Pad Thai Recipe (ผัดไทย) – Part Five: Making Pad Thai

pad thai recipe
In order for this final post in the Pad Thai recipe series to make sense (or become clear as to why it is sketchy or seems to leave out important details), it is assumed that all of the earlier posts have been read in their entirety. Therefore, if you have not done so, may I please invite you to visit the following posts before continuing?

Pad Thai Recipe Part One: The Pan – In this post, I discuss the importance of choosing the right type and size of Pad Thai pan to create the closest replica of what respectable Pad Thai stalls in Bangkok produce.
Pad Thai Recipe Part Two: The Noodles – In this post, I discuss the right type and size of noodles to use in this dish and how to prepare them.
Pad Thai Recipe Part Three: The Notable Ingredients – In this post, I introduce to you some of the ingredients and garnishes routinely used in street Pad Thai in Bangkok but often omitted at Thai restaurants overseas.
Pad Thai Recipe Part Four: Pad Thai Sauce and Seasonings – In this post, I share my favorite Pad Thai sauce recipe and discuss the seasoning of Pad Thai on and off the stove.

pad thai recipe

Prepare the noodles according to the instructions in How to Prepare Pad Thai Noodles.

Most of what I believe to be the key issues have already been discussed in the earlier posts, so there’s not much left to talk about. It’s all about action from this point on. This is the most crucial part where additional information is not needed nearly as much as hands-on experience.

The immediate goal of this series is to facilitate you in creating the version of Pad Thai which I like, using the ingredients and method commonly employed by street vendors in Bangkok, my hometown. But that’s just to get you started; it’s not the ultimate goal. Eventually, you will want to get to a place where you can move the noodles around in the pan with the spatulas and know just how much longer it will take for them to cook, how often to stir them, whether the heat is too low or the evaporation rate is too high, how to season it, etc.

The ultimate goal is for you to know how to make Pad Thai which is different from how to follow a Pad Thai recipe. In other words, I’ve put you through five long posts so that eventually you won’t need them anymore.

I hope this entire series has been helpful in keeping as many preventable mistakes as possible from happening. But when it comes to a dish like this where — I think — the mastery of technique is more important than the procurement of ingredients (which, of course, is not to say that ingredients aren’t important), there’s only so much written — or even visual — instructions can do for you.

pad thai recipe
However, some of these tips may help you:

  • I can’t stress this enough: prepare your ingredients beforehand and have them nearby. Timing is of utmost importance. Making Pad Thai isn’t hard; it does, however, require a fairly high level of concentration.
  • You must use oil — this much oil. A pan lightly coated with nonstick spray is cute to look at, but no good Pad Thai has ever come out of it. Using more oil than necessary is not a good idea either; it will only result in oily Pad Thai.
  • Do not use a pan smaller than 14 inches for this recipe. If you halve this recipe, you can use a 12-inch pan, but nothing smaller than that. I personally prefer making my Pad Thai in a large cast iron pan. Many have written me saying that, due to lack of storage space, they cannot and will not buy a 17-inch cast iron pan for the sole purpose of making Pad Thai. That is understandable. Therefore, I have demonstrated how to make the dish in a regular nonstick 14-inch pan.
  • You can halve the recipe, but I would not double it. I won’t even make more than this at a time in my 17-inch cast iron pan. In fact, we’re already pushing it by making this much Pad Thai in a 14-inch pan.
  • You can use a large round-bottomed wok, but, as you will see, making Pad Thai this way is easier to do in a flat pan.
  • The material of which your pan is made, the thickness of its bottom, the height of its rim, and its size all directly affect the rate at which the sauce gets absorbed into the noodles as well as how long it takes for the noodles to be ready. Add the level of heat and its source (flame versus electric coil) to the mix and we have endless possibilities of what can happen.

This recipe is made in a 14-inch nonstick pan over medium-high gas flame. Your mileage may vary.

