to be sure), push it up to one side of the wok and crack an egg into the middle. Let it set for 10-15 seconds and toss everything all together.
  6. Add the shrimp meat, pickled turnips, ground peanuts, ground dried shrimp, beansprouts. Keep things moving. Add more sauce if it looks a little pale.
  7. When the shrimps are done, shouldn’t take more than a minute, add a handful of Garlic Chives. Turn the heat off, and quickly give the wok a good stirring to mix everything together.
  8. Add the finished Pad Thai to a plate and serve to your first lucky dinner guest. Give the used wok a quick rinse with warm water, wipe off any excess bits of food with a warm towel, then put the wok back on to the fire.
  9. As soon as it heats back up to a smoking point, you’re ready to do another portion. Repeat this process until all your dinner guests are fed. Keep them lubricated and happy with ample supply of Riesling, Champagne, and/or beer while they wait. That’s how I do it!

That’s it friends, your lesson in Pad Thai. It’s a bit long, like I said, but this will be the last thing you’ll ever need to read about Pad Thai. You might never go out for Pad Thai again, even!

So, go on, throw your own Pad Thai party. Your friends will love you (even more.)

———————–


You can buy tamarind in blocks or readymade pulp that comes in plastic or glass containers (see the photo above). If you can’t find a local market that carries tamarind you can order it online. If you buy readymade pulp, check to make sure that the ingredients only contain tamarind and water, no sugar or anything else. If you buy block tamarind, soak the block in 4 cups of hot water in a large bowl. Mesh the tamarind and water together and let sit until the water cool down enough not to burn your hands. Stick your hands -your impeccably clean hands as Julia Child would say- into the bowl and work the tamarind and water together until the consistency is a bit looser than room-temperature ketchup. Add more warm water if needed. Then, strain the mixture to remove the pits and tough membranes from the tamarind pulp. The consistency will be thick enough that you’d need to press it through the strainer. Use as much as you need for the Pad Thai sauce and keep the rest in a glass jar in your fridge. You’ll have tamarind pulp handy for a long time.

This recipe is highly adaptable. Some people don’t like the intensity of tamarind. Fine, just use less tamarind and add simple white vinegar til your desired sourness (pun intended). You won’t be able to get rid of tamarind all together. Without it your Pad Thai won’t be much of a dish, but you can use about half the tamarind I use and supplement the rest with vinegar.

**A well-seasoned wok
First of all, you’ll need an iron steel wok -the cheapest kind made of a thin layer of iron steel that’s sold in practically any Chinese market. There’s no need to buy anything fancy, mine was less than $15 and it’s working out great. You just have to keep it well-seasoned and it will last practically forever.

At any point in the making of this superb Pad Thai, if anything sticks to the pan and won’t come out easily with a gentle push of a metal spatula, your wok isn’t well-seasoned. No, no, you don’t have to rush out to buy a replacement. You just have to season it again.

There are plenty of ways to season a pan, here’s how I do it. First, add to your wok one cup of oil –make sure you brush the oil over all the inside surface of the wok- and heat the wok until it is smoking. Tilt the pan around to keep lubricating the surface with oil and let it continues to smoke for a few minutes –make sure your smoke vent is running and all the windows are open, by the way. Then, take the pan off the heat and dispose of the oil. Pour half a cup of kosher salt into the wok and, with a kitchen rag, rub the salt all over the inside surface of the wok. Throw out the salt, wipe the wok clean with a damp towel. Pour a small amount of oil into a paper towel and wipe the oil all over the inside surface again. Your wok is now seasoned and ready.

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  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    I’ll be sitting here, waiting!

  • http://kitchenpantry.blogspot.com/ Piperita

    I can’t wait!!! I just adore Pad Thai!

  • http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com Kalyn

    Look forward to it! This one will go in the del.icio.us cookbook for sure.

  • http://www.BrowniePointsBlog.com McAuliflower

    …tease!

  • http://foodblogga.blogspot.com Susan at Food “Blogga”

    This is a like waiting for a pot to boil… The picture looks great.

  • http://beastmomma.squarespace.com beastmomma

    That looks amazing and sounds delicious. I am looking forward to trying it!

  • http://www.rasamalaysia.com Rasa Malaysia

    Hey Pim,
    Regarding ketchup, I find many Southeast dishes become the victim of ketchup. When the cooks (even authors of so-called southeast asian cookbooks) can’t figure out what the recipe is, they tend to use ketchup. I am not kidding!! I have come across a lot of Malaysian dishes cooked with ketchup when the real recipe calls for sambal. Go figure! ;)

  • http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com Kalyn

    Pim, I’ve saved it already. I would have never guessed there was tamarind in Pad Thai; never quite could identify what that slightly sour taste was before this! Thanks.

  • http://www.BrowniePointsBlog.com McAuliflower

    Oh- Kalyn, get ready to add tamarind to everything (curries too).
    Sounds good Pim- you hit my favorite flavor itches.
    I also like to dress mine with a splash of lemon or lime, crispy fried shallots, cilantro and that sweet chili garlic vinegar sauce.
    I’ve never been much of a fan of adding peanut sauce as is so popular around here.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/marc.r/ Marc

    Thanks for the lengthy description of the method, I now have a better understanding of the dish and learned a few new tricks.

  • elarael

    Hello! I love your site, though the new format is taking some getting used to…I am looking for how to access the archives, can you direct me? And thank you for such a wonderful, generous sharing of your talent and good fortune!

  • http://profile.typekey.com/esoller/ Eager Eater

    Excellent work. I recently made Pad Thai, with results I was not totally satisfied with. You inspired me with some fresh ideas. Thanks!

  • http://kitchenmusings.typepad.com Veron

    Never thought to see tamarind in pad thai. I am bookmarking this. Will definitely make it soon. Hubby is a fan of pad thai!

  • http://guiltycarnivore.com The Guilty Carnivore

    I love the prepared tamarind paste/sauce in the jar. So convenient and so many uses too (tom yum, canh chua).
    I must admit, in my early versions I succumbed to ketchup – it added sweetness and more importantly “redness”. However, since I’ve discovered tamarind paste and like you suggest add paprika, those days are long gone.
    Add fresh noodles cannot be beat in terms of consistency and stir fry convenience.
    Thx for the wonderful primer.

  • joanna

    In English we do not say “shrimps”. It is always “shrimp”, just like “fruit”. Please remember this.
    Thanks.
    Joanna

  • http://www.chubbypanda.com Chubbypanda

    My mind likes being in the gutter, thank you very much. It likes splashing in the puddles. =)
    Thanks for this pad thai technique. I think most stir-fried Asian foods can be made using one root technique. The real key is understanding the way your ingredients cook in the wok, and hence the order you should use when adding them to the wok. Proper wok cooking is all about heat control. This excellent post has just taken me one step closer to fried noodle mastery.
    I found the section on frying rice noodles, which behave differently compared to wheat noodles, particularly useful.

  • http://dressingfordinner.blogspot.com Gemma

    I love pad thai so thanks for the recipe as, yes, all the others I have seen do involve ketchup!

  • Nellie

    Dear Joanna,
    In civilised society we do not leave curt, nitpicking comments (in English or any other language) on someone else’s blog without even thanking them for the recipe they have just shared in generous detail. I’m sure your Thai grammar is absolutely perfect, but that is still no reason to be so persnickety about Pim’s English grammar.
    Nell
    P.S. Also, Joanna, there are circumstances under which “fruits” is the correct word, not “fruit.” Look it up.

  • http://somethinginseason.blogspot.com Brendon

    Pim, this is an exceptional post. I’ve been struggling with pad thai for years. I love the detailed description of cooking, links to ingredients, and the photo stream right on the post. Wow! I’m a bit curious about paprika. Do you use it instead of chili powder to keep the spiciness down? I assume it’s not traditional. And, what kind of chili powder do you use? (Type, brand, etc.) Finally, a wok question: do you always use a metal spatula? Or do you ever use wok chopsticks? Whenever I use a metal spatula on my carbon steel wok I seem to gouge through the seasoning layer. Is my wok just too new? (I thought I seasoned it pretty well–I can cook an egg in it without problem.) In any event, thanks for a wonderful post.

  • http://www.midtownlunch.com Zach@MidtownLunch

    As someone who has fumbled about with silly ketchup pad thai recipes, and who just got back from Thailand, ate every meal on the street (and finally learned how to make proper Pad Thai)- I can say this is a perfect explanation of how to make great Pad Thai!!! Well done… (and btw- I say “shrimps” all the time. Sometimes even “Shrimpies”, and I’m 100% American)

  • http://guiltycarnivore.com The Guilty Carnivore

    Hey Joanna:
    shrimp | sh rimp| noun
    ( pl. same or shrimps )
    From the Oxford Dictionary. Oxford…that’s in England, I believe, where they speak English, presumably. Please remember this.
    Thanks.

  • http://ripelondon.com Jess

    I make pad thai about three times a week–it’s my favourite fast food! But I wasn’t adding the sauce until after the egg. And things get a bit sticky. A ha. Now I know.

  • http://www.tomatom.com Ed

    Pim this is the best ever. I can’t wait to make this at home a in the past my noodles have always stuck (and sucked). I must say that I much prefer those dried prawns to fresh, so much so that I snack on them instead of Pringles. Who the hell are these people who want to put ketchup in this dish???

  • http://glutenfreegirl.com shauna

    Pim, I am so excited about this. What an act of generosity. Many Thai restaurants in the US use bottled fish sauce or oyster sauce, most of which have gluten. So I’m doubly glad to see this primer on how to make it at home.
    What a generous gesture.

  • Joanna

    What’s up with folks defending bad language use? Who said I can speak Thai? Maybe I can, maybe I can’t. The website it is English. It is for the author’s benefit that I told her in English the correct plural form is “shrimp”. And it is.
    The same goes for “fruit”. Of course there is a special use for “fruits” but not in the sense of “five apples and three pears”. Rather, as in “fruits of your labour”, so it is idiomatic.
    The recipe is nice but could be improved with better grammar. Cheers.
    Joanna

  • carla

    Dearest Pim,
    Thank you, thank you so very much! For years I have been struggling to, at the very least, be able to make a decent Pad Thai. Unfortunately without any success, mostly due to the famous ketchup ingredient those recipes were calling for. Well last night, you inspired me. I followed your directions, for the yummy noodles and am very happy to say that it was a big hit! Ketchup Americanizes Pad Thai. Tamarind brings the authenticity of what a Pad Thai should be.
    Once again, thank you Pim, for your generosity in sharing your Pad Thai with us, and so well detailed.
    Carla
    By the way, “shrimps”, is just fine.

  • http://www.elise.com/recipes Elise Bauer

    Oh my Pim, this is the definitive piece on Pad Thai! Thank you so much for taking the time to post.
    Regarding shrimp versus shrimps, I have never heard the word “shrimps” used in common speech where I live. That said, I looked it up in Google and clicked on their dictionary link and lo and behold the dictionary, which is The American Heritage Dictionary, concurs with the Oxford English dictionary which states that the plural is indeed, shrimp OR shrimps.
    So a lesson for us all, just because the use of a word is unfamiliar, doesn’t mean that it is incorrect.
    Thanks again Pim for a great post.

  • http://scribbit.blogspot.com Michelle

    I found your blog through Food Blogga and you’ve hooked me. I hear about how fabulous Thai cuisine is and have never seen recipes that looked good–I’m printing this one off and will drag out the wok.

  • Nellie

    Ahem, Pim, sorry to bother you with this, but could you get to the bottom of why “Joanna” is now posting under my name? I know you approve these comments before they are posted, so you might want to figure out if Joanna is a troll (not the Scandinavian kind, no, but the blog-haunting kind, if you know what I mean). If you have the time, that is. On the other hand, you clearly have many better things to do, like making this pad thai for your very lucky friends :-) .
    Joanna, no, “fruits of your labour” is not, in fact, the only case in which “fruits” is acceptable. Also, please see the numerous messages posted above on this contentious topic: “shrimps” is CORRECT in both American and British English. So no one is defending “bad language use” — to do that, we would have to try to argue that (for example) “The website it is English” (to quote your own comment) is an acceptable construction.
    Moving on to more productive talk:
    Folks, what’s so great about this recipe is that it can be used as a primer not just for pad thai but for almost any noodle-cooking in a wok. The same principles apply: don’t crowd your wok, have your sauce ready so there are no unwanted delays, put in “wet” ingredients at the end (I sometimes even add them in after removing the dish from the heat, depending on what’s in the sauce). Kudos to you, Pim, for laying it all out so clearly. Thanks aplenty.
    The Real Nell

  • jimmy

    Hi Pim…it’s been awhile…nice to see you are still writing…Just got back from “our” favorite city – Paris. They are still doing a good job at L’Entredgeu. Their foie-gras, and pigeon plat is a treasure! So r u. Also, lunch at L’avant Gout is sooo good. Got another idea from David Lebovitz blog – lunch at Cuisine de Bar. That was fun, and full of locals wanting to be seen…Happy New Year Pim….Btw, ‘fishes’ is cute….Jimmy-in-Seattle

  • Jessica

    I am really excited to try this! It seems that restaurant versions of pad thai are really hit or miss for me. Some versions (at what were probably more authentic places) I absolutely loved, while others served horrible sticky, peanutty, sugary globs I just can’t do. It seems that this approach might just be what I’m looking for!
    Easy question: I know that it’s hard to give measurements in this case, but is there a general starting ratio of the four sauce ingredients? I’m all about the tinkering and adjustments, but I’d love to have a basic starting suggestion, like “3 parts tamarind, 1 part fish sauce, 2 parts sugar, 1 part paprika” or something. Any thoughts or recommendations?

  • http://farkleberries.blogspot.com reznicek111

    Thank you for this lovely recipe, Pim! I found your website through Slashfood, and I’m very grateful to learn a “foolproof” method of making this favorite dish. An excellent site you have put together!

  • Grateful

    Thank you for the recipe and all the notes to make it a success and not a failure. My husband loves asian noodle dishes and so far every dish I’ve tried I’ve destroyed over the last several years. He recently turned me on to reading food blogs and this is the first I’ve read that shows me where I’ve gone wrong before.
    Also thank you to Nell for your comment with the short version of basic principles to cooking asian food. All errors I’m guilty of.

  • http://www.piggyscookingjournal.blogspot.com Piggy

    Thanks for the great post! Your recipe is so detail that it beats any of those southeast asian food cookbooks out there!

  • http://www.mymelange.net robin

    Pim,
    Thanks so much for the recipe! Unfortunately, my first experience with Thai Food was Pad Thai and I think they followed your “do not do” section because my shrimp and chicken were overcooked and the noodles were all gummy and they stuck together. I think I’ll try to make your and see what happens.

  • http://homemades.blogspot.com arfi

    what a long journey to worth a bowl of heaven. it’s similar to one of soup in Indonesia. it looks delicious!!

  • Harold

    Pim (and others),
    I am about to embark on the preparation of this dish, having had both restaurant and prepared versions of this recipe. Both have been enjoyable but relatively lacking in real flavor.
    I do have an important query, though. I live in an ethnically deprived area and have, thus far, been unable to obtain one of the important ingredients in the sauce–namely tamarind. I have found (and purchased) tamarind nectar but no tamarind pulp was to be found. Is there some reasonable substitute that can be produced? (I certainly don’t want to go down the ketchup route, especially since I dislike ketchup in almost any use).
    A second dilemma–Fish sauce. I am allergic to fish and am somewhat hesitant to use it in the sauce preparation. Any suggestions for substitutes here, short of me enjoying my recipe only to succumb to anaphalaxis? I suspect that in eating out in various Asian restaurants, I have had fish sauce in their preparations but do not wish to deliberately use something that may be unhealthy to me. Perhaps ignorance is bliss. [Note: I am not allergic to other food products coming from the water, so shrimp, oysters, crab, etc. are fine].
    Any insights would be appreciated.
    Harold

  • http://pamplemousse1.blogspot.com erin

    sounds delish!

