Authentic Pad Thai Recipe

Of course I have to share with you one of the most famous Thai street food recipes – “Pad Thai”! Now, there are many versions of Pad Thai that you may have seen in the past, but what I aim to do in this post is provide an authentic Pad Thai recipe, with classic flavors and texture.

Have you ever wondered why Pad Thai often seems lacking in noodles, yet still tastes addicting? The reason is that adding too much rice noodle causes clumping and ruins the enjoyment of this dish. So here is the first tip for authentic Pad Thai: DO NOT put too many noodles in the wok! Using the right noodle quantity is essential for achieving the proper balance of textures and flavors that make Pad Thai so crave-worthy.

Authentic Pad Thai Ingredients
Authentic Pad Thai Ingredients

How much Rice Noodle is Too Much?

Well, if you have a scale, one serving should be anywhere between 50 – 70 grams per serving. Or if you are doing it street style like me or what the food vendors in Thailand do is just grabbing as much noodles as you can with your 5 fingers. One handful of noodles per serving no more than that.

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Now, the next question that you or your family and friends may have in mind while making this dish is how many serving you should make in the wok at a time? The answer is no more than 2 servings at a time!

What if you are trying to make Pad Thai for 20 people?

Answer: You prep and cook everything else except for the noodles in a big batch enough for your company of 20 people first. I mean you still soak the noodles in a cold water for 20 people but you just don’t stir fry it all at once. And that should take no more than 20 minutes to do. Then when it comes to stir frying the Pad Thai noodle, stir-fry (assemble) only 1-2 servings at a time. Each round should take only 2-3 minutes. Therefore, the prepping and cooking time for 20 servings is some where between 60 – 90 minutes. Not so bad , right?

How to Prepare Tofu for Pad Thai?

Next tip is about the tofu. Use the firmest tofu you can find at the store so it does not break apart easily. Tofu from Asian markets often comes packed in liquid. To prevent oil splattering when frying and the tofu turning mushy from breaking down, drain the tofu block first. Place the tofu on a rack or strainer, then put a heavy bowl on top to gently press out the liquid. Do this right after starting to soak the noodles so you get multiple prep tasks done at once.

So in summary, before chopping any vegetables, meat or other ingredients, begin soaking the rice noodles and draining the tofu block. Getting the noodles soaking and excess moisture from the tofu are the first steps for authentic Pad Thai.

What is the secret ingredient in Pad Thai?

Similar to many stir fry dished around the world, the starring ingredients of the dish is the sauce. In this authentic Pad Thai has the tangy, sweet, and fruity flavor from the tamarind concentrate. This seasoning is great in many dishes and makes one of the best dipping sauce for several dishes. This includes Thai Fried Chicken, Son-In-Law Eggs, and Weeping Tiger Beef. Many American restaurants substituted that with ketchup instead, but the taste does not come out right. Please, don’t do that lol! Plus, ketchup just gives you more unnecessary sugar in the dish.

Tamarind Concentrate and Fired Shallots
Tamarind Concentrate and Fired Shallots
Authentic Pad Thai

Authentic Pad Thai Recipe

Mary Thatcher
This recipe is authentic and is full of tips and tricks for you.
4.75 from 4 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course dinner, lunch, Main Course, noodle
Cuisine thai
Servings 2 people
Calories 455 kcal



For the Pad Thai Sauce (Enough for 8-10 servings and can be stored in the jar and refridgerated)
For the stir fry or noodle part for 2 servings
  • 2 cup fresh mung bean sprout
  • 1-2 tbsp fried shallots
  • 1-2 tbsp sweet pickled radish usually comes in as a shredded version
  • 2 tbsp fried tofu
  • 4-10 peeled and devein shrimps
  • 2 eggs
  • 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1-2 tbsp crushed roasted peanuts
  • 1 tbsp dried shrimp
  • lime juice for seasoning at the end on each individual plate
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp chili flakes for seasoning at the end on each individual plate
  • 1/4 cup chopped garlic chives chop about an inch long


Prepare your fresh rice noodles and tofu, fried shallots, and shrimps
  • Soak your noodles. Soak your fresh rice noodle in the room temperature water 5-10 minutes.  If using fry noodles, soak it in hot boiling water for 5-10 minutes and drain. 
  • Prepare the the tofu : Put your tofu on a rack and put a paper towel and a pan on the top. Press the water out by applying some pressure on a pan. I just put a heavy book or a heavy object and let it sit there while preparing other stuff.  Once you drain most of the tofu water out, dice or slice into small strips and fry in a hot oil but with low heat for 2 minutes and set it aside. 
  • Prepare fry shallots: the pan and oil has to be very hot but lower to the lowest heat possible when fry! Heat about 1 Tbsp oil until you start seeing some smoke. Lower to the lowest heat then fry the onion will the smallest bit starts to turn yellow and turn the heat off. Fry until crispy. Set it a side on a piece of paper towel to get the excess oil out.  You can of course buy the fried shallots in the jar from the store too.
  • Prepare the shrimps: Use high heat and 1 TBSP of vegetable oil. Cook the shrimp for 2 minutes and set aside.
  • Chop your garlic chives about an inch long then set it aside.
Make the Pad Thai Sauce
  • Combine the palm sugar and water then cook with medium heat. Stir consistently until it starts to turn golden brown. Add tamarind concentrate, fish sauce and water then keep cooking and letting it boiled for 3-5 minutes.  Let it cool while preparing other ingredients the sauce will be thicken as it’s cooler down. 
Assemble your Pad Thai : Takes about 2  minutes per serving
  • Use medium heat. Heat the wok and 1 TBSP oil. Add the noodles and sauce then stir fry for 30 seconds.
  • Add garlic chives, fried shallots, fried tofu, bean sprout, dried tiny shrimps , and sweet pickled radishes. Stir fry for another 10-20 seconds and push it to the side of the wok. 
  • Add a table spoon of oil then an egg. Scramble and cook the eggs then mix with the noodle. 
  • Add the cooked shrimps, crushed roasted peanuts, and chili flakes. (If you have children or people who have low tolerant for spice, leave the chili flakes out and put it on the side of each plate instead.)
  • Serve hot with some more crushed peanuts, lime wedges, chili flakes, sugar, fresh bean sprouts, and fresh garlic chives on the side .


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Calories: 455kcalCarbohydrates: 49gProtein: 13gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 13gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 248mgSodium: 2557mgPotassium: 165mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 36gVitamin A: 389IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 70mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Noodle, Pad Thai, recipe, Street Food
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