  • As you can see from the previous point, it’s utterly impractical — and I think quite naïve — for a recipe to be telling you how long you should cook the noodles, how much moisture is needed, what to add to the pan after how many minutes have passed, etc. In an ideal world, each and every one of all the various factors at work in the development of a recipe will apply in every single replication of the same recipe, yielding the exact same result every single time. In the real world, that is hardly the case. Instinct and common sense come in handy here.
  • Make sure the noodles are adequately hydrated. As long as they pass the twirl-around-the-fingers test, they’re fine. Some have asked whether the noodles should be blanched before going into the pan, and my answer is that I find it to be an unnecessary step which carries more risk (of clumped-up or soggy noodles) than reward (shorter soaking time). But adequate soaking is all it takes to eliminate this step which no street Pad Thai vendors take, based on what I’ve seen. And I think letting the noodles sit in water undisturbed for roughly half an hour can’t be more complicated than going through the trouble of boiling up a pot of water and synchronizing the blanching and the frying, etc. In short, I see absolutely no point in blanching the noodles.
  • Evaporation is key. Use your instinct to judge whether the heat is too low or high for your situation. At no point should the noodles sit in a pool of moisture quietly; that invariably leads to soggy noodles. Ideally, we want the noodles to be softened with just the sauce and the heat, and we want the sauce to be fully absorbed into the noodles quite quickly. But if the noodles are still undercooked after the sauce has been fully absorbed, a bit of plain water should be added to the pan to help the noodles soften up. Don’t add more sauce; you will only over-season the dish.
  • I use shrimp here for that is the most common meat used in Thailand. I have never had Pad Thai with chicken, pork, beef, etc., until I came to the United States. There’s a shop in Bang Pho area close to my grandparents’ house that makes their famous Pad Thai with pork liver (which I adore), but that’s an anomaly. If you like your Pad Thai with chicken, pork, or beef, be sure to slice the meat thinly so it cooks at the same rate as whole shrimp.

pad thai recipe


5.0 from 5 reviews
Pad Thai Recipe (ผัดไทย) - Part Five: Making Pad Thai
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Entree, Main, Noodles
Serves: 2
  • ⅓ cup (83mL) plain vegetable oil
  • 4 ounces (113g) 2-3 millimeters wide dried rice noodles, following the instructions on how to prepare dried rice noodles for Pad Thai
  • ⅔ cup (~166mL) prepared Pad Thai sauce
  • 1 tablespoon (14mL) shrimp paste in oil (มันกุ้งเสวย), as mentioned in my post on Pad Thai ingredients, optional
  • 2 large cloves (8g) garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 medium shallot (18g), peeled and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup (24g) finely-chopped preserved radishes
  • ¼ cup (8g) shell-on small dried shrimp (the kind specified in my post on Pad Thai ingredients
  • ¾ cup (100g) the firmest tofu you can find
  • 220g (1/2 lb) large (31-35/lb) shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 large eggs, cracked into a bowl
  • 6-7 stalks of Chinese chives
  • 2 cups (110g) bean sprouts
  • Garnishes and extras:
  • Sugar, dried red pepper flakes, fish sauce, and fresh limes
  • Chopped dry-roasted peanuts
  • Extra bean sprouts, soaked in acidulated water (to keep them fresh and crunchy)
  • Chinese chive stalks
  • Banana blossom, trimmed according to the instructions in my post on Pad Thai ingredients
  1. Cut the chive blades into 1-inch pieces; reserve the bottom parts of the stalks to eat with the finished dish.
  2. Set over medium-high heat a flat pan (preferably well-seasoned cast iron pan or nonstick paella pan), no smaller than 14 inches wide. Add half of the vegetable oil to the pan when it’s hot.
  3. Immediately add the noodles to the hot oil, followed by the sauce (if you want to add the shrimp in oil to the dish, add it to the pan now along with the sauce); stir constantly (this is much easier done with two spatulas). Keep the noodles moving all the time.
  4. After about 30-40 seconds, with the tips of your spatulas, you should be able to feel that the noodles have softened up considerably. At this point, push them to one side and add the remaining vegetable oil to the empty side of the pan.
  5. Add the garlic, shallot, preserved radishes, dried shrimp, tofu, and shrimp.
  6. We have now reached the critical point of the process. The task before you is do whatever you can to: 1. keep the noodles moving almost constantly to keep them from burning or forming excessive crust at the bottom, 2. get the shrimp to cook about ½ way through, and 3. keep all the small bits of stuff in the pan from burning (those around the perimeter tend to burn first).
  7. Once the shrimp is turning a bit opaque on both sides and all the small bits are getting brown, make a well in the middle into which you add the eggs.
  8. Break and scramble the eggs with the tip of your spatulas; let them cook undisturbed on one side before flipping and breaking them into smaller pieces, keeping an eye on the other members of the pan the whole time, especially the noodles.
  9. By the time the eggs are cooked: 1. the shrimp should be fully, but not overly, cooked, 2. the noodles are soft and chewy, 3. the sauce has been entirely absorbed into the noodles, and the little bits have crisped up and caramelized.
  10. Turn off the heat immediately.
  11. Add two handfuls of chive-bean sprout mixture to the pan and give it all a quick but gentle stir. We want to wilt the bean sprouts and chives while getting all the little bits thoroughly interspersed into the noodles. Your Pad Thai is now done. You can serve it immediately, or you can let it cool for 8-10 minutes in the pan (which, in my opinion, is when Pad Thai is at its best).
  12. Top with 2-3 tablespoons of chopped peanuts per serving. Place a wedge of banana blossom and chive stalks on the side. Season to taste off the pan with extra fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and dried red pepper flakes as necessary.