  • Charles

    Pim,
    I’ve never even heard of Pad Thai. I arrived at your blog from Elise’s “Simply Recipes”. But I will say this post is an absolute gift. From the ingredients listed and the techniques you discussed, I can’t wait to try it out.
    I always figured there must be more to a proper wok than the shape. I’m going to be hitting the Asian grocery near my place this weekend.
    Thanks again.

  • http://thewinemakerswife.blogs.com/ The Wine Makers Wife

    Pim, My husband and I went to Manresa on Saturday night. Jeremy Fox was doing amazing things back in that kitchen. We will be back, a perfect bled of spohistication, romance, relaxation and of course- we were there to learn, and we did. I wish we could go back in March… Sadly, I don’ think I would have ever gone to Manresa if not for your blog, so thank you so very much.

  • http://chezpim.typepad.com Pim

    Rasa Malaysia, ketchup for Sambal is even worse than ketchup for tamarind. Yikes.
    Kalyn, there is a chef in France I know who uses tamarind to thicken one of his stews, it adds depth and sourness, he said. Interesting, no?
    elarael, The archives are on the right column. It’s all there, really!
    Joanna, um, thanks.
    Chubbypanda, you are absolutely right.
    Nellie , Zach, the Guilty Carnivore, Elise thanks. :-)
    Oh, Nellie, I fixed the part that Joanna was impersonating you too. Thanks for pointing it out. ;-)
    Brendon, there’s a thai chilli I use that has a certain amount of smokiness in it. I basically blend my own from a few different kinds of chilli I get at my local mexican market. I find Paprika adds a nice smokiness, which can be overwhelming when used in huge quantities, but for this recipe it works just fine. It also adds a nice color to it without being too spicy.
    Jessica, there’s a basic measurement in there for making two cups of sauce. I’d go from there.
    Harold, you can mail order tamarind. I just added the link to the article. I don’t know of anything that can be a substitute for tamarind, but if you are really hard luck you might try mixing some tamarind juice (I might try reducing it first to get rid of some moisture) with regular white vinegar? It might not be as intense but it might just work. In the post I have links to a sauce that I recommend for vegetarians. It’s a soy sauce, but unlike your usual dark and smoky soy sauce this one is clear and with less pronounced flavor that makes a great substitution for the fish sauce. You’ll have to mail order it as it is hard to find, but you can use it as a standard sauce for everything that calls for fish sauce.
    Thank you so much everyone for the compliments. Try this and leave a comment to see how things turn out.
    cheers,
    Pim

  • Anh

    Hi Pim,
    I tried out the recipe and it worked like a charm. The taste was spot on, but mine was a bit dry. That’s mainly my fault though as I was holding back a bit on the oil even though in the back of my mind I was hearing you say “this ain’t no diet food”, but my expanding wasteline cried out for mercy =) In any case, thanks for the wonderful post.
    btw, would you happen to have the recipe for the Kanom Krok that you had in Thailand? I had some at the Wat Thai in North Hollywood, but have not been able to replicate this recipe. You mentioned on a past post that these yummy morsels contain coconut milk, sugar, and a bit of salt, but I have read elsewhere that there is also some jasmine rice in the mix as well. If you get a chance to look into this I would love to know. Thanks again for this delicious post!
    Anh

  • Kate

    Hey Joanna?
    “The website it is English”?
    Pot, kettle, black.

  • http://www.whatsforafters.blogspot.com Cal

    Ooh yum. I’ve always wanted to know how to cook Pad Thai.
    (And note to Joanna, as a Brit I can confirm that not only is ‘shrimps’ perfectly acceptable it is in fact the preferred usage over here. To use ‘shrimp’ to refer to the plural actually sounds quite strange. (Mind you, we generally only call the really tiny ones (less than an inch) shrimps – anything else is a prawn!)

  • qBaz

    I’m going to be making this for a bunch of folks tomorrow, all of whom love Pad Thai… the only question remaining in my mind is on the tamarind, as the only source for it locally provides it in the form of “Tamicon” concentrate. Since I’m not exactly sure how much to dilute it, I’ll just end up having to go on taste, I suspect. Thanks for the excellent writeup!

  • Angela

    Thank you, Pim, for the lesson in technique, as well as a thorough explanation of ingredients. I have experimented with inadequate pad thai recipes in the past and been frustrated by the poor results. Now that I live in Sydney, I have ready access to all the ingredients (no silly substitutions) and can’t wait to make this part of my regular repetoire.
    PS. I’ve always been afraid of those little dried shrimps, but you’ve given me the courage to give them a try.

  • http://kitchen-parade-veggieventure.blogspot.com/ Alanna

    THIS is why people love-love-love food blogs, the responsiveness and detail that’s possible in an online environment like no other place. Wonderful post, Pim. I especially like the added ingredient of champagne … with which I toast the cook!

  • http://www.profilepitstop.com/generators/Video_code/index.php Shore

    Delicious. Just now, I knew Pad Thai has tamarind in it. I usually don’t like anything with tamarind.

  • Anoop

    Thank you so much for including a vegetarian variation! (and for the naysayers: the veg option doesn’t mitigate the dish’s cultural authenticity–there are millions of vegetarians in Thailand).

  • http://www.smaarua.com Mike

    Hi,
    My collegue and me have created a web site where you can upload your food and beverages photo’s.
    We would like that see what everybody from all over the world eats everyday. We would like to build up a community.
    This is a very beautiful photo we would like to see on our site
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    See you on
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  • Josh (Jot)

    thanks for addressing this topic. it tends to be a favorite amongst khon farang, but the recipes available are icky just to read. i learned phat thai from carefully watching the to-order cooks at the canteen at thammasat, and my style is different in some ways that might be helpful to others.
    1. i put egg in the wok first, followed by garlic (optional? come on, now), chopped shallots, and pickled radish. i use the sweet kind, but the salty kind works too. despite what i had seen other cooks do, i used to add it towards the end, thinking that too much cooking would soften it. in reality, frying it in the oil a bit keeps it crunchy and flavorful.
    2. i don’t mix a sauce beforehand; whenever i have, my results have been mediocre. i keep a bottle of fish sauce and soy sauce (for color and msg) by the stove, as well as sugar. i also (this is highly unorthodox, i warn you) squirt a bit of naam phrik sriracha for heat and redness; i couldn’t bear to add ketchup and rather than just dried chile, sriracha has a bit of garlic and vinegar which deepens the flavor. i also don’t use the tamarind concentrate because it makes my noodles sticky, instead i keep a can of tamarind juice by the stove. pick a good brand: foco is good, caravelle is better. tamarind juices intended for the latino market are not preferred. i add a bit of everything to the wok once i’ve thrown in the noodles.
    3. i add chives, then bean sprouts, and sprinkle peanuts on the top once it’s plated. i used to roast peanuts, but i used to do all kinds of labor-intensive, authentic things. in the two years since i’ve returned from the golden peninsula, i’ve adopted many a convenient trick and shortcut. store-bought fried salted peanuts. food processor. buzzzz. done.
    4. fresh rice noodles.
    5. the closest thing i’ve found to the firm, yellow-skinned tofu of bangkok is either the atsu-age/hawaiian-style/fried tofu cutlet, or even better, a kind often labeled as dried or baked tofu. don’t get soy sauce flavored one; although great for phat sii-eew, it is awful in phat thai.
    6. best way to season a wok: use the hell out of it. and when you’re finished cooking, do what the ladies at the thammasat canteen do: still hot, thrust it under running water, and use your spatula to dislodge any debris. don’t scrub. sometimes, a bit of leftover phat phrik khing flavor blends nicely into your first batch of phat thai.
    once again, thanks for the great post, and i hope my suggestions are helpful for fried noodle addicts like myself.

  • Sasha

    Hi,
    I can’t remember what brought me to your blog but I just made your pad Thai and it was perfect! I have made Pad Thai before but it never came out as well and this was even easier than my old recipe. My daughter was very reluctant for me to try a new recipe but even she agreed it was fantastic. I did have a little problem with getting the shrimp to cook through at the end and wonder if you ever add them earlier? Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe/explanation.
    Sasha

  • http://delegate.cimun.org Victor

    Hi Chez, this recipe is great. My gf and I just gave it a try and it was excellent – we have room to play around and experiment. Thanks a lot!

  • http://dewdropdeb.blogspot.com Deborah

    This is incredible… I can’t wait to try it!!!

  • JamesOnly

    I’d been wanting to learn how to make Pad Thai for the longest time and the recipes I came across weren’t descriptive enough, had way too many ingredients for a quick dish, or the portions were ridiculous. I came across this the other day and I just tried it tonight. It came out perfect! I invited some friends over and they loved it. The only thing i changed, was i put a 1/4 cup of Fish Sauce because it was so strong. This recipe rivals a restaraunt here that i frequent. Thank you so much.

  • http://www.brandonpettit.com Brandon

    Sounds Great! I can’t wait to try it. The only thing i would add for less experienced people is to make sure to use oil with a low smoking point or you’ll have a huge fire the second you put the oil in the hot wok.(speaking from experience)

  • Leslie

    Hi,
    A question on tamarind. The only thing I could find is a jar of tamarind paste. It is a 5 0z jar of 100% fruit with no seeds and is very thick. It is so thick that if I lay the jar on its side, the paste does not move. Should I really use 1/2 cup or in this form does it need a bit of water to make it less thick? Many thanks, Leslie

  • David

    How long will the sauce keep in the refrigerator? I would like to make up a large batch of it and a few other Asian sauces (teriyaki, ginger) and keep them handy for easy meal preparation during the week.

  • PhiT

    I love this recipe, It was a very very good idea to prepare the sauce beforehand like that.
    Thanks for sharing the technique !!!

  • Jose

    i stand here upon the failure that is my first batch of pad thai, but the flavor is there… the hope is there…
    the noodles, they are rock solid
    my wok, brown with stuck, coated noodles
    my resolve undamaged
    tomorrow i will season the wok and try, try again

  • http://ThaiTable.com kathie

    I have an electric wok, that I have not used in awhile, because I was so discouraged how my stir fry dishes were turning out. I also had a metal wok, but it became pitted with rust when it got wet under my sink.
    Do you think I should go out and buy a new wok? I read your seasoning tips, thanks. Also, can you use a metal wok on an electric range?
    I adore pad thai. I have had it where they put cucumbers in it. How do they prepare them? Also, it is often served with a thin, sweetish, sourish clear sauce. How do you make that?
    Thanks for all your time and trouble.
    Blessings on your gift to us and may God bless you for sharing with us so freely.
    Kathie, San Antonio, TX

  • maccyd

    Great recipe for the pads Thais! Also, hilarious grammers lesson from the peoples! I have much laughter in my head and eat as I write. More More!

  • grog

    Pim, from the boundless depths of my bloated stomach, I thank you!

  • suhsix

    Thank you so much for this Pad Thai recipe. Followed your every word and it turned out amazing. I dont think I was quite ready for the smell of the fish sauce however, hahaha.
    Thanks again.

  • http://pandepanda.blogspot.com Nini

    Hi Pim! thanks so much for the pad thai recipe. It’s my favorite Thai noodle dish but always been afraid to try it at home. Your recipe sounds easy and I will try it. Thanks for sharing :)

  • Nai

    I finally made a good batch of pad thai. Thank you so much, Pim, for your recipe.

  • http://trythaifood.blogspot.com Joy at Try Thai Food

    Hi!
    That’s the longest article I ever saw and you really made it easy to understand. Thank you, I will keep reading your site. :) Joy (^_^)

  • Christa in Minneapolis

    Hi Pim-
    I have been a bit obsessed with Pad Thai lately, and due to my “need”, too much of my pay check has been going to the Thai restaurants in town. I was scared away from making this at home after a bad fish sauce experience about a year ago, but I literally just finished your recipe, and I am delighted! It was delicious! I can’t wait to have my friends over for dinner. Making the sauce before hand was key!
    Thanks again-
    Christa

  • Ursula

    All I can say is, YUMMMMMYYYYY!!! Attempted your Pad Thai recipe for the first time last night. Had some guests over but thought “What the heck!”. It was a runaway success. Followed your advice to the T and it worked out very well. Will be making this often. All my other Pad Thai recipes have been placed in the bin. Won’t be needing them any more.

  • gt pv

    Thank you and thank you.
    You are awesome, Pim.

  • Amber

    A fantastic Pad Thai, the best I have eaten since I was in Thailand last year. Thank you Pim!

  • didi hall

    i need to make this for 50 people. can i prepare it the day ahead, a couple of servings at a time and reheat it?

  • Dave

    I made this recipe for my girlfriend and myself and we both got very sick. Not sure if it was the tamarind or what as the chicken and shrimp were not bad, but man, we were in the bathroom all night!
    Neither of us had ever had tamerind before.

  • http://templeofthai.com Karla Pengsagun

    Sa wah dee kah Nong Pim,
    My Thai husband, 11 year old daughter and myself worked out what we considered to be the Perfect Pad Thai recipe. Even though we have lived in Thailand for several years, I myself had never understood the fascination with Pad Thai, but after making the sauce from scratch I finally had my first great Pad Thai dish.
    Perhaps the collective unconscious at work when I went to look on the internet to see how to tell people about the recipe, I discovered you had already posted the exact same recipe just without the measurements. May I offer a link to the recipe with measurements? http://www.templeofthai.com/food/one_click_cooking/padthaikit-9100000138.php
    Khap khun kah! Chok dee to you.

  • Brandon

    Cool recipe. For those who do not like the smell of fish sauce, try the dish called PAD SEE EW.
    Nellie, there is not post by Joanna under your name.
    Joanna, you are an idiot. I too agree that ‘shrimp’ is the common used plural form in the USA, but WHO CARES?!?!?!
    Let Pim do her thing.

  • http://www.juliettesclog.blogspot.com Juliette

    by god, the make-ahead sauce concept is one of those that makes me smack my forehead and cry “now why the hell didn’t I think of that?!”
    i cannot wait to try this out. i have made passable pad thai at home in the past, but i already have a feeling that this will be much better, not to mention more reliable.
    one question on woks, however: maybe i’m just parroting cook’s illustrated, but for western stoves (especially electric ones) aren’t woks not the best choice? i prefer a flat bottom pan, so as to better touch the heat source. in fact i usually use a nonstick pan, but i realize i sacrifice the wok-char factor. mm, plus i think it’s not so safe to super-heat teflon… uh-oh…

  • http://templeofthai.com Karla Pengsagun

    Juliette, regarding woks see this article by Kasma Loha-unchit, Thai cooking teacher, cookbook author: Wok: Flat or Round Bottom,
    Which is Better for Your Kitchen?
    http://www.thaifoodandtravel.com/features/woktype.html
    Kasma has a similar wok article in her unfortunately out of print book, Dancing Shrimp (I had to look at the cover to see if it was shrimp or shrimps!) – btw I highly recommend this book which you can find at places like powells.com in Portland OR (awesome source for 2nd hand Thai cookbooks)
    Re. Ambers question about 50 servings – yes that would work – pad thai is sometimes served at Thai funerals (where you feed everyone that comes for days on end).

  • Beau

    Cudos to you,Pim.I’m Thai and sick of those celebrity chefs who claim their dishes as Thai-this, Thai-that. Non of them have a clue about authentic Thai. Maybe you should be on food network.

  • Michael

    Very good. First time I have made pad thai and this was a big help. Just take your time and follow the instructions. Thanks for the info!

  • http://www.pithyfit.com N.

