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Easy pad thai in a bowl from above.
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5 from 20 votes

easy pad thai

This is a simple straight forward pad Thai that uses easy to get ingredients. Do your prep before you start cooking. This dish comes together in under 10 minutes.
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Thai
Keyword: pad thai
Servings: 2
Calories: 952kcal
Author: glebe kitchen


Pad thai sauce

  • 4 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp tamarind paste - not tamarind concentrate - that is way too strong.
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp sambal oelek
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar

Easy pad thai

  • 8 oz rice noodles (ban pho) - about 1/2 a package
  • 4 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 8 oz chicken thighs boneless, skinless (or one large chicken breast)
  • 6 shrimp (optional). 31-40 per lb works well here.
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3-4 garlic chives chopped
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 2 Tbsp peanuts chopped
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro

To serve

  • lime wedges
  • cilantro
  • vinegar soaked chilies - see notes
  • chopped peanuts


Do your prep

  • Soak the rice noodles in fairly hot water for 30-45 minutes. They will turn white but still be quite firm. You want them a little toothy. Not hard. Just toothy. Pliable. 85 percent of the way there. Start checking them after about 20 minutes. This is important.
  • While the noodles are soaking, do your prep. Chop your vegetables. Cut the chicken into 3/4 inch cubes. Peel your shrimp if using.
  • Chop your peanuts. I like a mini food processor. You don't want to make peanut butter but you don't want huge pieces of peanut either. If you don't have a mini food processor chop by hand. It takes a while but you'll get there.
  • Combine the fish sauce, brown sugar, tomato paste, tamarind and sambal oelek. Stir to combine. This is your pad Thai sauce.

Make the pad thai

  • This goes fast. Be ready. Have everything at hand. Heat a well seasoned wok or large non-stick frying pan over medium high heat. Add the oil.
  • When the oil starts to shimmer, add the chicken and cook for two minutes. Add the shrimp. Cook until the chicken is just done and the shrimp are opaque - about 3-5 minutes total. Probably closer to 3 than 5 but I don't know how hot your stove is...
  • Turn the heat way down. If you're cooking on electric just slide it off the burner. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for another 30 seconds. You don't want the garlic to burn. It gets bitter. That's no good.
  • Crank the heat to max. Mix in the noodles. Stir to coat the noodles with oil. Cook about 45-60 seconds, stirring constantly. Be careful not to break the noodle strands. At this point you want the noodles just done right. Try one to see.
  • Add the pad thai sauce and stir. Get it all evenly coloured. Remove from heat.
  • Mix in the garlic chives, cilantro and bean sprouts and chopped peanuts.
  • Serve, topped with chopped peanuts.
  • Pass the lime wedges, sambal oelek, cilantro and chopped peanuts to allow people to tweak to their individual tastes.


Do not double this recipe. Don't do it. If you want to serve 4 make it twice. Double your prep. But make 2 batches. Please.
All brands of rice noodles are not created equal. Some soften faster. Some take longer. You will need to figure this out yourself. You are looking for 85 percent of the way to your final texture. It's super annoying. I know.
Vinegar soaked chilies are just literally that. 3-4 sliced Thai chilies soaked in around 1/2 cup of white vinegar. That's it. This can be really spicy depending on the chilies so be careful.
Play with this recipe. Add tofu. Or don't. Push the noodles to one side and scramble an egg in the wok before you add the sauce. Leave out the chicken. Up the shrimp. Or leave it out. Have fun with it.


Serving: 2servings | Calories: 952kcal | Carbohydrates: 130g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Cholesterol: 110mg | Sodium: 3378mg | Potassium: 611mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 46IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 118mg | Iron: 3mg