87 Responses to Pad Thai Recipe (ผัดไทย) – Part Five: Making Pad Thai

  1. Thip November 27, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

    What a great content, Leela. You’ve done a lot of research on Pad Thai. I’m gonna share this with my friends. Thanks!

  2. Amy @ perfect meatloaf November 28, 2011 at 3:16 am #

    Pad Thai sounds delicious and this recipe seems simple enough to follow.

  3. Jason November 29, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    Beautifully shot video! Amazing job

  4. Anonymous November 29, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

    Terrific post

  5. Food Endeavours Blue Apocalypse November 30, 2011 at 2:55 am #

    Thanks for this series on pad thai. I have found it very informative and helpful. I travelled to Bangkok in September and I ate pad thai nearly everyday as it was available everywhere. I have been looking for a pad thai recipe to try cooking at home and I can’t wait to try yours. Thanks 🙂


  6. radite December 6, 2011 at 4:10 am #

    Finally! I need to find the chai po first. It should be out there somewhere. This will be a good memory from my Bangkok year awhile ago. Thanks, Leela 🙂

  7. dikvipreal December 10, 2011 at 4:52 am #

    Thank you for sharing.

  8. luvwtr December 18, 2011 at 4:41 am #

    I usually use a wok but tonight I used my 14″ monster cast iron pan that I picked up this summer at a yard sale. Wow! It turned out perfect! I am hooked on cast iron for pad thai. Thanks Lela!

  9. Admin December 18, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

    luvwtr – “It turned out perfect” from a knowledgeable cook like you means a lot. Thanks for the feedback.

  10. JBHannah December 18, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    I discovered your blog through Serious Eats. Wow. I’d never thought a Thai cooking blog in English such as yours existed. Thank you for creating it.

    Thank you particularly for these pad thai posts. This is the kind of information that I could not have obtained anywhere else. I paid for a Thai cooking class at a local community college and I didn’t even learn as much as I just did reading through your posts.

    To the morons who bitch about the depth and length of these posts, I say they can get their quick and easy “authentic” Thai recipes from or These must be the same people who don’t read books that, OMG, have so many letters and not enough pictures in them. They can go eff themselves.

  11. Jan in Ottawa December 19, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    I totally agree with JBHannah. I’ve been reading food blogs since 2003 and I have seen many become big, impersonal and all about monetizing and getting on TV. All, but a few exceptions, have stopped producing the quailty works that got them noticed in the first place. They’re now all about monetizing, gettin on TV and shilling crappy products. I can’t tell tou how to run your life let alone your blog, but as a long time fan, I sincerely hope you’ll continue to create quality contents like you have for as long as you can.

