pad thai at home

It took me a long time to work up the nerve to try cooking Asian food at home.  Just in the last year or two, I’ve learned a lot (mostly by trial and error) and I think it’s safe to say my experiments are getting better and better.

Green Curry and Pad Thai are probably my favorite dishes to order when we go to a Thai restaurant.  I haven’t yet tried homemade green curry, but I made pad Thai for the second time last night…and we have a winner!

Most pad Thai recipes call for tamarind juice to give the dish its characteristic tangy background flavor.  I tried using tamarind juice the first time and something just didn’t taste right to me.  (Maybe I needed a more concentrated juice?  Or I should have used tamarind paste instead of juice?)  I don’t know, but the second time I decided to try lime juice + brown sugar instead since I’d seen it listed as a substitute.  We all loved it!

Here’s my basic recipe for pad Thai…I tend to do lots of tweaking and taste-testing along the way, so you might want to do the same to make sure it’s working for your taste buds.  Also, making pad Thai in a large batch guarantees unevenly distributed flavor and soggy noodles, so I make this recipe in two batches.

{Recipe updated 10/16/13}

Pad Thai (loosely adapted from this recipe)

Thinly sliced beef, pork, chicken, or shrimp (or none of these if you want vegetarian)

2-3 carrots, grated

2 bunches green onions, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 T. shredded preserved radish, optional

4-5 T. cooking oil (I use avocado + coconut oil)

12-14 oz. package dried rice noodles (labeled M or Medium)

4 eggs, beaten


1/2 c. lime juice

3/4 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. fish sauce

1/2 c. water

2 T. soy sauce

splash of Worcestershire sauce

salt to taste

red pepper flakes to taste

Garnish: chopped peanuts, additional raw grated carrots, lime wedges, cilantro


In a large bowl, soak rice noodles in cold water for 30 minutes.  Use this time to start preparing the other ingredients.  After noodles are done soaking, drain them well and cook in boiling water for about 4 minutes, or until al dente.  Drain and rinse with cold water. (They will continue cooking later in the skillet or wok.)

Combine sauce ingredients (lime juice, brown sugar, fish sauce, water, soy sauce, Worcestershire, salt, red pepper) in a medium saucepan.  Simmer for 10 minutes or until mixture begins to reduce and thicken slightly.  Set aside.

In a large skillet or wok, heat one tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat.  Cook meat of choice until done; remove and set aside.  Add another tablespoon of oil and cook carrots, green onions, and garlic for 1-2 minutes or until starting to brown.  Remove and set aside.

Add another tablespoon of oil, then add half of the cooked noodles to the pan.  Leave them untouched for at least 30 seconds, then stir and add half of the sauce.  After noodles are coated, add half of the veggies and half of the meat.  Push the entire mixture to the side of the pan and add half of the eggs to the skillet.  Scramble the eggs, then mix them into the noodles.  Remove everything from the pan and repeat with the remaining half of the ingredients.

Pile the noodle mixture into bowls and top with chopped peanuts, raw grated carrots, and cilantro, and serve with a lime wedge.

Yield: 4-5 servings


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3 Responses to pad thai at home

  1. Sarah says:

    I am so going to try this! I have another Pad Thai recipe that I’ve been following for awhile and I love it because a) it’s so simple and b) it doesn’t call for a pre-made sauce. In fact, it uses a lot of the ingredients yours does. BUT, I’m ready to try something new…sort of kick it up a notch. So I’m pretty happy to see yours 🙂

  2. Warren Bergmann says:

    My wife and I made a half-recipe last night, adding 1 1/2 cups mung bean sprouts with the carrot, onion, and garlic. It was delicious. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

    • Abby says:

      You’re welcome! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I need to try adding bean sprouts…that’s a great idea!

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