    Good tips here – thanks for posting this!
    I read your recent post about content thievery and I felt compelled to warn you about ImportFood.com. They have taken recipes that were posted to various mailing lists and newsgroups by the late Colonel Ian Khuntilanont-Philpott in the 90s and have passed them off as their own without any credit given to the Col. or to his wife, Muoi Khuntilanont. I brought this to their attention a few years ago, but they denied any wrongdoing. The recipes are still up and while they may have omitted a word or 2 here and there, they are still the same. Hopefully if you see for yourself (check out their recipe for Kaeng Phak and then compare it to the Col’s recipe for it: http://www.users.bigpond.com/catch22inc/kaeng_phak.html), you might reconsider promoting their business. I have no connection with either party, I’m just someone who used to frequent the same mailing lists and boards that the Col. did and because he’s no longer here to defend himself and his word, I think it only fair to him that someone give credit where it’s due.

  • http://www.winesos.com jackee

    i like thai food and always with wine its give me good taste.

  • http://www.cookeatfret.com claudia

    i was so thrilled with myself after seeing your recipe. pad thai is one of my guy’s favorite foods so after researching and more researching i devised my own recipe which was almost identical to yours. i have to mail order some of my ingredients but it’s worth it. anyway – i stumbled across your besutiful blog and thought to myself “i am awesone” if only because i am a middle aged nyc jew living in nashville and somehow my pad thai kicks ass. hooray for meeeeee!

  • eMo

    Hi Pim
    love your blog so much, and i am going to try your pad thai recipe during weekend.
    I’d like to know if you have an authentic recipe for “gueyteow pad ki mow” (i used to call it drunken noodles)? i used to have it almost every day a few years back, but i cannot find it in my country now.
    would really like to make it myself so i can eat it as often as i want.
    P.S. are they any websites containing good thai recipes written in english that you’ll recommend?
    thanks

  • Kat

    I just made Pad Thai for the second time tonight, and it turned out “ok”. I notice many recipes call for fresh cilantro or basil. Is it not traditional to add the cilantro? I love your blog, by the way. Added it to the del.ic.ious cookbook, as another reader commented. I am really getting into Asian cooking, mostly Vietnamese and Thai now, and I have been frustrated stumbling on such commercial or basic recipes. Thank you for doing this! This will help my Asian cooking techniques and flavors immensely!

  • deb

    My son made this for me for my birthday and it was great, we all really enjoyed it. I will be having a go at making it myself. My son is now in China studying martial arts in Jilin province, he is getting all the authentic Asian food he can eat there. Thanks for the recipe and the technique.

  • http://yongtze.typepad.com Yong Tze

    I just tried this tonight and it turned out great!! Thanks for sharing this real way of cooking pad thai.

  • Michelle

    Thanks tons for this detailed writeup! I will make ketchup-based pad thai no more! I just made this tonight and it was great, not to mention a lot faster than the other recipes I’d been using.

  • http://www.thatcanadiangirl.co.uk Vero

    Oh Pim, ma belle, thank you so much for this in-depth explanation. I read this post back in Jan when you posted it so I referred back to it tonight when I convinced my husband that we shouldn’t get takeaway and make our own pad thai instead.
    I knew I had some tamarind in the cupboard, and that I could get the other bits from Sainsburys a couple minutes walk.
    It was completely worthwhile. I’m sure we sat down to eat in the time it would take for the takeaway to arrive, and it’s a whole lot more satisfying!

  • Krystal

    In response to this posting:
    In English we do not say “shrimps”. It is always “shrimp”, just like “fruit”. Please remember this.
    Thanks.
    Joanna
    English spoken in the UK and Australia pluralize most everything with an added “s/es”. Shrimps, Fruits, Fishes, Deers… etc. Please remember that there are varying versions of the English Language.
    And this pad thai recipe is delicious… hard to find fish sauce in Texas though. :)
    Best Regards,
    Krystal

  • fonz

    i dont know why you pick on the english that people use, no ones perfect, i bet your not and the food isnt going to taste any better casue someones said “shrimps” instead of shrimp.

  • http://maceratingshallots.blogspot.com Tommy

    Pim-
    I made this tonight (and blogged about it!) and I have to say, you were right. This IS the best PT I’ve had. Astounding. Thanks!

  • Amber

    Just want to say thank you so, so much! I’ve tried to make Pad Thai three or four times and it was never even close to right. When I told my husband I was going to try again, he says, “You do remember what happened last time, don’t you?” So I gave it a shot and followed your verbose directions and it came out great! Thank you for the wordiness. It explained so much better than a simple recipe would have. It was well worth the read.
    Amber

  • Euge

    Pim, your recipe looks the business! your writing on the wok is spot on too. Photos are tops! Good job all round so I’ll have to give this a go. Re the egg, had a great pad thai once and it was wrapped in an egg parcel – you break in to get at the noodles! So good.

  • Jonathan Kandell

    Anyone else notice that the cheaper fish sauces work better in pad thai than the expensive delicate ones? The latter are better for adding to food at the table, the former for cooking imho.

  • Charlie Choi

    Just out of curiosity, is it common for local Thai restaurants to use ketchup rather than tamarind for their pad thai sauce?

  • Anu

    Hi,
    I am a beginer in cooking thai food and your pad-thai looks amazing.My husband loves pad-thai and I am sure he’s gonna love this too.
    This is definitely going in my cook book.

  • Anna

    I can’t wait to try this recipe! I’ve tried making pad thai in the past and it was always a disaster. My family is from Laos and my Mom makes the best “pad see ew” and she makes the sauce ahead of time too!

  • http://teafortwosisters.blogspot.com/ Lucy

    Thanks so much for the recipe! I didn’t follow it very closely, but it still turned out great!

  • http://www.footsteps.co.nz david

    Pim
    I found your site by accident today and just loved reading it. I had to immediatly comment on my own site about it! I also then got thinking I have rice noodles, shrimp and basically all the other stuff! Following you guidelines it was fantastic. I’ve tried making Pad Thai before with mixed success, I’m thrilled to have now learnt the ‘technique’ cheers david

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  • lanny

    just read your advice to season the wok, you mention about kosher salt?? was it suppose to be coarse salt? I’m not aware that there is a special kosher salt. tks

  • rachel m

    I am excited to try this recipe!! I’m living in Alberta right now and there no Thai restauarnts or anything here. I have been surviving off a recipe that my friend has improvised on and tried to obtain by constantly going to a local (back on PEI) Thai couples small restauarant that they had in their home. Mmmm best food ever! She would go and just watch the guy make it over and over again.
    This is what she was using to recreate the recipe (not that it matters, but give you an idea of what other moc pad thai is out there.:
    Oil
    Egg
    Rice Stick
    1/4 cup Vinegar
    1/2 Sugar
    Chili Sauce to taste
    Dash of Soya Sauce
    Shrimp
    Green Onions
    Bean Sprouts
    Peanuts
    Lime wedges
    It’s actually is pretty good.. well I think so. I usually used less sugar, but like you said.. This Ain’t No Diet Food!.

  • http://thezest.wordpress.com Trisha

    Pim,
    Just came across this and I am to-the-hilt thrilled. Pad thai is a favorite of mine (as was your more recent rant on screwed-up pad thai), but I have always been beyond frightened to make it. Here you give comprehensive instructions AND tell me how to season my wok! I will fear no more. Thank you, thank you.
    Tchin-tchin!

  • Chris

    A fantastic and deatailed methodology for making one of my favorite dishes. I have not been able to get back to Thailand for several years now but Pim’s technique will help me deal with my Pad Thai jones.

  • Nori

    Pim,
    I was led to your website after looking up confit recipes to make this weekend. What an incredible discovery to have stumbled upon this treasure of a recipe! I now will be making your Pad Thai along with your dried tomato confit. What a great way to spend a Saturday!! Thank you!

  • http://vignesh.getbonusins.click2sell.eu Venkatesh Iyer

    I have never been to Thailand, but would love to have it.

  • Fig Sister

    Pim,
    I made this as the main course for a New Year’s Party, and it was amazing. I really appreciated your comprehensive instructions, and although I was a little daunted by the 9+ pages of step-by-step, it was easy to make and everyone loved it.
    Thank you. Thank you!

  • Jennifer

    I’ve never tried to make Pad Thai before, it looked so complicated! After reading your recipie for beginners, I decided to give it a try. I’ve got to say that what I made was the best tasting Pad Thai EVER – what a great recipie! Thanks!!!

  • Ann

    Thank you so very much for sharing your Pad Thai cooking secrets with the world! My friends and I were out at a Thai restaurant the other day when everyone started talking about their horrible Pad Thai making experiences. Hearing this, I decided to go home and Google an authentic recipe. Yours sounds wonderful, and I will be trying it tonight…I’m sure it will not disappoint. Thanks again!

  • Tiffany

    Hi Pim and thank you for this recipe but MOST of all for the detailed instructions.
    I have been making asian food (all types) for many years and when I come across something that is so explict in the instructions I really take notice. I am not a good cook, I am a get by, but my family loves my cooking. Everyone LOVED this recipe, especially the little ones. I knew there was tamarind in this (and can’t imagine anyone actually thinking it was katsup) and have always used it, but the recipe i was using called for 1/2 lime juice to be added into the wok and my pad thai was always SUPER sour, not a nice balance, and dumb me couldn’t figure it out. But your equal parts of Tam, FS and Sugar then peppers to taste is perfect!… I make my sauce ahead of time and keep in the fridge. The only thing i add to it is 2 TBS of Ground Peanuts.. It does effect the consistency of the sauce but not the flavor since the thing we adore about pad t is the combo of flavors… to us PT without peanuts would be just Pad… (in my opinion). Thank you SO much for your time!
    I am so grateful to you for your post that I can manage (barely) to over-ook your gramatical errors (just kidding)…
    MUAH thank you so much again and keep ‘em coming!

  • Murray.podro

    Your recipes are abolutely Fantastic Keep up the
    good work noone gives a dish the attention to detail like you! Just great Here in the uk They dont With one or two exeptions give such loving attention
    Murray Podro

  • http://www.bexn.net b

    Thank you Pim for this amazing recipe! I just made two servings of this tonight for dinner and your directions were superb, the proportions excellent and the vegetarian suggestions much appreciated. Now onto the Pad See Ew… i can’t wait!

  • rebecca

    thank you so much for the awesome recipe!!! it was so easy for this first-time pad thai-maker to follow. i couldn’t find tamarind paste, so i ended up using an approximately 2:1 combo of pomegranate and umeboshi pastes. it turned out delicious. :)

  • Mindy

    I’m going to go for it with this recipe, luckily I usually land jelly side up. My only question is what kind of oil? Did I miss it in the instructions? (I read twice) Type of oil can change a dish’s flavor so much! I’m going to go with Vegetable with a dash of Seasame if I don’t hear back, hope that isn’t a tragic mistake?!

  • Lance N. Pham

    Dude or dudet! I had eaten enough to tell which restaurant make good pad thai. I love pad thai and always want to make it. Your recipe and instruction are just what I need. It rocks. I will try it and post my comment late.

  • Brett

    I’m looking forward to trying this. It will be a major upgrade from my ramen, peanut butter, brown sugar and lime approximation. Though it’s quick and easy and tastes good, it’s not really pad thai :)
    Your writeup here is detailed enough to give me hope that I can pull it off! Thanks!

  • EV

    Pim,
    I’m such a huge fan of Thai food. Thanks for this wonderful recipe. It turned out top-notch. I’m from Seattle where I discovered and fell in love with Thai food. I like it with shrimp (and I like it with shrimps too). I now live in San Diego and just can’t seem to find a Thai restaurant that matches up to my Seattle faves (suggestions anyone?) Suffice it to say my kitchen has become a den of creation. Your recipes have made my home the preferred place for my friends to gather for Thai food. Our favorites are panang curry, pad kee mao (yummy drunken noodles), this version of pad thai and tom kha gai. Thank you thank you THANK YOU!
    Joanna,
    Please don’t e-scold me for using “faves” above- God forbid my use of this word would warrant a replay of your expression “the recipe is nice but could be improved with better grammar.” In all fairness to grammar, you could stand to cut down on the use of fragmented sentences. Unless used for purposes of art (i.e. poetry), sentence fragments suggest that your thinking is fragmented because you’re only presenting a piece of a complete thought. Was it your intent to give the impression that your thinking is incomplete? I believe this rule applies in all adaptations of the English language, no? Please remember this.
    EV

  • Taliadouros

    Oh thank you thank you thank you!!!
    (that’s for the grammar police to rip me apart about)
    I live in a rural town on the coast of Maine and have to travel at LEAST 30 minutes to get Pad Thai (luckily it is really good Pad Thai). I’ve been dying to figure out how to make it. This “guideline” is incredible and I can’t wait to start experimenting with it. You’ve done an amazing job of explaining the how’s and why’s… I’d never have figured out out without you!
    Thanks a bunch!
    Kim T.

  • http://readreidsblog.blogspot.com Reid

    Hi, I found your blog and actually carried out making this recipe. It’s verbose, but really helpful! The dish turned out great and thanks to you, I am happily stuffed!

  • mike payling

    Yes, fantastic recipe. Now, those shrimp/s
    If only everybody spoke British English, they would be called PRAWNS, and it is always the case that it is one prawn, two prawns. Shrimp, or more commonly shrimps, are small prawns.
    Mike P

  • BTickell

    Chez Pim,
    Had Pad Thai in D.C. this weekend and it was great. Nice explanation of how you make your Pad Thai. I can’t wait to try out your recipe!
    I will be investing in a wok soon, any suggestions of what kind or brand of wok?
    Joanna please post again so we can laugh at you. The fact that you are so quick to ridicule Pims grammar when obviously your grammar needs work.
    [Thanks for the laugh Kate, I laughed my butt off.]
    Hey Joanna?
    “The website it is English”?
    Pot, kettle, black.
    Posted by: Kate
    Cheers!

  • BTickell

    Chez Pim,
    Nix the wok suggestions.
    I looked around and found on your blog a link to your suggestions for “Which wok for you?”
    http://www.chezpim.com/blogs/2008/02/which-wok-for-y.html
    Thank you,
    BTickell

  • http://eatingclubvancouver.blogspot.com js

    Thank you for sharing your tips for pad thai!
    We are beginners and we’ve made our first attempt at pad thai earlier this week after consulting your tips.
    Thanks to you — the cooking went smoothly and the results are delicious! I’m happy to report that our final product even looked like yours. (Pictures are on the blog.)
    Thank you again and I’m glad to have found your blog. Enjoying the posts very much.

  • MichaelnTheKitchen

    *warning* possible culinary heresy alert;
    (Any)Worcestershire Sauce’s *main* flavour is tamarind paste in white vinegar. With a little adjustment of the other ‘sours’ involved, WS *might* serve those who are tamarindously challenged, or perhap as an emergent substitute.
    (Pim; please delete all of the above if this post falls into the dreaded ‘ketchup’-type subtitution category)
    Also, thanks to all grammaruffians and spellingomers…whenever I see the first nascent whine, I can PgDn through the post…saving much time !!!

  • http://jeremyskitchen.wordpress.com Jeremy

    Fantastic post! I love pad thai, and have been fortunate enough to live around the corner from a great Thai restaurant for several years. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe soon, since I’m moving and will likely go into withdrawl.

  • http://kitchen.mrorph.com Donald

    Wow!!!
    We just ate our first pad thai dish. I used this well-informed post for reference and the dish turned out fantastic.
    Thanks.

  • http://www.rojakrendezvous.blogspot.com Siu Mei

    Hi Pim
    Would you have imagined that more than a year after this entry, you’re still getting comments ?
    Just want to say that this is the best pad thai recipe that I’ve come across. I’ve introduced this to friends, shared this at food forums & most recently on my blog too.
    Thank you so much.

  • http://peace-nancyew.blogspot.com Nancy

    Yummy….I was drooling all the way. I must try out this drooling recipe.

  • Ian G.

    My Thai girlfriend’s Mom made me Pad Thai, using soy sauce, and I asked the two of them why there was no tamarind in it. They were very insistent that tamarind was ‘not authentic’ – but I was sure they were wrong, since I had my own recipe developed from Kasma Loha-Unchit’s and David Thompson’s writings. Your methods and theirs are quite similar. I like the idea of pounding the dried shrimp, and doing small portions. I think mine ends up getting too steamed because the heat can’t handle the volume of food. Thanks for your ideas – and for publishing them.

