Authentic Pad Thai- the easiest Pad Thai recipe without sacrificing real ingredients.

Real Pad Thai
There are so many versions of this classic Thai dish and few truly reflect the authentic flavors of old Siam. Having traveled throughout Thailand extensively, I have created my version of the recipe by combining flavors and techniques I’ve learned from many Thai chefs and most importantly, from moms and grandmas as street stalls. The Americanized versions of Pad Thai tend to be watery and extremely sweet; this is not the authentic nature of the recipe. The use of Tamarind Concentrate is essential in achieving the correct taste, texture and color of the noodles, but if absolutely necessary, one can substitute lime juice. Tiny dried shrimp is also incorporated here, though may be omitted. It is crucial to stir-fry the noodles by folding gently with a wide spatula so the noodles don’t break. If you want to make more than the amount specified in this recipe, it’s best to work in batches. Rice noodles are a little difficult to handle in large amounts, prone to either breaking apart into a mushy texture or burning at the bottom while the top remains uncooked. Even professional Thai chefs work this dish in batches so don’t try to be over ambitious when cooking Pad Thai for a larger number of people. Patience will produce the best results.

Serves 6 to 8

1 package dry rice noodles(medium or large sized Banh Pho)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced into large, bite-sized pieces
3 eggs
Juice of 1/2 a lime(use 2 limes if omitting tamarind)
3 tablespoons tamarind concentrate
2 tablespoons ground red chili pepper (substitute with paprika if you prefer)
2 tablespoons peanut oil
6 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons palm sugar (substitute with brown sugar)
6 Chinese chives, sliced into 1 inch diagonals (substitute with 3 scallions)
3/4 cup water
For Garnish
Fresh bean sprouts
Lime Wedges
Coarsely ground peanuts (optional)


Soak the dry noodles in warm water for 30 minutes or in cold water for several hours (i.e. before going to work in the morning you can soak in cold water and leave it for use in the evening); make sure that all the noodles are submerged in the water.

In a large wok on high heat, stir-fry the garlic in the oil for about 2 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant.

Add the chicken, stir-frying for 3 to 5 minutes until all the chicken is completely white. Lower the heat to medium high and move the chicken to one side of the wok. Crack the eggs onto the other side of the wok and scramble until cooked then stir-fry chicken and eggs together.

Drain the soaked noodles from the water and place directly into the wok on top of the chicken and eggs. Add the lime juice, tamarind, paprika, peanut oil, fish sauce and sugar; mix thoroughly, taking care to fold the noodles instead of breaking them. Lower the heat to medium and continue to fold the noodles gently for 1 to 2 minutes; add 3/4 cup water and continue folding.

Taste and adjust flavors to your preference; noodles should be thoroughly cooked, not completely dry but not wet either. If too dry, then continue adding water 1/4 cup at a time until desired texture is achieved; add scallions before removing from the heat.

Garnish with bean sprouts, lime wedges and ground peanuts.

Note: This recipe uses chicken but you can substitute any of your favorite meat or seafood such as beef or shrimp. Adjust cooking time for different types of meat (beef cooks faster than chicken and shrimp cooks in nearly no time at all).

TIP: If you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting Thailand, you’ll see that street vendors where you get the best versions of Pad Thai have huge vats of their sauce ready to go. If you’re endeavoring to make a truly authentic Pad Thai, I suggest mixing the following ingredients beforehand into one ready to use sauce. You can even make a bigger batch of sauce to keep on hand in the fridge for easy later use.

Juice of 1/2 a lime (use 2 limes if omitting tamarind)

3 tablespoons tamarind concentrate

2 tablespoons ground red chili pepper (substitute with paprika if you prefer)

6 tablespoons fish sauce

3 tablespoons palm sugar (substitute with brown sugar)

3/4 cup water