    There will always be people who want quick and easy reads. I have a feeling you’re not writing with them in mind. And you know what? Good for you!

  12. luvwtr December 19, 2011 at 9:30 pm #

    Am I the only one that sees a big nosed guy with a hat in the picture of ingredients? Lela you are so immature. 🙂

  13. Admin December 20, 2011 at 12:05 am #

    luvwtr – Biggest understatement of the year right there.

  14. lchia December 22, 2011 at 8:32 pm #

    Hi Leela,

    I finally made this last weekend! Despite your warning not to cook the recipe in anything smaller than a 14 inch frying pan, I made it in my 12 inch pan but I swear I had the intention of dividing all my ingredients in half and following your instructions. I just got really impatient after I realized I added all the little bits into one bowl and said screw it! But I will definitely follow instructions next time! 🙂 Anyway, I had an idea – do you think it would work to make this in my heavy duty roasting pan? It’s non stick and goes over two burners, so I think there should be enough surface area. The sides might be a little higher than preferred though.

    Anyway, thanks for the recipe, it was a great learning experience!

  15. Admin December 23, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    Ichia – Great idea! I think it would work. The cold spot between the stoves would be great as a holding place for the noodles while you’re cooking the shrimp, the “little” ingredients, and the eggs. That way, you won’t need to flip the noodles so much to keep them from burning at the bottom. Do try it and let us know how it goes!

  16. Iris December 24, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    Came here from Serious Eats! These series of posts, with beautiful photographs, clear and personable writing, with a heavy dose of research, footnotes, first hand expertise, and humor, sincerely tickles all the funny bones in this student.

    I don’t see myself making pad thai anytime in the near future, as I’m still a cooking novice, but I will always keep this post somewhere in my consciousness when that time comes. Thank you so much for writing this, if only there were more quality blogs like yours dedicated to the intense basics needed for superior Asian cooking! Thanks again!

  17. Unknown December 26, 2011 at 2:39 am #

    Thank you for your detailed and expert blog. We decided to make ethnic food for Christmas this year as a family activity and your recipes and explanations were indispensable. I spent hours perusing the internet for authentic recipes before I found yours…then I thoroughly did my homework with your blog. I am so glad I spent time reading through your Pad Thai series and happy to say that our meal of Pad Thai, Thai Green Papaya Salad and Thai Coconut Sticky Rice with Mango turned out just divine (the whole family working together in the kitchen!). And now, with your help we might have a new Christmas tradition.

  18. มุก December 26, 2011 at 7:02 pm #

    ขอบคุณนะคะ หลังจากอ่านอย่างละเอียด ลองทำแล้วอร่อยค่ะ ซอสอร่อยค่ะ

    ขอบคุณสำหรับบลอคดีๆ แล้วจะติดตามต่อไปนะคะ

    สวัสดีปีใหม่ล่วงหน้าค่ะ ♪(v^_^)v

  19. OysterCulture January 2, 2012 at 1:16 am #

    Wow, you have me inspired. What a brilliant series and I have to echo what’s been repeated here. You’ve given us a treasure of information and I for one am very grateful for this gift.

    Have a wonderful new year!

  20. Anonymous January 12, 2012 at 2:30 am #

    I may have missed it, but when do i add the preserved radish? In the cooking with the main ingredients or as a garnish on top?

  21. Admin January 12, 2012 at 3:06 am #

    Anon – Ah, good catch. Thank you. It’s fixed now. The preserved radish is added along with the garlic, shallots, etc. It’s shown in the video, but I left that out in the text.

  22. Suezoo January 30, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

    I’ve just spent the whole night reading your blog and saved this series for the end. What a blast!

    I’ve never eaten Pad Thai but have long been semi-curious about it. It does seem to have become “chic” and mentioned quite often in movies and TV shows.