  • Ian G.

    Oh, I forgot. Last time I was in Bangkok, I had a a great Pad Thai in a very traditional place near the D’Ma Pavilion Hotel. The tofu had been deep-fried in advance, and was dropped into the pan near completion of cooking. It added a great ‘springy’ texture to the dish, so I tried it at home. It is definitely worth the extra effort. Just chop the tofu into little cubes and deep fry for about .. 10 minutes, until they are a bit brown. Strain and reserve the oil for later reuse, and drop into the pan just before adding the sauce.

  • Heather

    Hi,
    I tried the recipe and it didn’t turn out very well. I used the wrong noodles first of all. I’ve since bought the right style rice noodles and will try again. When you say “soak until pliable” what do you mean? Because my noodles never cooked in the wok. I ended up taking them out, boiling them and putting them back in the wok.
    Thanks, heather

  • Thai Lover

    I’m nuts about Thai Food, this recipe rocks, as the pre-mixed bottled sauces taste funky and my husband always complains about the authenticity of Pad Thai from the out-of-the-box varieties. This recipe made me look like a real cook – cooking from scratch is the way to go.
    The only thing I did to alter the recipe was add a Chicken Tofu Steak from Helen’s Kitchen which is easier to get my husband eating vegetarian because its a little more tasty and comes frozen (so I can grab it out of the freezer when you want without worrying about it spoiling). I think Helen’s Kitchen called it Vegetarian Chicken Tofu Steaks, it tasted better than plain tofu, you guys might want to try that option. I found it at Whole Foods.

  • Michael

    Amazing recipe! Just finished dinner and it turned out great. Best part is that it’s dead simple to make — and I was able to find all the ingredients at the tiny Asian grocery where I live. Thanks!

  • http://curiosityandthecupcake.blogspot.com Leah

    Finally made this last night. It was fabulous and erased a horrible concoction I made years ago.
    Thanks! L.

  • Jo-Ann McDermott

    This question may have been answered in your blog but I was unable to find it. What kind of chili powder do you use. I’m looking forward to trying your recipe. Thanks.

  • matt

    The recipe sounds awesome! Next time I make pad thai, it will be this one. One question on a semi related note: I have a recipe for a chutney that calls for 2/3 cup tamarind in a block, soaked in 4 cups boiling water. I can opnly find concentrate. How much concentrate should I use? I do not want to overpower it.

  • Twelvefield

    I just tried the pad thai recipe. The way I made it, it tasted like very authentic vomit, salty-sour digestive juices with a hot sweetness. It was a complete disaster, but fortunately my wife and I were the only victims. Well, not a complete failiure: I nailed the texture of the noodles right on the mark, but then I’ve always been preternaturally good with noddles from all cultures. So I had great noodles in puke sauce.
    I seriously doubt that the source recipe was the problem. I can see that other people have had success with this, so the error must have been in my kitchen. A big part of good cooking is learning from mistakes, so every cook must expect to fail from time to time. I just wanted to share this failiure, and so move on.

  • Sahan

    hi there!!! thank you for sharing your cooking experience with all of us … what i wanna know is how to make the noodles by my self or home made. hope ur not getting confused or anything!!! like make the noodle by hand.

  • Cristina

    Thank you for posting this awesome recipe! I just finished making it, and I swear it’s the best I ever had! Your suggestions and step-by-step instructions as well as your pictures contributed to my success.
    Thanks!

  • Blythe

    Pim,
    I really appreciate this recipe…I have struggled for years to make pad-thai and it has always turned out as a mushy, soupy, disaster…sometimes a disaster whose taste was similar to cat food. I can hardly wait to try this. I like this ‘julia child’ type of recipe that explains crucial techniques.

  • Scotia48

    I just made this with a few alterations. The sauce is excellent-I just toasted some paprika for the sauce and used the tamarid cake. Something one can do the day before. I used matchstick extra-firm tofu, fried and fresh large gulf shrimp. I also added fresh cilantro and chopped roasted peanuts and rooster chili garlic sauce as sides after cooking. The noodles I used were the rice flat kind, I boiled them for a few minutes, drained and then separated them and added them into the mixture at the last then added the sauce and mixed. The most important step is knowing how to adjust the sauce to your liking. Pim is right that you have to make it MORE than you want as mixing it in dilutes it.
    Cheers!

  • Doug

    Thanks for the recipe, I’m making this for my wife tonight.

  • Ednaski

    I just made your Pad Thai recipe for supper tonight. It was wonderful and your helpful hints for wok cooking really helped me. If it wasn’t for your site I probably would have tried to cook all 8 servings at one time and what a mess that would have been.
    Thanks again and I look forward to exploring your site even more.

  • Laurie

    AMAZING recipe. My Husband raved about this! Thank you so much for posting a proper pad thai recipe.

  • Rheannon Okey

    This is the most amazing “recipe” for pad thai ever! Wonderful details. I now make pad thai better than any of the restaurants in my area. My co-worker, who was born in Bangkok, says it’s exactly how she makes it. Thanks again!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=592454992&hiq=chona%2Creyes Chona

    Thanks, Pim. My boyfriend and I tried your recipe for the first time; it was fantastic! Luckily, we were able to find all the ingredients at Manila Oriental Market (MOM) in SF which really gave us the entire experience of the dish. It was lovely. I look forward to trying more of your suggested recipes.
    Chona

  • Reanna

    [I apologize if this comes through twice - my computer is giving me an error message when I hit 'post'.]
    Pim, thank you! This recipe sounds wonderful and the instructions are perfectly thorough – exactly what I need! I just got back from my first trip to Thailand and am desperately on the hunt for authentic recipes. I tried one the other night for chicken with cashew and it was a disaster. Oh, it tasted fine in its own right, but there was NOTHING Thai about it. I was discouraged, but the details you included with these instructions give me the courage to try again with my other favorite dish, pad thai. (By the way, do you have a chicken cashew recipe on here? I didn’t see one, but I could easily have missed it.)
    My biggest question still is what kind of cooking oil is best? What kind do they use in Thailand? A friend of a friend in Bangkok says his mother cooks with pig oil (from the fat). Hmmm… Are there other authentic options available to us here? Thank you very much, and I look forward to my first attempt at making pad thai!

  • Cassaendra

    Dear Pim,
    While it isn’t cost effective for cookbooks to dissect recipes and include as many great pictures, I always appreciate books and blogs that take the time to do so, especially one that is laid out as cleanly yours. Your insight on pad thai is extremely helpful.
    As for the debate on “shrimps” versus “shrimp,” if you’re using several different kinds of shrimp, then “shrimps” is used, e.g., black tiger shrimp, rock shrimp, and white shrimp in a dish. If you’re only using one type, then the plural form is “shrimp.”
    Thank you.
    Cassaendra

  • http://mariarachelle.blogspot.com Rache

    Thank you for this recipe. Have wanted to learn how to make Pad Thai for so long, but it seemed so complicated. You made it easy… Turned out really well too, my son even had seconds.

  • Tosakan

    Pim,
    Good recipe.
    I have a similar recipe.
    I do a few things differently though.
    I marinate the chicken first in soy sauce and corn starch.
    I add the garlic before frying the chicken.
    I do the sauce first also, which is important.
    But my secret sauce is one part tamarind juice, one part fish sauce, one part sugar(maybe a little less; I don’t like mine sweet also) and one part sri racha(instead of chili powder.)
    I actually like my sauce more tangy than sweet, so I test for tanginess. I also like the kick of the sri racha. And it gives the Pad Thai a nice color.
    Anyway, I fry the garlic, then chicken, then add a little chicken stock, then add the noodles, then add the egg to the side. I always season my egg with a little fish sauce and white pepper first.
    I add blanched soy beans.
    Fold it together, then let it sit until the noodles start to get a little crusty, then fold it again.
    If it gets too dry, I may add a little lime juice and sri racha mixture to it.
    I add the crushed peanuts and greens at the end.
    I don’t use turnip and dried shrimps because I am not in Thailand. I like flavor of both, but it just isn’t worth getting when cooking for myself.
    I don’t have any problems with mushy noodles. My sauce coats like a pasta sauce.

  • sarah

    Great recipe and very easy to follow. I followed it to the letter but mine turned out to be a little too tangy. Its colour was also a little too dark. It didn’t look very appetizing although the taste was good not great but good. Any suggestions?

  • http://www.randomgong.com Steve

    Pim,
    Thank you so much for writing such a detailed write-up for Pad Thai. It is one of my favorite out-to-eats.
    For my first try (tonight,) the only tamarind I could find was tamarind ‘concentrate.’ I watered it down to a loose ketchup consistency, but it was still very very sour. After lots of messing with the mixture, the sauce tasted somewhat familiar to the Pad Thai I’ve had before, and when I cooked it, it was very dark – no red tint at all. All the Pad Thai I’ve had before has at least SOME red tint, if not an orange-ish colour. Should I try a different type of Tamarind?
    I’m pretty discouraged after tonight — any tips for me? Much appreciated, Pim!
    -Steve

  • Sincara

    Yin Dee มากครับที่ได้เห็นคนไทยประสพความสำเร็จระดับนี้
    เพิ่งรู้จักคุณ อย่างบังเอิญจาก link ครับ

  • http://kyotofoodie.com/ Peko Peko

    I have never made Pad Thai before, but I do love the dish!
    I think I can get all the ingredients here in Kyoto, Japan, so I am going to try and make it!
    Thanks!
    KyotoFoodieのPeko

  • bobby

    i really enjoy reading all the comments made. it is really interesting to read about the grammar debate as well. my, how one comment can really start a debate. i fell in love with pad thai in england whilst studying there. it was at a malaysian restaurant tho. i’ve been trying to get hold of an authentic recipe n i think i’ve found it here. thanks so much for sharing it.
    btw english is not my 1st language so pardon my english if it is not up to ‘standard’.

  • portugalbear

    Dear Pim,
    Thank you so much for you detailed account of making pad thai. i made it over the weekend and it was a hit. so happy that on a first try, i didn’t end up throwing the finish product away. instead the finish product is now resting in my family’s tummy. thanks again. looking forward to more detailed thai recipes.

  • Cláudio

    Hi Pim!
    Just discovered your wonderful blog after seeing it on nat geo last night. Hope to learn a lot here. I’m definatelly cooking this recipe tonight. About Tamarind; what if I can only find the fruit itself? how should I make the pulp?
    Thanks

  • Bazza

    Hi there, I tried the recipe and my skills turned into a dissaster. the noodles tuned the dish into a big mushy mess! the scrambled egg nog didnt help either.
    1. how stiff do those noodles need to be?
    2. What is the technique used to get the egg into the noodles without becoming mushy.
    I just dont want to be unauthentic and cook everything and add the noodles last!

  • Joy

    thanks for the technique. I made Pad Thai last night and cooked it in one big batch. Of course, as you described, it came out lumpy and sticky and just not appetizing to eat. It tasted good. From now on, I will use the method that you described – in small batches. I can’t wait to get home tonight to try to make it again.

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  • http://caseyangelova.blogspot.com/ Casey Angelova

    Thank you so much for the recipe. I only have one criticism. I needed much more sauce. With the amounts your suggested the portions were very pale. But, now I know for next time. I wrote about my experiences on my blog. Please check it out! http://caseyangelova.blogspot.com/

  • Dar

    love the way u laid it out for us, thank you, as for joanne, shame on you!!!

  • Lola

    Wow!
    Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to post such a wonderful recipe. I love pad thai. It is one of my favourite dishes, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to make it for a while now. I look forward to visiting this site again and learning about more exciting dishes!

  • Saoirse

    a few geeky questions:
    Just how long is “a long time,” that the tamarind or sauce keeps in the fridge? A week? Also, what kind of oil do you use? I’ve been told that it’s not good to let olive oil smoke, and that’s what I normally use. BTW, you purists will probably gag, but this is really good cold w/lots of cilantro + lime juice on a bed of lettuce…

  • kja

    Tonight, I will be making Pad Thai with this recipe for the 4th time. My children and better half can’t get enough of it. :)
    I was unable to find anything other than tamarind concentrate at our international market, but it seems to do the trick.
    I can’t get over how much easier it is to make it in smaller batches. I think that was the major tip that I was missing in my early attempts to make Pad Thai. I would end up with one big glob of noodles, as others have mentioned.
    If people simply follow your instructions, this is a GREAT recipe! :) It might look tricky (I freaked out a little when I printed it — LOL), but it is very intuitive. Thank you!

  • christopher

    This is sooooooo useful and helpful in the way it is laid out and explained. Thank you so much!

  • Maartje

    He Pim thanks a lot for this recipe. I followed cooking lessons in thailand and there my pad thai was wonderfull, but when i tried making it at home for four people it just stuck together like one big jar of noodle. I think making it one portion at a time is the secret they forget to tell me so thank you!!Also making a batch of sauce is a great idea. Well my downstairs neighbour is practicing her horrible indonesian karaoke, I guess the time is right for some pad thai. Wish me luck

  • http://janetching.wordpress.com Gourmet Traveller

    Lovely detailed recipe, I crave for something spicy and would love to try it out.

  • http://janetching.wordpress.com Gourmet Traveller

    Hi Pim, I immediately tried it tonight, it tasted delicious and my hubby said I should make it more often. Don’t know why I crave for spicy food recently and the Pad Thai fulfill my desire perfectly. I was a little skeptical at the beginning after I have prepared the sauce but the outcome was so good. Would it be OK if I mention and share this in my blog? I will link back to your blog. I am very happy that I found your blog today by googling.

  • Tyrell’s mum

    Hi Pim,
    Just found this recipe on the net. I am about to go and stage a raid on my local Asian Grocery shop to make it for the family tonight. My son first ate Pad Thai in Bangkok at the age of three and has been a bit obsessed with finding the ‘perfect’ Pad Thai since. So far he has narrowed it down to two local Thai restaurants and the yearly open day at the Thai Embassy. Not bad for a 13 yo. Hopefully this recipe will meet his approval….judging from all the comments I have high hopes.
    Oh and for all you grammar/language purists- ‘Shrimps’?????? Any self respecting Aussie or Kiwi can tell you they are PRAWNS (LOL)!

  • Kerry

    Joanna:
    Please note that “Shrimp” is a countable noun and has a regular plural: 1 shrimp, 2 shrimps.
    At a restaurant, you can order one shrimp cocktail or two shrimp cocktails.
    It’s like potato salad or apple pie. Even if it takes more than one potato to make the salad and more than one apple to make the pie, you still use those words in singular since they are acting as premodifiers of another noun. ‘Potato’ and ‘apple’ are still nouns, but they are occupying the place of an adjective and acting like one.

  • http://templeofthai.com/mortar_and_pestle/mortar_pestle.php Kikky Bihota

    There is a Pad Thai recipe very similar to this one but with the ingredients measured out here:
    http://www.templeofthai.com/food/noodles/padthaikit-9100000138.php Enjoy!

  • Amy

    An absolutely beautiful recipe. My friends and I made an adventure of acquainting ourselves with the local asian market and finding all of the ingredients. They were blown away, as was I! Thank you so much, this is one to keep for a lifetime. I’m very anxious to try your other recipes. Than you again!
    (I’ve tried a pad thai recipe with ketchup before. ew.)

