Pad Thai

pad thai

The first time I had pad Thai was in Boston. I’ve mentioned before that I wasn’t a terribly cosmopolitan eater before moving to Boston, so many of my firsts happened there: bialys, mooshoo pancakes, mango lassi, and pad Thai.

My boyfriend attended Berklee College and we’d often eat at a place right across from the school after class. We were both vegetarian at the time (he probably is still) so we’d order the pad Thai with vegetables. God, it was good. Loaded with still-crisp steamed broccoli florets, carrots and cauliflower, with soft straw mushrooms and velvety bites of Japanese eggplant. I don’t recall ordering it to be made sans fish sauce because I don’t think either of us realized there was fish sauce in it. It was our habit to order other things like broccoli and garlic sauce to be made without oyster sauce, so I can only assume we were ignorant. And never was the old adage “Ignorance is bliss” more true.


More pictures of pad Thai. Pad Thai is very photogenic.

Pad Thai Recipe Video

Pad Thai Recipe – Printable!

Adapted from the cookbook, Thai Food and Cooking by Judy Bastyra.


Pad Thai

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5 from 5 reviews

  • Author: Hilah Johnson
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Cuisine: Thai


  • Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup tamarind juice*
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 8 ounces rice stick noodles
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  • 812 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 eggs, unbeaten
  • 1 teaspoon dried shrimp* (optional; I prefer to omit it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon – 2 teaspoons chili flakes
  • 1 bunch garlic chives*, cut into 1 inch lengths
  • 2 1/2 cups mung bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts, crushed
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges for serving


  1. Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl and taste. Adjust the sweet, salty and sour balance by adding more of each until it tastes good to you. Set aside.
  2. Soak noodles in a large bowl of very hot water while you prep ingredients (about 20 minutes, until noodles are opaque, pliable, “rubbery”, but still less tender than al dente).
  3. Heat half of the oil in a large wok or a deep, wide skillet or dutch oven.
  4. Fry garlic and shallot until golden.
  5. Add the eggs and let them set for 15 seconds, then break up using a wooden spoon so you have some white and some yolk bits.
  6. Add remaining oil and heat; add shrimp and cook 60 seconds until beginning to turn pink on the edges (or add minced chicken or cubed extra firm tofu at this point)
  7. When shrimp is about half-cooked add dried shrimp, chili flakes, drained noodles and sauce.
  8. Toss quickly with tongs to get all noodles covered in sauce. Continue cooking, tossing frequently, for about 5 more minutes or until noodles are tender.
  9. Fold in the chives, half the bean sprouts and half the peanuts.
  10. Cook a couple more minutes until sauce is absorbed and sprouts and chives are wilted.
  11. Plate with additional sprouts and peanuts on top. Sever with lime wedges.


Tamarind juice can be found in Asian or Latin American markets, in small plastic bottles. Tamarind pulp can be found in small “bricks”. If you can only find pulp, mix with about half water to make a prune-juice consistency, removing seeds if any.
Dried shrimp can be found in the spice aisle of Asian or Latin markets. Omit if you can’t find it.
Garlic chives can be found in the produce section of Asian markets. Lacking them, slice the green ends of green onions instead
(Scroll to the bottom of this post for Amazon affiliate links to some brands I like of hard-to-find ingredients)


  • Calories: 358
  • Sugar: 9
  • Fat: 22
  • Carbohydrates: 32
  • Protein: 21

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pad thai

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  1. Great Stone Face on September 16, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    This looks delicious. I definitely will try making it. The ingredients list omits the dried shrimp. How much should be added (if at all)?

    • Hilah on September 18, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      Dangit! I hate when I do that!
      I tried it with ground dried shrimp (about a teaspoon) but liked it better without. Maybe it was not the highest quality dried shrimp, but to me it muddied up the clean sweet/salty/sour flavors of the pad thai.

  2. Gea on September 18, 2014 at 11:04 am

    The grocer always give me some tamarind when I go to the market … and I’ve never read a recipe to use it! So thank you Hilah, I’ll definitely try it … I hope it will turn out tasty … and good looking enough to send you a photo 😉

    • Hilah on September 18, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      That’s quite a nice grocer you have, Gea! Hope you do try the pad thai recipe and I would love to see a picture!

  3. Laurel on September 20, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Thanks, Hilah! I’m making this tomorrow! Love your recipes! I still make your carrot cake! My friends love it!

    • Hilah on September 22, 2014 at 9:45 am

      Hope you loved it, Laurel!

  4. Diane on September 20, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    That looks fantastic! Every time I’ve mad Pad Thai I’ve used sauce that I bought, but now I’m going to try this.

