Before my friend Erika from The Pancake Princess asked me to blog about Pad Thai, it’s never occurred to me to put this recipe on the blog. I saw a lot of Pad Thai recipes on blogging community, and I also saw a lot of ‘Pad Thai sauce’ in the stores that I didn’t think people would want to see another post on this subject. However, during my 15 years living in the U.S., I have never found any Pad Thai that reminded me of home. Funny, isn’t it? Since we can find this dish on the menu of every single Thai restaurant on the planet, you would expect that I would have found at least one that I really liked. To be honest, most Pad Thai served outside Thailand are not bad, and some are even fancier than ones in Thailand. 🙂 I don’t object to them, but they are not what I grew up eating. They are not street food Pad Thai.
To be fair to all Thai restaurants in the U.S., I don’t think most people will like this version, and that’s why I understand how Thai restaurants need to adapt. You can definitely add shrimps or any kind of meat you like to this recipe; you can replace dried shrimp with the meat as well. 🙂
This Pad Thai recipe is what I grew up eating. It’s simple, flavourful and cheap. Back then, all street vendors only made this type of Pad Thai. I hope you give this recipe a try someday.
P.S. Erika, I hope you are ok with this one 🙂
Street food Pad Thai
- 12 oz. rice noodle, submerge in warm water as per instruction on the package* (see note)
- 8 oz. unflavored pressed tofu (firmer than ‘extra firm’), cut into small cube** (see note)
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 1-2 oz. salted radish, (soaked in water for 10 minutes then drained), chopped
- 1-2 oz. dried shrimp, rinsed and patted dry
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 – 1 cup Pad Thai sauce (see below)(more if needed)
- 1 teaspoon ground chili pepper
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 oz. chicharrones, (break into small pieces)
- 1-2 handful bean sprouts (more to serve)
- 1-2 handful garlic chive, coarsely chopped (about 1-inch in length) (more to serve)
- 3 tbs. canola oil (more if needed)
- a wok (prefer, but now require)
- 1-2 tbs. ground peanut (to serve)
- Lime & Banana flowers (to serve)
Add canola oil in a wok (or a large skillet) and heat it over medium-high heat. Add tofu and stir until light golden brown, then add shallots, dried shrimp, salted radish, and stir until fragrant.
Add rice noodle and water, and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes or until the noodles are fully soft. Add Pad Thai sauce, ground chili pepper, and mix well. Push all to one side of the wok.
Add egg to the opposite site of the wok, and stir until ALMOST cook through. Then add bean sprouts, garlic chive and chicharrones to the wok. Stir-fry everything together (add more Pad Thai sauce if needed) until bean sprouts and garlic chive are wilted, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with ground peanut before serving.
Serve with a lime wedge, more bean sprouts, ground peanut, ground chili pepper, and banana flowers. *** (see note)
Pad Thai sauce
- 1 cup Tamarind water
- 1/3 cup fish sauce (more if needed)
- 8 oz palm sugar
- water (if needed)
- rice vinegar (if needed)
Palm sugar usually comes in a round 3 oz/piece. To make it easy to combine with other ingredients, I put them in the plastic bag, and whack them with the rolling pin until broken into small pieces 🙂
Combine all ingredients (except water) in the saucepan over low heat, and stir often until well-combined (about 8-10 minutes). Taste the sauce and adjust as needed. Add water, fish sauce or rice vinegar as needed. This sauce should be sweet, sour and salty, and it should be somewhat syrupy. This sauce can be kept for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Naam Makham (Tamarind water)
- 10-15 fresh tamarinds, peeled, pitted
- 2 cups water
Add tamarinds in boiling water, and breaking up as they are softens. Mash, stir, then strain the mixture through a mesh strainer. This can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week, and in the freezer for up to 3 months.
*soak rice noodle in warm water just until pliable, but not fully soft. It depends on the brand, some takes 20 minutes, mine took 1 hour. So check often.
**I can only find this tofu in Asian market. It should be stored in the refrigerator, and this tofu won’t be packed in water. Those packed in water are not firm enough for this recipe.
*** I don’t eat banana flowers, but I want to add it to the recipe because this is the way Pad Thai is served in Thailand. Yes, you can omit them 🙂
All images are copyright protected. Please do NOT use ANY OF MY IMAGES without prior permission.
If you want to use this recipe, please kindly use ‘link back’ to the this post for the recipe. I would really appreciate it if you do not republish my recipe word for word, in English or in any other language, on your site.
If you adapt any of my recipe, please kindly use ‘link back’ to my original post as well.
Thank you so much.