  • Rosalie

    Hi Pim,
    Thanks so much for these instructions — the description of the aimed-for taste: “a salty flavor, follow by a mild sourness, …” was so helpful. It’s difficult (okay, impossible) to intuit the desired taste of a dish if you’ve never had a genuinely traditional version. I wish more instructions began with a description of the flavor/texture/consistency you’re looking for. My husband and I love this Pad Thai — esp that it is more tamarind-y than sugary. Thank you.
    Rosalie

  • Jarrod

    Thanks for posting this. It turned out really well on the first try. I’m certain that it’ll only get better as I tweak it a little for my own personal taste.
    Cheers!
    Jarrod

  • http://www.ameliaray.net Amelia Ray

    This is a wonderful recipe! And terribly easy! I wowed my friends and family with it yesterday. For starters I made a mushroom soup recipe I found here: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/7461/thai+style+beef+and+mushroom+soup
    Thanks, Pim! I’ve bookmarked your site for the next time I need a great recipe!

  • Sue

    Pim, this is a great recipe. You finally be the first hit when I googled for Pad thai recipe.
    I can tell my husband now why I always cook my food with high heat in a wok ;-)

  • Rachel

    I found this recipe under a google search for best pad thai recipe. I’ve made it twice and I want to add some feedback. I added the garlic with the shrimp, because when I added it with the tofu it burnt to a crisp and made the dish bitter. Also the second time I made it, I added waaay too much sauce. =*( I would say, stick with 1/4 cup! All in all it was super delicious. A bit of work, but tasty.

  • http://www.templeofthai.com/food/noodles/padthaikit-9100000138.php Linette L. Radcliff

    I have found the Pad Thai recipe at this site to be just like described here but with all the measurements worked out, I highly recommend it!
    http://www.templeofthai.com/food/noodles/padthaikit-9100000138.php

  • Perry

    Cant wait to try pad thai have bought in jar already made but have been and bought ingredients from local chinese store. Have been to thialand and loved the food. any where else in the world get bad stomach not there fantastic

  • http://chezpim.typepad.com/blogs/2007/01/pad_thai_for_be.html JEF

    It would help if there was a ingredients short list i could print off

  • http://chezpim.typepad.com/blogs/2007/01/pad_thai_for_be.html JEF

    It would help if there was a ingredients short list i could print off

  • Susan

    Thank you for your detailed recipe Pim. It was an enjoyable and well-spoken post. My first time making Pad Thai was a success thanks to you clear directions. My boyfriend loved it and I’m looking forward to making it again.
    Susan

  • http://globaleats.blogspot.com anthony

    Hey, I ran across your page yesterday after getting an urge to attempt my first pad thai (being that i’m in viet Nam and I can get all the ingredients cheap!).
    Your page helped me loads. Thanks for all the tips! My sauce was a little bit mild so I think i’ll go a bit heavier on the fish sauce next time (have bad memories of over-salty foods!).
    Great work on the site, keep it up.
    anthony

  • Mabel

    Thanks so much for the recipe! My cousin and I just love Pad Thai, I had doubts before if I’d be able to cook this because of the sauce, I never guessed it’s tamarind! I just burned the tofu though but the sauce and noodles is just great, and to think that i don’t really cook.. I just got curious because I love this dish, thanks for the detailed explanation here, really helped! Inspired me to cook this.

  • http://www.crashtestkitchen.com/pad-thai-with-two-tries Waz

    Hi Pim, big thanks from Crash Test Kitchen. Thanks to your instructions we’ve just bounced back from disaster to complete our latest episode, “Pad Thai with two tries”. All the best, Waz and Lenny.

  • Eddie

    excellent post. Thamk you very much. I wish every recipe was a walk through as you have done with this delicious one. Thank you, Eddie

  • Phil

    I keep struggling with pad thai. Your recipe is great, i think i have the taste down, but i always have trouble with the noodles sticking together. They form just 1 big blob rather than separate noodles. its so frustrating. I’ve only cooked it properly once. it seems like such an easy dish, yet i dont know why i struggle with it.

  • foodlover

    Great recipe! tried it last night and although my noodles were a big gross mess the sauce rocked. haha, any tips on how to make my noodles less….crappy? I put TONS of oil in…maybe i just have to get used to the handling of the wok. Either way it was wonderful, thank you so much for putting this up!

  • Michelle

    “the website IT IS english”??? I don’t know Joanna, but YOUR grammar leaves much to be desired. Try english for dummies

  • Michelle

    “the website IT IS english”??? I don’t know Joanna, but YOUR grammar leaves much to be desired. Try english for dummies

  • megumi
  • hitomi
  • Cara

    Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve been enjoying Ethnic Gourmet’s Pad Thai with Tofu for several years, but I finally got up the energy and interest to make my own. When I Googled “pad thai sauce”, yours was the first site I hit. I greatly appreciate the detailed explanation. But now I need some help.
    Your blog says to use tamarind pulp. I thought that’s what I bought in the health food store. I faithfully dumped 1/2 cup of fish sauce and then 1/2 cup of tamarind into the pan before I realized that what I had was tamarind concentrate! After reading the suggested serving size on the side of the container I discovered that 1 teaspoon was meant to flavor a dish for 6 people.
    So, can I adapt your recipe to work with the concentrate? I saved the 1/2 cup of tamarind concentrate mixed with 1 cup fish sauce (my first thought, before I did the math in my head, was to add more fish sauce to balance it) in case I could salvage it. There’s also a few tablespoons left of the straight tamarind concentrate.
    I managed something sort of akin to the sauce by using a tablespoon of the first mixture and have been enjoying my leftover pad thai ever since. For some reason, the noodles were much better heeated up as leftovers. They weren’t all the way cooked the first time around.
    I greatly appreciate any further hints you can give me. And thanks again. I LOVE this dish!

  • Sunishchal Dev

    You should add a P to the end of your name. Because that’s exactly what you are, a food Pimp

  • http://www.heavenhasfallen.com Heaven

    looks good

  • Iain

    Thanks, this recipe worked very well. Added a can of coconut milk, some keefer lime, broccoli, and some lemon grass shoots. Call me crazy. The kids even ate it!

  • Emily

    I have the same question Cara does below. In fact, I probably have the same exact ingredient — Tamarind Concentrate, wherein one teaspoon for 6 people. I’d love to know how to make it work with your recipe. Thanks!

  • Rose

    It’s like reading a saga on Phad Thai – abbreviated version will genuinely make it easier for those who are a too little busy to read a saga in order to make a lovely dish

  • Anonymous

    I appreciate your time to write such a great post on making “Pad Thai for beginners”. What I think other readers forgot is that you have dedicated your time to share tips/ tricks/ suggestions on how to make a good Pad Thai dish versus a mediocre Pad Thai dish. This alone is priceless and I believe some other readers have failed to acknowledge this.

  • Gt

    Reading about some readers’ difficulties with tamarind concentrate, I would like to clarify that INDIAN & THAI BLOCK tamarinds have very different flavor profiles, as do concentrates from those two countries.
    Of INDIAN tamarind concentrates, I hate to name brands, especially because TAMCOM was an early entrant when nothing else could be found. But it is VERY sour and does not contribute to good cooking, Indian or Thai. I use it because I feel a sense of loyalty fom 30 years ago!!!!! The LAXMI brand of tamarind concentrate in a glass jar is supposed to much better. it look better too, a fresh-looking, decent light brown, as opposed to the deadly black tar of TAMCON!! But, while LAXMI comes highly recommended by South Indians, I persist with the horrid old creature + plain block Indian tamarind for Indian!!! So my conscience is clear, with respect to this post!!!
    That Tamcon and its close cousins will behave exactly as the disappointed reader wrote above, blackening and souring everything it touches to a fare-thee-well!! Therefore, I suspect he was waylaid by an infamous plastic jar.
    Thai tamarind concentrate too is available, but I have never tried it. Have always used Thai block tamarind for Thai cooking: the sourness is less pronounced than the Indian variety, and there is a different quality to the tartness.

  • jan

    Thanks for this wonderful enlightenment! :) …About the noodles sticking together, when I used the frozen noodles they do stick together quite quickly, but when I use the dried noodles (soaked of course)–they don’t (some of it still somehow stick to the pan but not to each other).

  • http://junipie.blogspot.com junipie

    This is great. I’ll have to stop by the store for ingredients and I can start making my own pad thai! It’s something I always crave but didn’t think I could make reliably delicious at home. I personally love long “saga” recipes, because I understand the ingredients and process much better, thank you!

  • http://www.squidoo.com/homemade-solar-energy Tordon

    Thanks I really need help with the measurements , it did not work well the first time

  • http://www.squidoo.com/Free-Weekly-Recipes Ron Smith

    I hope that you will continue to provide us with these great ideas

  • Heather

    Thanks, Gt, for the clarification about tamarind. I just finished my first batch with tamarind concentrate, and it was TERRIBLE. I suppose I’ll find a different version of the ingredient and try again.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/Meatloaf-Recipe Meatloaf recipe

    would it be possible to include this recipe on my site if I give you proper credit?

  • http://www.sonriseconstruction.com Brenda

    I love Pad Thai. But why does its recipe always sound so complicated?
    thank you for sharing

  • Sassy

    Thank you so much for sharing your secrets to a great pad thai with the world! This is my first time to your site, and I love it! You have beautiful insight and I can’t wait to keep exploring!

  • Vernie

    After years and years of wanting to make pad thai, I finally did using this formula, with excellent results! I have a taste for sour, so I adjusted my sauce with citric acid. I highly recommend keeping citric acid on hand; it adds a very clean, sour taste without any side tastes. It’s super potent, so much so that I would reccomend using less than an 1/8th of a teaspoon to start with to adjust this sauce (actualy, just a tiny pinch), if you like a sour taste. I bought the pre-chopped pickeled radish thinking it would be OK to use without any extra prep. WRONG! Make sure to chop it into tiny (2mm x 2mm) pieces, or you’ll get hit with a serious dose of salt.
    I also cheated and used a nice, flat, non-stick pan. I heard somewhere that the amount of heat from a normal, household stove just isn’t adequate to heat a wok to a high enough temperature for it to work right. I didn’t have any problems with keeping the pan hot enough (i.e. no juices collecting in the bottom of the pan), and everything got a nice kiss of carmelization.

  • totheleft

    I would thank you for the recipe and taking the time to share it, but couldn’t you bother to include how much fish sauce to use? Geez, no wonder most of the bloggers here didn’t actually TRY your recipe. It just sounds good with no actual details.

  • http://www.raycreationsindia.com/ Aparna

    Its look delicious. Thanks for this really nice food.

  • adelina

    Hi Pim -
    I just made this tonight and want to express my sincere thanks and gratitude for sharing such a wonderful recipe, tips, suggestions, etc. The first time I tried pad thai was almost 15 years ago in California. It was definitely love at first sight with pad thai then! Since that day, my wish of making pad thai has always been on the back of my mind, but your recipe/ instruction is the first that actually encourages me to cook. I’m still learning about cooking, but tonight, I feel a sense of pride and success! I showed my boyfriend all the pages that you took the time to write a recipe on pad thai and he was shocked!
    Sincerely, thank you for this blog and for everything you do for us!

  • Filipina

    Bravo!!!!!!! I’ve searched high and low for over a year just to discover the secrets to an authentic pad thai. ANd now, I guess the search is over…Thanks…

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p01156e342e88970c blynndee

    OH MY GOD!!!! This is such an amazing recipe! Yes, it is lengthy in the explanation, but nonetheless, once you have all the right ingredients ready, it’s really easy to put together. A perfect meal when you’re by yourself and want something quick. I was looking for a great recipe and now I need look no further. The flavours are balanced and you can taste everything at once—sweet, salty, tangy, heat—its all there. It’s just one big party going on the mouth. YUM!!!

  • Uzra Casuri-Balouch

    Hi Pim,
    Thank you for this absolutely yummy receipe. I had been craving it and when I googled yours was the only one I wanted to make.
    Thank you for the detail, the cultural info, and most of all your generosity.
    I just finished making and eating it. WOW! definately fool proof.
    You should write a cookery book, in the same style you wrote this receipe. I love it and would be the first one to buy it.
    Cheers,
    Uzra.

  • http://kitchensidecar.blogspot.com katiek of kitchensidecar

    I just made this for dinner. Suffice it to say that I am bed ridden from eating ALL OF THE PAD THAI. Jesus, it was just too good!
    O. An I also used tamarind form a block. Reconstituted with water. It was leftover from some the tamarind chutney i made. Tastes like indian ketchup!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0115702a4c2e970b artnota

    Pim,
    You are a goddess!!! I’ve never made pad thai before and I can’t believe how well it turned out. The recipe actually tastes better than some of the Thai restaurants I’ve eaten at in NYC! And your instruction was detailed enough for a beginner cook like me to understand and follow. Many thanks to you. Your food photos are so professional looking; are you also a professional photographer? :)
    Thanks very much for sharing your wonderful recipe!
    Tiffany

  • http://healthyindulgences.blogspot.com Lauren B

    Hi Pim,
    Love your blog. This post was very helpful. The only problem with not having measurements is not being able to replicate authenticity when making ethnic recipes. Any somewhat capable cook can throw in amounts of ingredients that suit their tastebuds, but I am interested in a taste of the Thai streets! I’d probably put in way too much of the ground peanuts since my goto Pad Thai sauce (allrecipes.com, heh) is PB based. Can you point me to a recipe with measurements, perhaps on one of your favorite cooking blogs/cookbooks? :)

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p011570656251970b Laura

    Chez Pim,
    Thanks for the pad thai instructions! I want to condition my wok before I try it. Does the type of oil matter? What’s best for the wok? What kind of oil do you use in the pad thai? Sesame? I don’t have Thai chili powder. Can I use chili garlic sauce or should I keep looking for the chili powder? The one I have is “Tuong ot toi viet nam”. Many thanks!!
    Laura

  • http://placesiveneverbeen.com Addie

    this pad thai is amazing! we made it for a dinner party and everyone was asking for the recipe!
    thank you so much for the tutorial !!

  • Nina

    Thank you so much, Pim! A great recepie and I certainly enjoyed your detailed descriptions of everything. I just finished eating my first ever Pad Thai and It was delicious! Thanks again!

  • SD

    This is a great recipe and I have been using it– but here is a tip– for a healthier, lower carb rendition I substitute shredded cabbage for the noodles– I buy the packages of preshredded cabbage. I feel less guilty about eating this, it is great for those watching their carbs, and I do not miss the noodles at all, it is a great substitute!

  • Jean

    Pim,
    Right now I only have tamarind concentrate/extract. Do I need to add extra water to it?

  • tina

    beautiful! :)

  • poem

    Hi Pim,Tonight i`ve tryed ur recipy and i wanna share my experience: I used blok tamarind.As i followed ur directions, i had very nice sauce.But when i`ve stared cooking i relaized that it is not so easy to manage not to burn garlic in that high heat and add the other ing. one after another.
    at the first try,i burned the garlic,threw it away, at the second try i added the rice noodles and it didnt cook(!?), it became like a gum. I threw the second one as well. But I didnt give up and i started over.
    This time i didnt want to take risk and i used `straight the wok` noodles.This time all went perfect!
    My husband really enjoyed it after he has tryed it as first time in the Thai restaurant called Busaba in London.I was glad that i know how they cook it now.Thank you very much for this lovely recipe.

  • Mikey

    Hi there: I happened to come across your site while researching pad thai online. What a great essay on the ingredients, methods, and technique of this dish. I made this twice over the past weekend and it was delicious – easily as good as any I’ve had in a restaurant. What I especially liked about your treatment of it is that the ingredients and amounts – while important – are really secondary to the process, e.g., judging the saltiness/sourness of the sauce, gauging the texture of the noodles and deciding if any additional water is needed, deciding how much sauce is needed to flavor the noodles without overwhelming them. On my first batch, the noodles were a tad overcooked. The second batch they were perfect because I knew what to look for. Thank you for this education. Now that I know the technique, I can play with the ingredients and keep honing my skills. Also, you may say the dried shrimp are optional, but I love those little nuggets of salty weirdness!
    Thanks again
    Mikey
    Towson, MD

  • Silpa

    Hey Pim – where can i get fish sauce?

