This Authentic Pad Thai will transport you to South East Asia in just one bite!
I learned to make this dish in Thailand and my teacher made it crystal clear; if it doesn’t have tamarind, it’s not Pad Thai! I can hear Kim’s voice yelling that every time I make this and it makes me smile.
If you like Southeast Asian cuisine, I suggest picking up tamarind concentrate or paste, palm sugar, and fish sauce. This trio of pantry staples is a must for Southeast Asian cooking.
Authentic Pad Thai
- 1 small saucepan
- 1 large pot
- 1 wok or large frying pan/skillet
- 1 wok spatula
- 1 pair of tongs
- 3 tbsp tamarind concentrate
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup palm sugar
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 garlic cloves
- 5 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 cup shallots chopped
- 8 oz dried rice stick noodles
- ½ lb chicken breast thinly sliced; may sub for another protein like shrimp
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ cup bean sprouts divided
- 1 cup carrots julienned (cut into matchsticks); divided
- 4 scallions trimmed and sliced diagonally
- ¼ cup roasted peanuts crushed
- 1 lime wedges for serving; optional
- Heat a small pan over med-low heat and add tamarind concentrate, water, palm sugar, fish sauce, and garlic. Cook until palm sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from heat, let cool for 10 minutes; transfer to a small bowl until needed.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add noodles and cook for 2 minutes, draining immediately and quickly rinsing with cold water. The noodles won't be fully cooked but don't worry; they'll continue to soften while cooking in the sauce.
- In a wok (a large frying pan works too) heat 2 tbsp of oil over high-heat. Add chicken and cook for 2 minutes. Remove protein from the wok and transfer to a plate.
- Add 1 tbsp oil to the wok, add shallots and stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Ensure you're constantly stirring so the garlic doesn't burn.
- Add noodles to the wok and drizzle remaining 2 tbsp of oil overtop. Stir-fry for 2 minute. This will help noodles soften and provide a surface for the sauce to cling to. Add 3 tbsp of sauce to the noodles, stirring constantly until sauce clings to noodles, about 1 minute.
- Add protein back to wok and fry for another 2-3 minutes, adding more sauce as needed. It's important you add sauce a little at a time. You want the noodles to slowly soak in and absorb the sauce.
- Move Pad Thai over to one side of the pan. Crack an egg on the other side and scramble with a wooden spoon for 30 seconds. Add green onions, half the carrots, and half the bean sprouts, and stir-fry for 1 more minute, mixing everything together.
- Test the firmness of the noodle. If the noodle is too firm, stir-fry for another minute and add more sauce if needed.
- Remove Pad Thai from heat. Garnish with remaining carrots, sprouts, cilantro, toasted peanuts, sliced Bird’s eye chili and lime wedges.