    I live in the land-locked frozen interior of Canada, and will likely never try this unless I win the lottery and can afford to fly someone and all the required ingredients and utensils here to make it for me.


    I love your writing style, your humour and your photos. I am addicted to reading cookbooks and I guess as of tonight, blogs on cooking, so I shall return.

    I also appreciate that you read and answer questions people post to you in the comments.

    This has been an enjoyable night for me reading about ingredients that I have never heard of before. Thanks.

  23. Admin January 30, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Suezoo – So incredibly kind of you. Thank you so much.

  24. alabamagirlinct March 4, 2012 at 11:56 pm #

    Thank you so much for She Simmers, I discovered you while searching for how to process Tamarind for a Peruvian dish. But, Thai food is my fave and I cook it often. I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I went to Thailand.

    You should do a cookbook, I have several Thai books, but one is from GB, one from Australia and I guess the other is American. Yes, I still like paper cookbooks. You give such great explanations for us cooks in the US. I am lucky that I have a pretty good Thai grocery store, well pretty much all Asian things, but think I can find most of your ingredients.

    Ok, to Pad Thai. I have made many versions, but am going to try yours. I am having a dinner party for eight and want to try your recipe as a side. By the way, I would love to see a post on menus. I still think American.
    So would your recipe serve eight as a side for a part of a meal?

    I am having Spring Rolls with shrimp and Traders Joe’s Chili Lime nuts for apps. Would love to have a Thai inspired cocktail to go with that. Then I am making a Chicken Green Curry with Snake Beans, Red Curry with Beef and Pumpkin, Rice of course and then a Cucumber Salad, Larb with pork (cause I love larb) and thought I would do Pad Thai as well. I can’t be too crazy as I have a several mid western friends coming (they think I am strange as it is)
    And what would you serve for dessert? I don’t like most Thai desserts, so I have done a mango mousse and a Chai flavored warm caramel sauce that you dip Asian fruit and pound cake in. My mid west boyfriend wants to do Frozen Grasshoppers for dessert! See why we need menus. But maybe I could put a Thai slant on the Grasshopper?

    Keep up the good work. I am excited to try the banana blossoms and the shrimp with eyes. My guest will probably freak!

  25. Anonymous May 16, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    Hello Leela! I stumbled across your website. OMG! You’re oh so wonderful! I have a question. I am making pad thai for at least 150 people this coming weekend. Do you have any suggestion? I am thinking of using fresh pho noodle that the sell at our nearest asian market. It’s 10lbs fresh pho noodles. Should I go ahead and buy a 17 in skillet. I have a skillet but I think it’s the smallest size they sell at the store. Please help!!!!

  26. Admin May 16, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

    Katia – Thank you! Regarding making Pad Thai for 150, I honestly don’t know how to advise you on that, because I personally don’t consider PT a good candidate for a buffet-style banquet like this. What are your plans? Make a large batch and put it all in a chafing dish?

  27. Anonymous May 16, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    Hi Leela!! Omg! You just made my day! Thanks for replying back! I would never make pad thai for 150 people but my mother in law insists that I make it. I’m going to make several large batches of pad thai and then put it in a large aluminum tray. What do you think? I’m going to follow your recipe and use 8 oz of noodle at a time until I can fill up two trays. I’m so nervous!

  28. Admin May 17, 2012 at 2:36 am #

    Katia – It can be done. But I can assure you that the end result will definitely not be Pad Thai at its best. The question is: how picky are your guests? Also, if this is your first time making Pad Thai, and it doesn’t turn out like what you’ve had at the restaurant where they make it to order, how will that affect you emotionally. (I know if I was put in your spot, I’d be shaking in my boots.)

    Some points to consider (and if it sounds like I’m trying to talk you out of it, it’s because I am):

    1. Pad Thai is one of those things that are hardly, if ever, prepared in advance and kept through the day on a steam table at a food stall. It’s a made-to-order kind of food (for a very good reason). The only few exceptions to this in my experience have been river cruise buffets designed for tourists or a few hotels that offer cheap lunch buffets, which means that this can and has been done — just not in ways that will gain any respect from the locals.

