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Authentic Pad Thai

Colin Clark

Servings: 6 as a snack or first course; 4 as a main course

This classic stir-fry of rice noodles, tofu, dried shrimp, and colorful garnishes is a street-food staple in Thailand, and surprisingly easy to make at home. If you can’t find tamarind, palm sugar, Thai basil, or Thai chiles, you can still make a delicious version of this dish with the substitutions listed below.

Extras: Watch Corinne Trang demonstrate how to make Pad Thai and view a slideshow to learn more about Essential Thai Ingredients.


  • 1/3 cup fish sauce
  • 1/3 cup tamarind concentrate (or substitute fresh lime juice)
  • 1/3 cup palm sugar (or substitute agave nectar)
  • 5 Tbs. grapeseed or vegetable oil; more as needed
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup small dried shrimp, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes and drained
  • 1 5-oz. cake pressed tofu, thinly sliced
  • 4 large eggs
  • 10 oz. medium (1/4-inch wide) rice sticks (pad thai noodles), soaked in warm water until pliable (at least 20 minutes) and drained
  • 1-1/2 cups homemade or canned lower-salt chicken broth
  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts, rinsed, root ends trimmed (if you like)
  • 1/2 cup Thai basil or cilantro, freshly torn
  • 1/4 cup chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
  • 3 scallions (white and green parts), trimmed and thinly sliced diagonally
  • 3 fresh red Thai chiles (or other small hot red chiles), seeded and thinly sliced, or Sriracha to taste
  • 1 medium lime, cut into 6 to 8 wedges

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 480
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 180
  • Fat (g): 20
  • Saturated Fat (g): 3
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 11
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 135
  • Sodium (mg): 1530
  • Carbohydrates (g): 63
  • Fiber (g): 4
  • Protein (g): 14


  • In a medium bowl, whisk the fish sauce, tamarind concentrate, and palm sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside.

    In a large wok, heat 2 Tbs. of the oil over high heat until shimmering hot. Add the garlic and stir-fry until golden, about 15 seconds. Add the dried shrimp and stir-fry for 15 seconds. Transfer to a medium bowl, leaving behind as much oil as possible, and set aside. Add the tofu to the wok and stirfry until heated through and golden in spots, about 1 minute. Transfer to the bowl of shrimp and set aside.

    Return the wok to high heat and add 1 Tbs.of the oil. Crack the eggs into the wok and scramble gently to break the yolks, making sure not to overmix so as to retain some yellow and white parts; cook until just set, about 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. If any egg residue remains in the wok, wipe it clean.

    Heat the remaining 2 Tbs. oil in the wok over high heat. Add the noodles, broth, and fish sauce mixture. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the noodles have completely absorbed the liquid and are sizzling, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the dried shrimp and tofu,toss a few times, and divide among plates or bowls. Garnish each serving with some scrambled egg, mung bean sprouts, basil, peanuts, scallions, and chiles. Serve hot with the lime wedges on the side for squeezing over the noodles

Substitute 36 small fresh peeled and deveined shrimp for the dried shrimp, stir-frying them until opaque, about 1 minute.


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Reviews (13 reviews)

  • sawback | 12/15/2021

    Great recipe. I agree with the review that says those who don't like this recipe probably prefer blander food. They probably don't order 10/10 on the heat scale at a Thai restaurant (neither do I).

  • user-359279 | 02/13/2021

    Agree. Way too much tamarind paste and fish sauce. She really missed the mark on this. What a huge disappointment and waste of ingredients. The Basics Cookbook has a good recipe. I recommend FC do another recipe to make up for this one.

  • kellymae | 04/20/2017

    Way too much fish sauce and tamarind paste. The right flavors were there, just the ratios were definitely wrong. It was far too fishy &'tangy'... Such a bummer to have to throw out what would have been leftovers.

  • Csneville | 10/07/2014

    This is our solid go-to for pad thai. Great as leftovers too. Tweak it to your taste. Agree there's absolutely too much fish sauce. We half it. I make my tamarind sauce (boiling up sauce from tamarind pulp and water) - I find the commercially made stuff too chemical-tasting. Not a huge fan of freeze dried shrimp, so we do garlic fried 31/40 shrimp. The last time we cubed the tofu instead of slicing it thinly and found it much easier to fry without it coming apart. Of course, quality ingredients are always key in Thai cooking.

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