My ad hoc recipe for authentic Pad Thai

So… I had a mixture of ingredients for a Pad Thai and decided to use all of them.  The only ingredient of note missing from this recipe is preserved turnip; mine had spoiled! O.o  If you have some, finely chop 3 tbsp. of it and add it alongside the garlic etc.  In terms of flavour this is pretty authentic.  If you use dried sen lek noodles you will need to have them prepared and soaked for a suitable amount of time in cold water before you start.

In the ingredients below i’ve linked to some of them, it’s not an endorsement as I didn’t order mine through Raan Thai but they do stock the same brands and next time I need to order ingredients I will give them a bash; having had iffy customer service from a better known online thai foods supermarket.

Serves 3, I cooked it all in a 12″ wide flat bottomed pan (about 4″ deep). Mortar and pestle required.  Wooden spatula preferably.

  • Sesame Oil / Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Chicken Breast
  • 3 Tbsp Dried Fried Garlic or Fresh
  • 3 Tbsp Dried Fried Red Onion (Shallot)
  • 6 Spring Onions
  • 100g of Bean Curd (Tofu).  I used Japanese silken tofu as I like the texture and flakyness.
  • 3 Eggs
  • 300g Rice Noodles (I used Amoy Straight to Wok but you really should use proper Sen Lek rice noodles)
  • Palm Sugar lump (Photo) (1.5 tbsp.)
  • 4 Tbsp Nam Pla
  • 1 1/2 Tsp flaked dried chilli
  • Tamarind Pulp
  • 6 Tbsp. Dried Shrimp
  • 100g Bean Sprouts
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Lime
  • 6 Tbsp. Peanuts (Roasted, salted ones are OK)
  • Coriander


Cut the chicken into small pieces and set aside. Put 4 sliced spring onions, the garlic & dried onion into a small bowl.  Cut about a 1 to 2 cm wide strip off of your block of tamarid and place in another small bowl with about twice as much warm water as tamarind.  Push and pulp this around with a spoon to start it breaking down.  When that’s separated out and the water is a suitably muddy brown take out the remaining tamarind pulp and discard, to this water add the Nam Pla and palm sugar (mine was a solid disk which dissolved slowly in the pan).

In the mortar and pestle pulverise the dried shrimp as much as you can, and tip into a small bowl.  Then do grind the peanuts into pieces but leave them in the mortar and pestle.

  1. Put the pan on a high heat with your oil, I used a mixture of sesame oil and vegetable 50/50.  When the oil is hot add the chicken and tofu and stir until cooked, the tofu will almost completely break down.  If you are using fresh garlic finely chop it and add it to the pan and brown it off before adding the chicken and tofu.
  2. Tip the bowl containing the spring onion, garlic and dried onion into the pan.  Stir through thoroughly.
  3. Now add the tamarind water, Nam Pla and palm sugar.  Stir through thoroughly and if necessary prod at the palm sugar to break it down.
  4. Turn down the heat a bit.
  5. Add in the noodles and stir to combine completely with the existing ingredients.  If you’re lazy like me and used the straight to wok kind just continue on with the recipe.  If not follow the guidelines for your noodles to ensure they’ll be cooked by the time you finish.
  6. Move the noodles off to the side of a pan and one at a time crack your eggs into the pan.  Each time mixing quickly and thoroughly into the ingredients.
  7. Tip in most of the bean sprouts and all of the dried shrimp. Squeeze in the juice of the lemon.  Combine thoroughly.
  8. Add in most of the peanuts, as much roughly chopped coriander as you wish and combine thoroughly.  I used a handful of coriander.
  9. If cooked through serve onto 3 plates.
  10. Sprinkle each portion with the remaining chopped spring onion, peanuts and bean sprouts.  Decorate with a bit of coriander and serve with a wedge of lime on the side.
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