    2. My recipe is good for 2-3 servings and should be made in a pan that’s not smaller than 12 inches. To make enough Pad Thai for 150 people, you have to make 50-75 times the recipe. Then you need to figure out how to keep the cooked noodles from clumping up as they cool. Must you lubricate them with more oil? Will that result in two large pans of noodles sitting in a pool of grease? Will you keep them warmed and covered the whole time in which case the crisp-tender beansprouts will get all soft and limp and the noodles get soggy?

    But if you’ve thought through these issues, considered all the risks involved, and still think it can be managed, then it’s possible. It’s just a matter of, as you say, making several batches and put them all in the serving trays.

  29. Anonymous May 17, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

    Leela, I truly appreciate your advices! I have made pad thai before (i have been following chez pim’s recipe) and it has always turned out great! I’ve just never made pad thai for 150 people!!! And yes, I am shaking in my boots!

    I have been to a Luau where the pad thai wasn’t great, but the noodles had a great texture! 🙂 I am not expecting restaurant pad thai but I hope it’ll come out delicious. I was planning to just add the bean sprouts afterwards, so it’ll “steam” when covered with aluminum foil.

    I am planning to use a wok instead of a cast iron. We’re going to have two stoves designated for pad thai and I’m going to ask my sister in law to help me. I am not going to cook the paid until two hours before the event (because it’ll prob take me one hour and a half to make it). I am going to practice tonight and have my family taste the pad thai. I’m going to pre-make the sauce so it’s ready for saturday. I have been using tamarind that comes pre-made in those plastic bottle but i’m going to follow your recipe.

    Would you recommend to use (fresh) pho noodles (they sell 10lbs pho noodles at the local asian market) or the dry noodles as stated on your blog?

  30. Admin May 17, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

    Katia – Yes, you can use the fresh pho noodles. You probably can get away with not soaking them, but may have to add more water to the pan while they’re cooking.

  31. Diva Stefi July 2, 2012 at 11:57 pm #

    I can’t wait to make this version! I’ve made PT before with reasonable success, but never this seriously. I have 2 questions:
    We don’t eat shellfish, so I was wondering if we could use sliced chicken, par-boiled as for your pad see ew recipe?
    My stove is a glass-top (ugh) and cast iron is out of the question. Any ideas for a substitute? (I’ve considered using a large stainless electric skillet that I have. It has oil inside that heats up the sides of the skillet as well as the bottom–gets up to 450 or so.)
    Counting the days until PT day!!

  32. Admin July 3, 2012 at 12:00 am #

    Stefi – Yes, you can use any meat in this (and leave out the dried shrimp and the shrimp paste as well) without having to parboil it first.

    Pad Thai, in my opinion, doesn’t need the kind of extreme heat which PSE does. You can get away with a glass-top stove as long as you don’t crowd the pan.

  33. Anonymous July 25, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

    Wonderful blog. We eat strictly vegetarian food, but that did not stop me from reading it. I do make Pad Thai at home w/ a tamarind based sauce, your blog has given me some new ideas to try. Thanks again for the wonderful and detailed blog.

  34. Anne July 30, 2012 at 1:44 am #

    I’m not sure I’m doing this right (for one, living in Korea, I lack garlic chives, banana blossoms, and shrimp in oil), but it still tasted great and is also a great crowd-pleaser. Minus the more perishable items such as shrimp and eggs, and substituting the fresh firm tofu for Japanese fried stuff, the ingredients are relatively lightweight, portable, and hold up well to nonrefrigeration, and hydration of the noodles doesn’t require gallons of water, so this also makes a great stovetop meal for backcountry hiking (though with admittedly less of the wok smell)l. I’ve found I often crave Thai food on the trail, so thank you for sharing this authentic recipe.

  35. Joeman August 3, 2012 at 11:49 pm #

    I am enchanted by your site and the beautiful and amazingly helpful information in your pad Thai series. Thank you, so much!

  36. Chris September 21, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    I just followed your Pad Thai recipe. I couldn’t believe how easy it is, and the result is so delicious. Thanks.