  • http://kristinmacbride.com/ Kristin

    Hi Pim-I am planning to make Pad Thai this weekend. I don’t think I will make it to an Asian market for Thai chili powder, so I was going to try your paprika substitution. Is there a particular TYPE of paprika you would suggest? Plain? Spanish hot? Spanish sweet? Hungarian?

  • arkady

    Question.
    I have a recipe that I have been using for quite some time and it’s definitely similar to what you have described. However, it’s just not IT – very annoying and nagging feeling to get close, but not 100% where I want to be.
    I use tamarind juice/brown sugar/fish sauce (vietnamese) and do not cook the sauce. Could that be the problem? I have never seen tamarind paste and cannot find palm sugar to save my life.
    Also the dried noodles, even if I soak them for 30 minutes still come out way too “al dente”. Should I just cook them longer?
    TIA

  • Droelma

    It depends what English you speak.
    Often in Indian or Pacific Rim English the words Shrimp & Fruit do have an ” s ” at the end if you want to express the plural form and the rule for ” non countables ” is not applied.
    Just because something is the rule or used in a certain way in London or Boston, does not mean it also applies in Kalimpong, Vientanne or Bangkok…..
    I think it’s great that in a blog like this we get a taste of the langage also, not just of the recipe…..:o).
    Droelma
    Mexico City

  • http://www.mypinktoes.com Leah

    Made this tonight. thank you for the recipe! I really like the “guidelines” style versus a “measuring” recipe. Especially since, as you note, Asian ingredients vary widely in intensity/concentration. I learned that the hard way when I bought a different brand of green chili paste and made green curry chicken with the “regular” amount. It was nearly too spicy to eat!
    I can’t believe how easy this “recipe” was, too. (I’ve gotten some experience with the wok, but have never pad thai from scratch). Thanks for posting this – I’ll never used jarred sauce again.

  • David

    Very awesome! Thanks a lot!!

  • http://www.love4cooking.blogspot.com mahek

    hi
    Pim
    This is the first time i am writing to you , although i have read your blog several times Its great the way you write and the way you present your recipes , thai food is just entering the Indian scene and so all the ingredients are not freely available and i know just like chinese it will be made to suit the indian palate , i would love to try this but can i make certain changes like can i substitute the salty fish sauce with something else pls help me out keep up the good work you are taking great efforts to share your traditional thai food with us…

  • http://www.granthelpline.com/Housing-grants-given-to-Topeka/Y2009-06-29.htm Housing Grant

    When I used fresh noodles, they broke apart and became stuck together in a big clump. At the same time, if I had cooked them less time, they would not have been done. How can I get great noodles without over-cooking them?

  • http://www.josordoni.co.uk Lynne

    We say both shrimps and prawns in England. One shrimp, two shrimps. Easy!

  • lin

    Thank you very much for your tutorial. I tried your recipe and made super delicious pad thai today. i linked your recipe to our blog (it is a collaborative blog initiated as a way for far-flung friends to keep in touch). hope you dont mind. i loved your description of the perfect balance of the sauce–i kept that in mind when tasting mine. i am now pad thai-empowered!
    http://miloandnutella.blogspot.com/

  • http://www.chezpim.com/blogs/2007/01/pad_thai_for_be.html#comments Seychell

    AMAZING pad thai!!! I made this for my friend when he was going through a hard time and it helped us both!!! Love your site the “poptarts” turned out perfect, i used fig, orange, strawberry, guava, and peach jam. I also tried a peanut butter chocolate one for fun, it was good too but more dessert-y. I love your passion for food! I also had a question- what types of spices would taste good in homemade dumplings or potstickers? Thank you!!!

  • cjf

    Thank you so much for this thorough guide. Usually I am anti-recipe, but this is a sort of anti-recipe itself, in that it doesn’t dictate but rather rhapsodizes, in glorious detail, the quintessence of the thing. I recently moved to Jackson Heights, Queens, NYC, and after my first visit to the local Pacific Supermarket I decided I was going to learn, finally, to make good Pad Thai. Armed with your advice, tonight I invited some friends over and went at it, soaking the tamarind, mortaring the shrimps. The results impressed even me. I had always been confused about the true nature of Pad Thai sauce, and also about how to cook the noodles, but thanks to you I’ve seen the light.

  • http://www.myspace.com/roxyepoxy Qat Bergler

    Ms. Pim & friends,
    If anyone is still viewing/using this thread, can you tell me how long my prepared tamarind paste will last? I made it according to the instructions in the above “tao of pad thai,” and the remaining paste in being stored in a glass jar in the fridge, as suggested by Ms. Pim. It’s been a little over a month now and it’s time for another round of pad thai experiments. Is my paste still good? No molds, off smells, but I’m a little afraid of tasting it.
    Thanks for any advice!
    Qat Bergler

  • hamperstance

    I totally understand what took you so long to post this. That special ingredient they call “the love” in indescribable. I LOVE Pad Thai—and, when in a new Thai restaurant, always order the house Pad Thai as it’s how I judge if I will like anything else on their menu. Your detailed descriptions and constant urgings to “taste” are exactly what The Love is. It’s what often makes the dishes of home cooks better than those of trained chefs. The attention to detail. I LOVED your description and “recipe” and completely got what you were trying to teach. Can’t wait to hit the markets in Chinatown this weekend and come home and work on perfecting Pad Thai. Your enthusiasm is contagious! Thanks bundles!

  • elyse

    pim, THANK YOU! i know i’m about a year late finding this but my tamarind loving heart skipped a beat to learn that tamarind is the magical ingredient! i might add, to all those having trouble finding tamarind and reading these comments now, that if you have a healthy latino population near you, you can probably find whole tamarind pods and use them to make a paste like the way you describe in your note for block tamarind…just make sure to check for bug holes and stuff or you’ll have baby flies in your finished paste, yuck…
    now i’m going to check your archives for more thai noodle dishes but if they aren’t there…can you put them there…pleeeeeease?? =)))

  • elyse

    ps qat i think you’re definitely safe after only a month…especially since it doesn’t smell or look bad, that would pretty much be my barometer. >o¿o< (<–that’s a qat. =p)

  • http://profile.typepad.com/d3365 www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=688247220

    Your post about Pad Thai really inspired me. I bought a wok a few days ago, and made the pad thai tonight. It came out really well, and I feel it taught me a lot about using a wok correctly. Thank you!!

  • Darren Melamed

    Can I use hungarian paprika, or do I have to use the regular one?

  • http://www.vitabits.fr/the/th%C3%A9-assam/17162 thé assam

    Till now, I used to make ketchup-based pad thai. I just made this tonight and it was great. Thank for sharing.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/btpantrydoor Ro

    Hi Pim, You can buy Tamarind in block chunks at an indian store. It is often a base for a sauce that you can eat with samosas.
    Thank you for this Pad Thai Recipe- Pad Thai is one of my favorite dishes at a Thai Restaurant- one that I always test out.
    Thank you- I think I could possible attempt this at home now- Ro

  • http://mybflikeitsoimbg.blogspot.com Peggy

    great tips and i’ll definitely be taking them into consideration for my next pad thai creation!

  • http://www.propeller.com/member/iahaoiu/ Nyx Washi

    Hello!
    Photos of your dishes look really great and tasty!
    What camera do you use to make them?
    Regards,
    Nyx Washi

  • http://www.thai-food.in.th/ nonthawat

    Thank you very much. This forum very useful information.
    I hope you can take the time to visit the website, http://www.thai-food.in.th. It is only just beginning but I think you will eventually find it to be a great resource to learn about Thai food basics and beyond.

  • http://aloja-vera.com/ Aloja Vera

    Yum. Yum. Yum. This looks awesome. I know what we are making this weekend!

  • Colin

    Ahhh…it was good to read this and get a refresher. For years now I have been forgetting to heat my sauce to melt the sugar. I also never used tamarind in this one but rather I used rice wine vinegar. The rice stick is a tricky noodle too and I have both undercooked and overcooked it many times….mostly overcooked it. I also made batches that were too big. I think i will stick to two servings at a time instead of filling up the whole wok! My wok is a cast iron which does not work out quite as well but I am kinda married to it at this point so I will have to make it work. THANKS!

  • http://www.letithelp.org/ IT Jobs Training

    Its really mouth watering and delicious. I have tasted this a couple of times already.

  • http://www.itchair.com/seo-los-angeles/ SEO Los Angeles

    Nice! Another nice food on display here on the photo.

  • http://www.agreataffair.com/ Bridal Registry

    This looks nice, but do I have to go to Thailand to eat it.

  • Notapadthaisnob

    I sense some big pad thai snobs here. Just because something isn’t authentic, doesn’t mean its bad. 90% of cooking is adding to and building upon past work. Just because some people like red pad thai or enjoy the tomato based aspect ketchup brings to the dish doesn’t make it a tragedy.
    Oh, and by the way, it is shrimp, not shrimps, lol…

  • http://ladentsucree.blogspot.com/ melanie

    I hate thai food so much because I have never been to Thailand, nor have I ever been to a good Thai restaurant, ever. I’m going to try this pad thai tonight, better be good.

  • Barry

    Pim, thank you so much for this. Like many above, I’m a huge pad thai connoisseur but have never had the courage to try it for myself. I made it tonight and it was amazing. I was so pleased I barely minded when my roommate threw out the rest of the sauce before I could save it… I think that says a lot. Thanks again!

  • David

    Pim, thanks for the detailed recipe. I just recently became a fan of Pad Thai. I’ve only tried it once, and it was a Ketchup recipe. It actually wasn’t half bad, but certainly not the Pod Thai that we get at the local shop. Having never made it before, I fell victim of the clumping noodles, so I really appreciate all of the details on the ingredients and technique.

  • Ine

    I do wonder about that too… I kind of put together my own Pad Thai recipe out of other recipes I found on the internet (it’s pretty similar to this one, and I did actually think of making the sauce in advance ^^), and cooked on a western stove (electric) in a non-stick wok-shaped pan it tastes pretty good (as does my kai pad gao), but I do wonder if I’m missing out.
    I saw some really cheap woks for sale at a Chinese supermarket, but I’m a bit hesitant to buy one, since I’m afraid it might not be the best idea on my electric stove. Anyone know if it’ll work?

  • Sara Hamill

    Thank you for this blog recipe. Having the pit falls explained and why you do what you do is really helpful in understanding HOW to actually cook Pad Thai. Thank you for an easy to follow, well explained recipe.

  • johanna

    am really excited to make this this week. but can i use fresh tamarind instead of the paste? they have some nice looking stuff at my local coop. thanks!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0120a8a2213b970b Anonymous

    Boooooooooooooooooooooooooo oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ooooooooooooooooooooo oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!! Cheers :(

  • Patrick Cullie

    this is the perfect recipe. and worth reading every paragraph. i’ve been trying to get this right for some time and pim has the real deal. especially the part about making small bits at a time. many thanks, pim/

  • http://speckleofdirt.blogspot.com haeldr@gmail.com

    I simply love the photographs on your site! I’ve tried to make this dish using Alton Brown and couldn’t find the tamarind…after my husband turned up his nose, I gave up. Until now! Thanks Pim!

  • Mikey

    Hi there: What an excellent essay! I’ve made pad thai twice based on it, and it was fantastic. I was shocked how good it was. It has all those elusive – yet crucial – flavors that are missing from most recipes. The tamarind and dried shrimp especially. Thanks so much!

  • http://www.mythaibeach-restaurant-santacruz.com thai food restaurants in capitola santa cruz

    Pretty similar to our pad thai

  • Dan

    I’m a student from the UK, and an absolute beginner when it comes to cooking. My first attempt at Pad Thai using a cookbook turned out to be a mushy mess of raw egg and chicken. With your recipe it’s now become my signature dish and I have my friends and my girlfriend requesting it all the time. Thanks!

  • http://joysan.blogspot.com Joy

    Learning Pad Thai with you was a dream. Very very tasty.

  • http://www.mythaibeach-restaurant-santacruz.com/ Restaurant Capitola

    that is an amazing pad thai

  • http://www.seasonednoob.com dave

    Thank you SO much for this!!!

  • http://www.thecreativepot.net Marisa

    AWESOME tips! Thanks so much. Never could understand the fuss about pad thai, but after applying your tips last night I can just say: WOW. It’s delicious!

  • http://www.mythaibeach-restaurant-santacruz.com Thai Food Santa Cruz

    Should be in everyones cook book…

  • http://www.booklasvegasholidays.co.uk booklasvegasholidays

    Looks good! This is the first time I have looked at Chez Pim and found not only the recipe to be well detailed but love the tips such as re-seasoning your wok – I had to redo my mine after about a week and worried that maybe I shouldnt have done that but it did solve the problem of sticking. I am going to try the Pad Thai tomorrow as I have some of them rice noodles I got in the supermarket last week – will let you know how I get on!

  • Sydney

    I made this a few days ago and felt that the flavor of the sauce was incredibly overpowering. I used tamarind concentrate — was that the wrong tamarind product? I made the full amount of sauce and have much left over and I would hate to throw it away. Also, tamarind is very hard to find where I live so it would not be convenient or practical to buy another tamarind product. Would adding water to the tamarind concentrate and then adding it to the sauce work? (In that case, what would be the ratio of water-to-tamarind?)

  • http://www.drizzleanddip.com drizzleanddip

    A very big thank you for an exceptionl lesson on pad thai , which I have always wanted to make and wok seasoning. I have just made your recipe (slightly modified it by adding cilantro – which I love)and it is delicious. I made it with prawns which I cooked at the begining instead of the chicken.
    I am going to blog this recipe as I could never explain it as well as you.

  • Orlando

    I made some with the help of this site and it was SOOO YUMMY!!!

  • ornestlaw@aol.com

    This is exactly the recipe I was looking for. I am so annoyed by recipes that want, e.g., one cup and one tablespoon of this or two and a half tablespoons of that. I want basic measurements, basic proportions, and enough for later.
    Thanks!
    Lisa O.
    P.S. Also thanks for the tamarind 101 – once again, just do the whole block and have enough for later! Who wants to stand there and measure out half-tablespoons??!!

  • kirsten

    well said!!

  • http://foodiesemporium.com indigonat

    Thanks for the detailed instructions. Next time I make Pad Thai, I’ll make sure that everything is ready and chopped before I start.
    I agree with you that it is an aberration to see some American version with Ketchup.

  • kanit

    Kanit Muntarbhorn has much info on Pad Thai and more…
    Please see: thaifoodcuisine.com, thaicuisinetimeline.com

  • http://culinaryhorizon.com/ P Bentley

    I love your website.
    http://culinaryhorizon.com/

  • B. Grateful

    actually in the culinary world, it shrimps.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/clairepower23 Clairepower23

    i have just tried to make this pad thai twice and have failed miserably, the rice noodles are constantly going gooy on me, any advice, im so frustrated as ive been craving this all day!!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/jennihouse Jenni_house

    Awesome! I will be making this again. I didn’t have palm sugar, but I used a mix of brown sugar and honey…it seemed to be a good substitute.

  • Christina Nguyen

    Hi Pim,
    I’ve only had pad thai once, and that was a bite from a friends dish :)
    However, i was intrigued, thanks to your awesome explanation, i now know the flavor i couldn’t pin down was tamarind.
    After reading through your recipe, I wondered what brand of fish sauce you used. LOL, because if palm sugars can vary, we both know fish sauce has HUGE differences in brand. At my house, we have the “cheap” darker fish sauce and the “good” lighter color fish sauce (more expensive). I’d really appreciate it if you could share the brand that you use, or indicate the blog you might have talked about it.
    Thanks!

  • http://thaifoodcuisine.com kanit muntarbhorn

    Re: authentic Pad Thai and Thai fish sauces. Fish sauces from 2nd or 3rd extractions are cheaper and saltier. It’s up to the chef which type is preferred. Dont’t forget sourness from tamarind juice/water and lime juice for authentic Pad Thai!

