Pad Thai

Image: Kim Cofino

Pad Thai

Pad Thai is often considered a signature dish of Thai cuisine. There are several regional variations, and many different recipes. This recipe tries to bring together the most common themes, spices and ingredients to create a familiar and authentic variation on this classic dish.


  • 8 ounces wide rice noodles (I like these). These should be soaked at room temperature for about an hour or more, until noodle has softened to your preference.
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped. 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 5 to 6 dried shrimp ground in a mortar & pestle or spice grinder to a course powder (dried shrimp can be purchased at your local asian market or you can order them online here)
  • 1/2 fresh cooked shrimp
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce 
  • 1/4 cup crushed palm sugar (plain granulated sugar can also be used).
  • 2 teaspoons tamarind concentrate mixed with 5 teaspoons water (tamarind paste can be purchased at your local asian market or you can order it online here)
  • 1 medium egg, beaten 
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives 
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely broken up. 
  • 1 cup bean sprouts\
  • 1/4 cup julienned carrots
  • 1/2 cup "Firm" tofu that has been diced (1/2" cubes)
  • 1 cup of dry roasted, unsalted peanuts, ground to a coarse meal in a mortar & pestle


  1. Heat a little cooking oil in a wok and add the garlic and shallots, and briefly stir fry until they just shows signs of changing color.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients except the egg, dried shrimp, ground peanuts and bean sprouts, and stir fry until the noodles color slightly and soften (about 5 minutes).
  3. As you stir the noodles, periodically throw in 1-2 tablespoons of water to keep mixture from sticking to wok.
  4. Slowly "drizzle" in the beaten egg to form a fine ribbon of cooked egg while continuing to stir the rest of the ingredients in the wok.
  5. Add ground dried shrimp and stir in.
  6. Add half the bean sprouts and cook for no more than another 30 seconds. Remove from the pan to a serving platter.


  1. Mix a tablespoon of lime juice with a tablespoon of tamarind juice and a tablespoon of fish sauce, and use this to marinade half a cup of uncooked bean sprouts, half a cup of chopped chives, 1/4 cup julienned carrots and half a cup of very coarsely ground roasted peanuts.
  2. Plate Pad Thai, with garnish slightly to the side of the main dish.