Chicken Pad Thai Recipe

Pad Thai, famous rice noodle dish
Quynh Anh Nguyen / Getty Images
  • 27 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 12 mins
  • Yield: SERVES 2
Ratings (213)

A faster, easier version of Pad Thai, this yummy recipe will leave you craving more. The key to perfect Pad Thai is in the cooking (or "not" cooking) of the noodles - learn how to get them chewy-perfect with this recipe. Included is a simple, but authentic pad thai sauce which is tangy and a little spicy. When it's all put together, you'll find there isn't a noodle dish better than world-famous pad Thai!

What You'll Need

  • For the Pad Thai Sauce:
  • 3/4 tablespoon tamarind paste (dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water; look for tamarind at Asian/Chinese or Indian food stores)
  • 3 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons chili sauce (or 1/2 teaspoon or more dried crushed chili or cayenne, to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • For the Pad Thai:
  • 8 ounces rice noodles (or enough for 2 people, linguini-width)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups chicken breast (or thigh, chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil (more or less as needed for stir-frying)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • Optional: 1 to 2 fresh red chilies (minced)
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 3 cups bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup cilantro (fresh; chopped)
  • 3 green onions (sliced)
  • 1/3 cup peanuts (crushed or roughly chopped; or other nuts, such as cashews)
  • Garnish: lime wedges

How to Make It

  1. Make Pad Thai Sauce by combining sauce ingredients together in a cup. Stir well to dissolve tamarind and brown sugar. Taste-test for a tangy balance between sweet and sour.  Add more sugar if too sour, or more tamarind if too sweet.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil and dunk in rice noodles. Stir to separate. Only cook until they are soft enough to be eaten, but just barely: still firm and a little "crunchy" (they will finish cooking later in the pan). Drain the noodles and rinse well with cold water to prevent sticking. Set aside.
  1. Place chicken slices in a small bowl. Stir together the cornstarch and soy sauce and pour over chicken. Stir well and set aside.
  2. Warm up a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil plus garlic and minced chili, if using. Stir-fry until fragrant (30 seconds). Add marinated chicken. When wok/pan becomes dry, add the chicken stock.  Stir-fry 5 to 7 minutes, until chicken is cooked.
  3. Add noodles and pour Pad Thai Sauce over. Using two utensils, use a gentle "lift and turn" method to fry noodles (like tossing a salad). Stir-fry in this way 5 minutes, or until noodles are chewy 'al dente'. If you find your pan too dry, add a little more oil.
  4. Add bean sprouts and continue frying 1 more minute, or until noodles are cooked. Noodles are done to perfection when they taste chewy and a little sticky. Taste-test for seasoning, adding more fish sauce until your desired flavor is reached (you can add up to 1 tablespoon fish sauce).
  5. Top with generous sprinklings of fresh cilantro, green onion, and crushed/chopped nuts. Add fresh lime wedges to be squeezed over before eating, and if desired, serve with Nam Prik Pao Chili Sauce (homemade recipe) on the side.

Pad Thai Tip: For even more flavor, I'll often make a double batch of the pad Thai sauce. Then, as I'm stir-frying the noodles, I'll add more sauce until I'm happy with the taste (I also add extra fish sauce). Any leftover sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.