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    That looks so delicious, I can’t wait to try it! On the other hand I might just have to rush out to a Thai restaurant, you’ve made me so hungry. Just for your British readers, cilantro is known as coriander, and although we do use the word shrimps, they tend to be a very specific tiny variety. What you call shrimp we normally call prawns. Confusing eh!

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  • http://www.staranisefoods.com Nguyen Ngoc H. Yen

    Thank you for the Pad Thai recipe. Looks like Vietnamese Pho noodles in this recipe: http://allrecipes.com/PersonalRecipe/62360589/Vietnamese-Stir-Fry-Noodles-for-2/Detail.aspx I found this awesome new Pho-making kit called Happy Pho by this woman who used her grandparents’ recipe to make them. They come in a box with a spice packet and a pack of pho noodles for 2 people. I was skeptical at first, but they have a simple recipe at the back that takes 15 mins. All I need to get is some chicken or beef broth and fresh ingredients, and the Pho that came out is absolutely delicious! It’s also all natural and organic and made with brown rice. Check out their products here http://staranisefoods.com/our-products.aspx. I got them from Whole Foods in SoMa. But you can also get them from Amazon.com I think. I’ve also joined their facebook page http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Star-Anise-Foods/111447418877428

  • Angie

    Although you warned us, wow, this really was an obnoxiously long way to write about how to make Pad Thai. You go on and on for 8 paragraphs before you even get to the recipe. No thanks, I’ll pass on this one.

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    Yield: 9 servings (serving size: 1 filled cabbage leaf)
    Ingredients
    * 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
    * 1 tablespoon sugar
    * 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
    * 1/2 teaspoon salt
    * 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    * 2 (14-ounce) packages water-packed firm reduced-fat tofu, drained and crumbled
    * 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
    * 1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
    * 2 cups thinly vertically sliced red onion
    * 3 garlic cloves, minced
    * 2 serrano chiles, thinly sliced
    * 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
    * 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
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  • http://www.freshlightphoto.com Kayce

    Seriously? Best recipe ever. I can’t believe there are comments here complaining about the length of this post. I, for one, am ridiculously grateful that you went to great length explaining all the common pitfalls, tips for prep, etc. I hadn’t attempted to make pad thai before I found this recipe because it just seemed too daunting. I made this for the first time a few weeks ago (and have had it several times since as well, haha)– my first attempt was even better than the stuff from the Thai restaurants in the area, which used to blow me away. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing!! :D

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  • Jai

    Hi Pim,
    I’m really excited to try out your recipe but I have one small question..
    Is it okay to use normal Soy Sauce instead of Light Soy Sauce?
    Thank You. :D

  • http://barbariansatthekitchengate.blogspot.com/ KitchenBarbarian@hotmail.com

    I’ve tried to make Pad Thai before and have had indifferent success. My problem seems to be mostly with the tamarind.
    The tamarind, paste or pulp, that I am used to using is Indian, and it’s black. If you soak it, you get black liquid. If you buy the “paste”, it’s like a thick black jelly. Nothing like the picture of the red stuff I see above.
    Any suggestions for how I can make sure I get the “right” kind of tamarind for this?
    Thanks.
    Sojourner

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  • far

    this was great. I just made it following your directions with slight changes…
    Every body loved it…a dinner for three under $15
    Thank you:D

  • mashi

    Hi, i tried this tonight – but I got lost somewhere in making the sauce – i started with 1/2 cup each of tamarind, soy sauce and brown sugar, but never made up to 2 cups. should i add water to make up to 2 cups? my sauce was very thick, syrupy and came out less than one cup…
    help!

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  • http://profile.typepad.com/jfvj1 JFVJ1

    Just look at the picture… Huumm so good
    My son made this for me for my birthday and it was great, we all really enjoyed it. I will be having a go at making it myself. My son is now in China studying martial arts in Jilin province, he is getting all the authentic Asian food he can eat there. Thanks for the recipe and the technique.
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  • Ashley

    I’m so glad to have stumbled across this!
    I can’t wait to try it :)

  • Steve

    Hi Chez, thanks for posting your recipe! I’ve been attempting Pad Thai for at least a year now. When I told my wife that I had a new Pad Thai recipe I wanted to try, she said, “No..please no…”

    Her concern was understandable; my previous attempts have been nothing short of horrible. Either too sweet, too sour, too fishy. Just bad. Even worse than the fake stuff they serve at PF Changs.

    With the help of your recipe, I made my best Pad Thai yet. I did make a few changes like using half the amount of fish sauce and substituting with soy sauce, to keep the odor low in the kitchen and my wife happy. I also couldn’t find Thai chili at the asian market or pickled turnips.

  • Cmoore

    Thank you! I do my best cooking with a process or concept that then gets tweaked by the cook at-will…Mostly because I can’t follow a recipe-without making changes-to save my life!

  • Jen

    Totally love this recipe! I couldn’t find a few of the optional ingredients (even at the Thai supermarket) but it still turned out awesome on my first try. Thanks!

  • Jen

    Totally love this recipe! I couldn’t find a few of the optional ingredients (even at the Thai supermarket) but it still turned out awesome on my first try. Thanks!

  • Kendara9

    Thanks for the revelation about only cooking a portion or two at a time. I love panfried noodle dishes, but have never had any success making them at home until I read your post. Thanks so much for the thorough technique coverage!

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  • WestCoastDave

    Thanks mate, just made this and it is great. Thanks for taking the time to explain the why as well as the how – it makes a difference and let’s you make slight modifications with confidence.

  • Floodedd

    Awesome

  • Hardersalem

    this was sooo informative! Everything sounds authentic, and, honestly, the season of the pan was a bonus. Thanks

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  • Damon

    That is the most concise and complete pad thai recipe I have ever read- The sauce is well explained where most other recipes I’ve looked at give a vague description, this is the real deal!
    Love your work Pim!
    Bless you for share it!
    Damon.

  • Annie

    I have been elected to make Pad Thai this Friday for lunch and have never made it before. Using the information on this page, I did a trial run this morning and was totally delighted with the results! Excellent description of how to make the dish and easy to follow. Thanks so much! Annie

  • Cristián

    Excellent recipe. If only all internet recipes were like this! I’m making it for the third time — for New Year’s — and I know that it’ll be fantastic.

  • AudreyalexaSara

    Nice blog, its great article informative post, thanks for sharing it. Thanks for the information!

  • jazz

    Perfect! Thanks for sharing.

  • Vishnu

    Thanks for this…Always wanted to make it at home..

  • Yesica

    well, I liked the recipe, It turned out a little dry for me, but not bad at all it might be the pan, I don’t have the special one. Thanks for the recipe

  • 55

    Sounds good, but I wish you would say ‘shrimp’ instead of ‘shrimps’

  • Mikejones29238

    This recipe was great….me and my wife have tried 3 different Pad Thai recipes and they all turned out horribly, but this was one tasted great…I agree with another poster about the recipe being a little dry, but I think next time I’ll just put extra sauce

  • Kathleen

    Loved your article and all the details and explanations. I made the Pad Thai last night and it tasted delicious and very authentic! Your suggestions to get everything ready and then wok cook each one or two portions separately was good advice. I can’t imagine having cooked a whole package of noodles at once. It would have been a nightmare!

  • Jmack

    Love this recipe. Have made it several times. My question is: how long can you store the tamarind pulp in the fridge? Will it hold for several weeks in a covered glass jar? Thanks!

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  • Ro31369

    It was almost perfect, but don’t, I repeat DON’T, boil the noodles. Just soak them.

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  • IntlCooker

    @55 – American English uses Shrimp, but British English uses Shrimps. Pim’s correct with her grammar. The recipe’s great, too! Thanks!

  • Naomi Berry

    Sounds great but before I make it can I check whether the egg is cracked in whole or whisked before adding?

    Thanks.

  • Jla1970

    I saw a chef on tv crack it in whole

  • Shelly Troy

    I made this for my husband who is an avid Pad Thai connisure and he swears it will cure cancer, its that good and I agree!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SDNRZ7G3AB3TTFVQYUKJJM2BUA Philip

    Found this after checking out the pad see ew recipe.. Both very well done- the search is over! Thank you so much!

  • Dakini

    nice recipe, traditional garnishes are also some chopped coriander, toasted peanuts & a lemon wedge.

  • Lori

    Love the long winded explanation and making the sauce ahead of time… it makes all the difference.

  • Julie

    No — it molds. I tried it.

  • Jack

    This is terrific. One slight problem. Not all fish sauces are created equal. I used the recommended starting measurements and my sauce is too salty.What should I add to counteract that, more tamarind sugar,or chili?

  • http://twitter.com/JoellineG Joelline Girouard

    I must admit, after tasting the sauce, I was terrified.

    Once all was said and done, well, I was in heaven. I will never spend 15$ a plate for pad Thai ever again, I can guarantee you that. Amazing recipe. :)

  • Adnan

    Just add 1 to your number of fans! Done this, enjoyed this to the fullest!

  • Claire Minks

    Well worth the lengthy explanation. Can’t wait to give this a try. It’s been 11 years since I had fresh Pad Thai in Thailand and I still crave it! Thanks again in advance : )

  • allan

    I like how you explain things… it makes a lot more sense when i understand why something is being done….not just an unthinking formula….

  • kristine

    How can you adjust the recipe if you only have tamarind paste and not pulp? Thanks!

  • Morticia214

    nice

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    haha…I’ve been practicing, using chopsticks and I love eating food where chopsticks are use especially the spicy one.

  • Rob

    I use about 1 tsp per serving when preparing the sauce

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  • Evelyn

    When using palm sugar, do you just shave it off and measure it loosely packed or does it need to be pounded with a mortar and pestle and then tightly packed like brown sugar?

    If I use tamarind concentrate in a jar instead of making the juice from scratch, do i have to dissolve it in water or do i use the equal amount as if i was making it from the pulp? for example do i use 1/2 cup of concentrate for 1/2 cup of “fresh” tamarind juice? or something like 2 tbsps concentrate dissolved in 1/2 cup of water?

    Thank you for answering my questions :)

    I made pad thai yesterday (not this recipe) but it turned out too sweet…

  • atlantic

    I was wondering if you can use fresh thai chillis instead of chilli powder? I know I have seen fresh ones in the grocery store, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to find them dried. thanks.

  • HyghKyte

    Does anyone know how to make the DARK peanut butter sauce? i had it in a restaurant before, it was amazing x.x and i made it by accident at home x.x i tried remaking it again, but it won’t work x.x i been searching for the recipe for a while x.x id on’t think the restaurant would want to give away their good recipes x.x it was so dark, and all i remember using was peanut butter, soy sauce, and a lil peanut oil. man.. i wish i could go back in time and record myself making it lol

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  • Jayebe

    I’ve read lots of pad Thai recipes but have never made it because the recipes just don’t sound like good pad Thai tastes. Your “how to” recipe sounds great. You explained it like a good Italian cook. I never give my friends recipes; I show them how to make what they love to eat at my house. So, I hereby declare you to be an honorary Italian!
    I do have a question. My stove is powered by propane, which has a lower burn temp than natural gas. I’ve never been very successful with wok cooking. It may be that my cookware isn’t “cheap” enough ( I am passionate about LeCrueset). I’ve been in many professional kitchens and I’ve been told that you need a super big natural gas burner to be successful when using a wok. Have you ever cooked with propane heat? Can you get a wok hot enough to cook, say, pad Thai?
    I think I’ll invest $10 in one of the cheap, thin woks sold by my favorite Asian grocery store and give it a whirl.

  • Thaifly

    Thai people don’t eat with chopsticks.  They’re not Chinese or Japanese.  Pad Thai is to be eaten with a fork.

  • http://twitter.com/scarfbuy Scarfbuy.com

    Pad Thai is hard for making outside Thailand – I think its impossible somewhere out.

  • http://twitter.com/lizdato Lizette Dato

    my first Pad Thai and the kids loved it. They don’t like sweet either and my guide was salty, then sour, then chili and sweet. I’m in the Philippines so I had no problem with the ingredients, I had everything I needed in my kitchen

  • Jonas Hartley

    Thank you! I’ve been trying to make a great Pad Thai for weeks and this was perfect. I actually came up with my own recipe based on your instructions. This is more the theory of Pad Thai than some recipe. Excellent.

  • jenney

    Thank you so much Pim for these directions!  I have eight kids and one husband who don’t like Thai food (I know — WEIRD!!!) so I never make it.  But I miss Pad Thai (and a similar mee dish from when I used to live in Malaysia).  I love having directions to make a smaller amount so that I can meet *my* cravings for it when I want and not have to make a ton for my family who would rather do without.  Thanks!  You’re awesome!

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    I am a sushi chef with my own restaurant for 14 years…Just happened upon your site.
    This is the best explanation of proper prep on a dish… (I have never made)…I have ever seen. Thank you… Too bad you don’t live in central New York. You can come and prepare this for us anytime!!! We can have fabulous fish for dessert!!!
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  • http://www.facebook.com/Alexwarren2012 Alex Warren

    I was wondering if you can use fresh thai chillis instead of chilli powder? I know I have seen fresh ones in the grocery store, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to find them dried. thanks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Alexwarren2012 Alex Warren

    I was wondering if you can use fresh thai chillis instead of chilli powder? I know I have seen fresh ones in the grocery store, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to find them dried. thanks.

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  • Janedoe

    Thanks for this awesome article! I was supposed to make pad thai for a friend, but had no clue, and the first time I tried, it just was not right… this article solved all the mysteries and covered everything really clearly. Our dinner went really well and everyone was full of compliments. So glad I found your recipe!

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    You could, but it wouldn’t be Pad Thai. Traditionally Pad Thais are always made with dried chilli powder. Paprika would work better.

  • TruePadThai

    This is not really a pad thai. You don’t need a special wok or anything. A pad thai is most concerned with the noodle. Many people do not know this, but I do because I work at a thai take out joint that has been owned and operated by a man born in bangkok, having made his living on one dish, Pad Thai. He’s been making it the same way for 20 years and has changed nothing. He makes between 30 to 70 pad thai a night in his 500 square foot kitchen. You don’t need silly tamarind paste. Just fish sauce, brown sugar, white vinegar and a pinch of black pepper. But the sauce is not the main concern, this is what everyone gets wrong. The noodle is the most important thing. The noodle must be cooked correctly, not too soft and not too hard, soaked for the right amount of time before cooking in the right temp water. If you want to know how to make real Pad Thai and not some westernized BS, ask me how and I can tell you. It is much more simple than this article and it is real Pad Thai, which is all about the NOODLE. 

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    You’re welcome. I’m happy you loved it.

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    Um…I’m not entirely sure how to comment on this. I guess you should just keep believing whatever you want to believe in. 
    cheers,Pim

  • PastryTwins

    TruePadThai please tell us how you make your Pad Thai. I am fascinated by your conviction.

  • PastryTwins

    Thanks for the article. Can’t wait to make it. Your photos are incredibly helpful.

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  • Anna_moi

    So should I just eat the noodle and forget the rest?

  • Dave

    My first attempt at the Pad using these instructions came out pretty darn good.  I started with the real deal, tamrind pods. I found them at my local grocery chain and knew I had to use them in a Thai dish.   Needed more for a bit more sour, but the noodles and the other flavors came out as good as the the local “Thai” place.  great instructions and great results. I did one portion at a time on the wok using my propane fired “turkrey frier” burner, no lack for heat.  Actual cooking time was maybe 2.5 minutes! 

  • yum

    great blog. one question
    you mentioned: “If you buy block tamarind, soak the block in 4 cups of hot water in a large bowl.”

    how many oz block are you talking about in this example?  this is important, so that the water to tamarind ratio is correct.

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    You said…  “He’s been making it the same way for 20 years and has changed nothing.”  I’m sure you’re right… and McDonalds has been making their stuff for 40 years.  (even trolls need to be fed a little ;>)

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=42002098 Mage Baltes

    I thought this was a great recipe, but a word of caution: if you use concentrated tamarind paste, be careful! I mistakenly used 1/3 cup of the stuff and my sauce was extremely sour and dark brown. With tamarind concentrate I think you should just add probably a tablespoon at a time.

