Easy Pad Thai Noodles from Phuket

Pad Thai with shrimp
Gentl and Hyers/Getty Images
  • 40 mins
  • Prep: 25 mins,
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: SERVES 2-3 people
Ratings (62)

This recipe for Pad Thai Noodles with Chicken & Shrimp is authentic and simple enough for any aspiring Thai cook to make. The pad Thai sauce is easier to create than the more-common tamarind-based variety (most people don't realize that original pad Thai didn't contain tamarind at all, the makings of pad Thai being brought to Thailand via the Chinese). When I was last in Thailand, I went back to the same pad Thai seller every day because of her amazing pad Thai, and it wasn't until just before I left that she told me how she makes it (without tamarind). If you're living in a place where Asian ingredients are difficult to find, then this [tamarind-free] recipe might just make your day. Enjoy!

What You'll Need

  • 8 oz./250 g. pad Thai rice noodles or enough for 2 people
  • 10-15 medium raw shrimp, shells removed
  • 1 boneless chicken breast or 1-2 thighs, chopped up into small pieces
  • 1.5 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 fresh red or green chilies (to taste), finely sliced
  • 1 tsp. grated galangal OR ginger
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1 egg
  • 2 c. bean sprouts
  • 1/3 c. dry roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • Lime wedges for serving
  • PAD THAI SAUCE:
  • 1/3 c. good-tasting chicken stock
  • 3 tbsp. rice vinegar OR white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 3-4 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

How to Make It

  1. Place chopped chicken in a bowl and toss with soy sauce (1.5 Tbsp). Set aside. Combine 'Pad Thai Sauce' ingredients together in a cup, stirring to dissolve sugar. Set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Dunk in rice noodles and cook approximately 6 minutes, OR until soft enough to bend easily, but still firm and a little 'crunchy' when you try to eat it ('undercooked' by regular standards). Drain and rinse noodles briefly with cold water to keep from sticking. Set aside.
  1. Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle in oil and swirl around, then add the garlic, chili, and galangal/ginger. Stir-fry 1 minute.
  2. Add chicken and stir-fry 2 minutes. Add the shrimp, continuing to stir-fry until they turn pink and chicken is opaque (2-3 minutes). When pan becomes dry, add 1-2 Tbsp. of the pad Thai sauce - just enough to keep ingredients frying nicely.
  3. Push ingredients to the side of the pan (if ​the pan is dry, drizzle in a little oil). Crack egg into center and stir-fry quickly to scramble.
  4. Add noodles plus 3-4 Tbsp. of the pad Thai sauce. Using two utensils, lift and turn noodles with other ingredients. Continue in this way, adding more sauce every minute or two, until all has been added and noodles are chewy-delicious and a little bit sticky (8-10 minutes).
  5. Fold in bean sprouts and green onion. Remove from heat and taste-test, adding more fish sauce until desired taste is achieved (I usually end up adding 1 Tbsp). Portion out onto individual plates and add a lime wedge on the side. Top with a small heap of chopped nuts. ENJOY!

About this Pad Thai Sauce: Although today we associate pad Thai sauce with tamarind, in this authentic southern-Thai recipe, the sourness comes instead from a combination of rice vinegar and lime juice. Traditionally (several hundred years ago), pad Thai was made in just this way - without tamarind - and versions of this original formula can still be found in various regions of Thailand. This particular recipe was taught to me by a local Thai chef in south-western Thailand, and I have found it to be one of my favorites. Hope you like it too.

*Use wheat-free soy sauce for gluten-free diets.