    • Diane on September 20, 2014 at 2:58 pm

      Um. *made*

      • Hilah on September 22, 2014 at 10:13 am

        Ha! It’s definitely cheaper to make your own pad thai sauce, and probably less sugar, too. Every time I see this post, I want more pad thai. 🙂

  5. pat Soltis on September 21, 2014 at 6:12 pm


    This comment doesn’t really have anything to do with pad thai. Just an observation: a lot of my favorite food bloggers seem to be having children, in relatively close (chronological) proximity to each other. I know that your little boy is due in a couple of months (or less). Olga Klyuchets ( — Russian recipes, and a lot of other stuff) has just announced on her web site that she’s expecting — due date next March. Mimi Thorisson ( had a baby this past June, a girl, Audrey May. She and her husband now have seven children between them. The whole tribe lives in an old farm near Bordeaux, France. Her recipes are mostly traditional, somewhat rustic French, although the bog itself is in English. Old-fashioned French cooking is probably my favorite idiom.

    Profound best wishes to you, Chris, and your son.


    • Hilah on September 22, 2014 at 10:14 am

      Thank you, Pat 🙂
      Only 6 weeks to go. We are so so so very excited.

      • pat Soltis on September 22, 2014 at 8:06 pm

        Hello again, Hilah,

        Some history that may not interest you, and then some positive thoughts (I hope).

        I’m sixty-four years old. I’ve been divorced for a long time, and I was married for an even longer time previously. My ex and I never felt that we had “what it takes” to be good parents.

        The fact that you and Chris are willing to take on the open-ended commitment that is necessary if one is going to raise a healthy, happy, beautiful child is worthy of all kinds of respect.

        So, again, profound respects and best wishes for the future.


  6. Shikha @ Shikha la mode on September 24, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    You can find all those delicious things in SF, so come visit here and I’ll show you!

    • Hilah on September 24, 2014 at 2:30 pm

      I’d love to visit SF again! It’s been years.

  7. Grace on September 28, 2014 at 2:25 am

    Hi Hilah:) I was just wondering if it would be alright to use tamarind paste instead of juice? And if so, should I use the same amount as the juice or less? It was the only thing my supermarket had:) it looks soooo yum:) I can’t wait to make it!

    • Hilah on September 28, 2014 at 10:50 am

      Hi Grace!
      You can use paste, but mix it up with enough water to make it about the consistency of tomato juice. The amount might vary, but probably about half tamarind paste/half water.

  8. DiAnne on September 29, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    Hilah, I can’t stop making this recipe!!!!! Girl, you are the in my house. ahahhaha Thank you

    • Hilah on October 1, 2014 at 3:04 pm

      Yay! I love this recipe, too. Thanks for writing, DiAnne!

  9. Rhonda on March 25, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    Hi Hilah,
    I’ve loved Pad Thai for years! I’ve also tried to make it for many years using various recipes,however NONE of them have been successful until I made YOURS tonight for dinner! You have given me the magic or should I say “secret” recipe just like they make in my favorite Thai restaurant. I just can’t thank you enough!

    • Hilah on March 26, 2015 at 6:17 am

      Yay! So happy to hear that, Rhonda!

  10. Katherine on June 8, 2015 at 8:18 am

    Just had to tell you, I love GOOD pad Thai, not that ketchupy junk, but can never find it like a Thai friend used to make it. I tried this last night and it was wonderful! I ate too much but it was worth it! Thank you very much! And just btw, your son is just the cutest. Like you don’t know that already.

  11. Jamie H. on June 21, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    This is a great looking pad Thai. I will have to try this. It is different that the one my ex use to make and way different than the one I got from a Thai restaurant in southwest Columbus, Ohio. The Thai restaurant use three different meats when they made theirs and many more different veggies. You choose what you wanted and they made it. It isn’t the meat that makes it a good Pad Thai, but the spices and sauce. But I like it with either shrimp, beef and chicken, or shrimp , chicken and pork. Never could decide which I preferred best. But some of my favorite veggies were, crunchy horse chestnuts and bean sprouts and what ever other veggies they thought would make it taste good. Since I could never get mine just right I will definitely have to give this a try. It looks so delicious. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hilah on June 22, 2015 at 8:10 am

      Let me know what you think of this one! The one I used to get in Boston had so many more vegetables than any other one I’ve ordered anywhere and it was so good. The variety of textures and flavors (and color) really made it amazing.

  12. Jamie H. on June 21, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    In my above comment I said horse chestnut, but I meant water chestnuts. Please forgive my error.

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