    Anyway, this was still useful for me because I’ve never cooked pad thai before!

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  • Kazontour

    Can you please send me the recipe to kazontour@gmail.com – I watched a woman in Koh Phangan make it and wrote down the recipe but have lost it in a move. She didn’t use tamarind either.. She par-cooked the prawn first, then egg and added noodles and fish sauce, brown sugar and (maybe vinegar – can’t remember) and black pepper, put some choi sum or other such leaves on and a lid for 2 minutes, lid off, threw in bean sprouts and fried tofu – tossed and served. Is that similar, it was delicious and the noodle was almost al dente going in and perfect coming out..

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  • Angelo

    This is great information… I recently moved to Puerto Rico from Chicago, and as you can imagine there aren’t many Thai food restaurants out here… I miss my pad thai from Chicago. So I googled pad thai and I felt like you needed to be an Iron Chef to accomplish decent pad thai… so this blog is wonderful…It is exactly what I needed prep and directions.  I will give it shot, my daughter will hopefully love it.

     

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  • Lapquinn

    I too would love your recipe – I found one online last year that was like yours and I’ve lost it. Send it to lapquinn@q.com please!!
    Thank You,
    Laura

  • Adriana_kwan

    Brilliant!  Thanks for the great pad thai tip!

  • Casey

    Just stumbled upon this recipe and made it tonight – it was delicious and received many compliments. Thank you so much for your clear and detailed explanation! I’ve never cooked in a wok before, let alone made pad thai, and it worked out splendidly! :)

  • Nic

    Hey there,
    Are you able to send through your recipe please? Would love to give your recipe a go as this is my favourite dish.  I’ve never made it before as my background is french cooking and I’ve started venturing into asian cuisine particularly stir fries and want to start with Phad Thai.  Please send to cartieredt@yahoo.fr.
    Many Thanks,
    Nic

  • Kimberlywuebbenhorst

    I want to no how to make the real phad thai

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    I think I need to add this on my list of recipe, I will try this for sure.

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  • http://www.the-wandering-girl.blogspot.com Bohn Mathilde

    This is the best post about pad thai I’ve read so far… very complete with everything we want to know…
    My sister is moving to Bangkok in a month, so I might get interested in thai food…
    Thank you very much !

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  • Kunzu

    Thanks !!

  • Donz-tez

    Great recipe. Quick, easy and delicious !!! For an Australian twist or for those who like their Phad Thai on the sour side, try Lemon Murtle in the sauce. Thanks

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  • Rachael Moore

    Looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it!

  • myhousesmells likefishsauce

    1/2 cup of fish sauce? you craaazy..

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    Looks very delicious. If possible, I want to have one. :)

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  • Nina D

    This sounds so good I’ll be cooking it this weekend! 

  • http://www.mspy.com Steve Clugger

    The dishes are just unbelievably delicious. I wish i were in the know about it a bit later. Oh, i’m crazy about all sort of noodle dishes!

  • Fuzzykid7

    Ohmygoodness I just finished cooking this (I used very thinly sliced top-grade beef for the meat though) and it’s amazing! Most delicious Pad Thai ever!

  • Siteseer58

    I had a tree trimming party, made sushi and decided to make this Pad Thai recipe for 10 guests. Prepped everything ahead of time. I followed the sauce recipe using a little additional natural sugar in addition to the palm sugar. I tasted the sauce and was worried because I thought it might be a little too salty. My guests loved it!!!  They actually said it was better than “Basil’s” restaurant in Charleston, SC. and Basil’s is celebrated for their Thai food. Thank you for an easy and enjoyable foodie experience. My husband requested the same for tomorrow. Now that’s a compliment!

  • Eccovoz

    I just made this recipe and it was AWESOME!!! My mexican taste buds rejoice in the spicy sweetness and the spritz of green lemon! The only issue I had was with the noodles. I let them soak for quite a while (at least an hour with all the prep stuff) and they still ended up a bit gummy for my taste. Is there any particular brand or name that I should watch out for in my asian supermarket? What should I look for or watch out for when purchasing rice noodles?

  • Jimmy

    Great recipe!  Although I found that 1/2 cup of fish sauce was a bit too salty.  Also, I substituted palm sugar for white sugar and narrowed it down to 1/3 cup as you suggested, however, the sauce came out to be too sour.  I’m going to have to keep testing around to find the perfect taste.  Anyway, thanks for sharing!  

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    dont let them soak for 1 hour – my biggest mistake the 1st time (esp b/c i have a mortal fear of undercooking stuff so i always end up overcooking). the noodles should be rice noodles, i get mine that is made in thailand and it’s flat just like the kind in the restaurant and soak it in hot water (just boiled, but don’t keep boiling it, turn the heat off and pour it into a big basin) for about 10 minutes until soft (swish it around while soaking). it’s supposed to be al dente. also u can add minor amounts (teaspoon to tablespoon each time) of water after u have drained the noodles and put them into the wok if it seems to be getting to dry.

  • Krisstout

    This was the first Pad Thai I have ever made, it was yummy and easy! The instructions helped a lot, I have never made anything work in my wok, but after reading I realized I just needed to re season my wok. Thanks Pim!

  • Tima

    You let your noodles soak too long.. ten to 20 mins should be enough in warm water. They are al dente when they go into the wok…if u want to soften them when in wok, just add a little water  turn down heat  cover an steam for a few mins.

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    Wow. Mouthwatering. Wish I could cook such dish! XDDD

  • Chouje

    Nice site you have here.  Was wondering how long do you cook your sauce for.  Does it need to be a certian thickness before you take it off?  I know cooking fish sauce can make your house smell for a while :)   I can’t wait to try this. Thanks for posting.

  • http://recipris.wordpress.com/ Priya A.

    Do you have to use a wok or can you use a regular non-stick pan?  If I use a non-stick pan, do I still season it?

  • V R

    great recipe!

  • http://twitter.com/Luvagoo Tallulah Alice Mae

    Cannot for the life of me fine tamarind DX.

  • http://recipris.wordpress.com/ Priya A.

    This recipe was great, Chez!!!  I amended it a bit to make it completely vegetarian: 
    http://recipris.wordpress.com/2012/01/23/pad-thai/.  Thanks so much for all of your great tips. :)

  • http://twitter.com/Luvagoo Tallulah Alice Mae

    Found tamarind – just made it, well a tiny trial bowl anyway – was quite nice, a bit sour, will fix that in a sec – but how do you ‘ladle’ the sauce? You have tamarind, which is a thick-ish paste, a bit of fish sauce, and the other two ingredients are powders basically. My sauce is a runny-ish paste, and I certainly cannot ‘ladle’ it…

  • Flavorwithzest

    Thanks for sharing..Made this today, absolutely loved your method, detailed and perrrrrrfecto!!! The sauce is awesome and you really cannot go wrong!! Wonderful post!!!

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     please send to me also a recipe for peanut sauce! rchl_rd@yahoo.com

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  • Novahotspike

    I stumbled upon this recipe nearly a year ago and my family is so glad I did. This is now everyone’s requested birthday dinner and yes, we can no longer be happy with restaurant pad thai. It’s simple, inexpensive and most of all, delicious. Thank you Pim, for sharing this wonderful recipe!!

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  • Anonymous

    It’s totally wrong to use thin rice noodles you have to use the medium tape ones. Otherwise you end up with stodgy clumps and the whole point is that all the ingredients need to mix together.

  • Chikako T

    I just tried this recipe last night.  All of us liked it. Thanks!

  • Alysha Jones

    I just made this for dinner and shared the link on Facebook. It was, hands down, the best I’ve ever made, and the closest to my absolute favorite restaurant’s. I cannot thank you enough for the thoughtful instructions, which totally solved all of my previous attempts’ foibles. You rock!

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    Thank you so so much.  I read your description and felt that it was really going to be possible to make this well.  I was able to find everything in my local oriental grocery apart from the pickled turnips (and I bought their ready fried tofu).

    I used a spice grinder (like a small electric coffee mill) to deal with the dried shrimps – and they really did become fluffy.  I used the same machine to powder the roasted peanuts that I had shelled and rubbed to remove the papery husk.

    I now have a jar of leftover sauce sitting in my fridge and I can’t wait to make this again.

    I made tofu pad see ew a few days ago from a Bill Grainger recipe – in the preamble he says “If you’re still making pad thai, you’re so last century” . . .  well I beg to differ!

  • Judah Kelber

    I made this tonight after being terrified of making pad thai for years, and my wife said this is her new favorite pad thai.  Thanks for breaking the recipe down and making it simple, even if it looks intimidating at first glance.

  • S Tyler31

    i tried to make it and my house smelled like an anus. so thanks

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    Good Lord – are you kidding me? No way in Haiti would I go to this extent. I’ll do take out thank you very much!!!!

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    The recipe calls for shrimp or chicken. When I try it, I’ll probably use chicken too.

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    I made this tonight and it tasted great, its much easier to get the flavor balance right if you make the sauce up ahead. I didn’t use the pickled turnip, tofu or sprouts, but I did use tamarind, palm sugar and the dried shrimp. Didn’t take long to make and prep isn’t bad at all. I use a slightly wider noodle, I think the texture is better. I also scramble the egg in a nonstick pan even though my wok has a patina it still sticks a bit. Great dish. 

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    I made this tonight and it tasted great, its much easier to get the flavor balance right if you make the sauce up ahead. I didn’t use the pickled turnip, tofu or sprouts, but I did use tamarind, palm sugar and the dried shrimp. Didn’t take long to make and prep isn’t bad at all. I use a slightly wider noodle, I think the texture is better. I also scramble the egg in a nonstick pan even though my wok has a patina it still sticks a bit. Great dish
    Regards

  • Lifenjenrl

    I have eaten lots of pad thai but never thought to make it myself, thinking it would not turn out. This recipe turned out amazingly! I kept wondering how everything was going to come together, and I shouldn’t have worried. I had friends over and I couldn’t get them to wait for their own serving; we all just ate off of each plate as it was ready. My two-year-old daughter loved it and was in the mess of each plate right along with everyone else! Thanks for this.

  • Alexis Goebel

    Mexican cooks also use tamarind—if you don’t have an asian grocery store, you might have a mexican one that’ll carry it.
    After much acclaim from chowhound’s message board, I tried Cooks illustrated recipe last night & was super disappointed..Their recipe uses rice wine vinegar & tamarind and ultimately I found the whole mix too tangy for my tasting. I’ll be trying Pim’s recipe out this week.

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     Seriously? You voluntarily came to a cooking blog only to leave behind the message that you’d rather do takeout? What were you expecting?? Why did you waste our time as well as yours?

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  • Carrie Causey

    I found this recipe 5 years ago, and have made it many times since. Always for company, who can’t believe how amazing it is! I usually use chicken, shrimp, tofu, sprouts, egg , peanuts and garlic chives (if you can’t find them, just grow them! Easier than anything, and looks good in a flower garden too) I’ve made my own sauce, and used bottled – from an Asian market, not Walmart. Both were very good. Use this recipe, and not only will you wow everyone, but you’re house will smell delicious for days!

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  • Anonymous

    I’ve attempted Pad Thai a few times without any instructions and it’s come out pretty sticky. Thanks for the tutorial! Pad Thai is one of my favorite dishes!

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  • Ems

    This sounds amazing thanks for sharing! which oil do you find works best? 

  • BW

    I made it and it was fabulous! thank you so much for the clear directions and advice.

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    This is a very informative and helpful page.  I am making Pad Thai tonight for my wife and appreciate all the helpful information!

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    The way you write is really annoying, to be honest. You could have chopped so much out of this article.

  • Colleen Pickett

    So, uh…I attempted to use a smoking hot wok and when I added the oil it immediately lit on fire and almost burned my kitchen down. Any suggestions?

  • Mommyluvstocook

    I love this recipe. Have made it twice. My fam loves it. Thank you for the post!

  • NEC ALUM

    Hi Pim-your website is fabulous. I want to ask you about the rice stick noodles on cooks illustrated, it says to soak in boiling water. I find that this makes them mushy and clumpy when I add them in to the wok. Today, I soaked the noodles in cold water but once I added it to the wok, it took forever to cook (I had to constantly add water). The result was a very thick sauce, but the noodles were not clumpy.

    How do you get the sauce to be a little thinner and the noodles to not clump?

  • NEC ALUM

    Hi Pim-your website is fabulous. I want to ask you about the rice stick noodles on cooks illustrated, it says to soak in boiling water. I find that this makes them mushy and clumpy when I add them in to the wok. Today, I soaked the noodles in cold water but once I added it to the wok, it took forever to cook (I had to constantly add water). The result was a very thick sauce, but the noodles were not clumpy.

    How do you get the sauce to be a little thinner and the noodles to not clump?

  • walter

    Probably the best written instructions for making Pad Thai I’ve ever seen. Well done!!

  • Jonas

    Thanks for this excellent and well written manual, great stuff!

  • AJ

    1. Why are there chopsticks in the picture? =D
    2. I know this is from ages ago….but what can you tell me about “Advanced Pad Thai”?

  • anon

    you sure it wasn’t from all the gay buttsecks?…

  • Rick Sams

    This is so helpful! I first found this page a couple of years ago. Used it as a starting point to come up with my “own” recipe, (which is yours, of course, modified for taste). Everyone I’ve ever made it for has told me it’s the best they’ve ever had. An asian fusion joint in Quito, Ecuador had me come in and guest chef one night to make it. (I’d had the unmitigated gall to tell the owner that “my” Pad Thai was better than theirs.) They changed their recipe immediately, and as far as I know are still making a variation on “my/your/our” Pad Thai. Thanks for helping me get my fifteen minutes of fame. I’m making this for a group of friends tomorrow night.

  • Hellowthere

    Totally not true, you can use the small ones if you want as long as you have a well seasoned wok and don’t over-hydrate the noodles (you have to keep them super al dente).

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  • Nicole Casal Moore

    This was so good! I was surprised it came from my own kitchen, actually. I have lots of extra sauce. When you say it keeps good in the fridge for a long time, how long do you mean?

  • ssss

    I asked a Thai person if Pad Thai is popular to Thai people and she flipped out and said no

  • ssgman

    The oil should be in the wok before it starts smoking.

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  • JPauline

    Hi there. I was just given this recipe and have a question. The recipe I HAD been using called for 1 ounce of tamarind paste soaked in 3/4 a cup of water and then strained. I couldn’t find “paste,” so I’ve been using a brick of the stuff. Then I found a bottle of the stuff you linked to — the concentrate. I have no clue how much concentrate to use. I assume it doesn’t need to be soaked in water, because it has water in it. Any ideas?

  • Carol

    Lol that place in Quito still there! It’s great! Congrats

  • Ather Spark

    In Malaysia,i I think it is called Meehoon Goreng. Meehoon is the white vermicelli.

  • karol Wickert

    Wow Im sure this taste the best BUT what if you don’t have a lot of time. Is there a brand of ready made anyone here has tried?

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  • Gwyn Walton

    Pim my husband found this recipe 7 – 8 years ago on the web. He printed it out and made pad thai for the first time. We loved it! He’s made this so many times over the years. The paper the recipe was printed on got really dirty and wrinkled so a few years ago we tried to find your site so we could reprint it and it wasn’t on the web so we bought a page protector and it’s been in our cook book since. Tonight when we decided to make Pad Thai I pulled the poor tattered and spill covered recipe out of our recipe book and decided to search the web again and voila! I found you. He has made this recipe so many times for many different dinner quest and it always gets very high praise. He always gives you the credit for it being so delicious. Now that we’ve found you again, I can’t wait to see what other delicious recipes you have posted. Thank you so much!

  • Ethnic Food

    Pad thai is really palatable. I will prepare it this week. Thanks to this splendid post