  37. Anonymous November 10, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

    thx for the recipe. I hv a cast iron pan which is very heavy and hard to clean up, so I wondering why u prefer to use a cast iron pan for making pad thai? any reason behind that?
    thx for u’r response

    • Leela November 10, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

      Please follow the link to Pad Thai Recipe Part One. I’ve stated all my reasons there.

  38. Max Alexander November 24, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    Thanks for this recipe. The 2/3 cup of sauce felt like a lot to me–and when I made the dish, it came out much darker and saucier than the version in your video. I made my own sauce exactly as you describe, starting with a block of tamarind pulp. It looks exactly the same as your sauce in the video, but as I said, the noodles really turn dark. I cook all my stir-fry dishes, including this, in a 17-inch Lodge cast iron pan. So I’m guess I’m just checking to make sure the sauce volume is correct.

    • Leela November 24, 2012 at 11:27 pm #

      Did you end up with 2 cups of sauce when you made the sauce recipe? I’m thinking the darker color could be the result of the sauce being reduced too much so it’s smaller in volume, more concentrated, and consequently darker in color. You’re supposed to heat the ingredients through over moderate heat just to melt the sugar and take it off the heat. Over reduction can also happen if you make this in a large and flat vessel since more surface area means more and fast evaporation.

      But darker color is not a problem. The only problem that comes from overly reduced sauce is over-seasoning. Was that batch over-seasoned? If not, I wouldn’t worry about the color.

      • Max Alexander November 25, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

        Thanks Leela. Yes, two cups–did not over-reduce. It tasted fine, not over-seasoned, although I made a second batch a few nights later using just 1/2 cup sauce and that was good too.

        • Leela November 25, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

          Ah. Then I wouldn’t worry about the dark color. It could be because I used light brown sugar for the batch in the video and you used dark brown sugar. Also, I used a nonstick pan in the video and you used a cast iron pan which means you get better heat retention, faster and more evaporation which means things brown up more.

  39. Sheryl January 6, 2013 at 7:11 pm #

    I have made this 4 times now and I finally have it ‘perfected’! My husband and I used to live a mile away from this little Thai restaurant in Orlando, and after we moved to North Georgia, we were constantly disappointed in the Thai restaurants around us. When I finally ventured to find an authentic pad Thai recipe, we continued to be let down, never getting even close to what our little Thai place used to do for us. When I found your blog I knew we had hit the jackpot!

    I struggled and learned some lessons from rubbery noodles in my first batch and now I have it down. Thank you so much for this great recipe! We no longer have to hit up our little Thai place for the Pad Thai (we can get our other favorites).

  40. Kit January 15, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    Can I use a 12″ stainless steel pan instead of a non-stick (my only non-sticks pans are 10″), or would the noodles stick to the steel pan like what happened previously with Chinese wheat noodles.

    • Leela January 16, 2013 at 5:33 am #

      If the pan is well-seasoned, it shouldn’t be a problem.

  41. ionic4 January 20, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

    wonderful! big hit with my family! I’ll be doing this again! I learned so much, from processing my fresh tamarinds, making the sauce, and preparing the actual Phad Thai. great way to spend a day off work. thank you!

  42. Anonymous January 24, 2013 at 9:48 am #

    Thanks for posting! This is the closest recipe I found to the pad thais we enjoyed in Thailand… The detailed instructions really helped!

  43. Graciii March 27, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

    Oh my word. I JUST and I mean JUST finished making this recipe and it is freakin to die for. Thank you so much for the step by step guide from prepping the tamarind to the final recipe. It comes together so beautifully.


  44. ray April 11, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    hi Leela, love your site and recipes, could you tell me when you add the shrimp paste ? I looked over and checked the video but it doesn’t say when the paste is added. I do notice the final picture the paste is on the side, is that suppose to be a garnish ? I am planning on making pad thai this weekend. Thanks

    • Leela April 11, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

      Ray – The shrimp paste is an optional ingredient which I didn’t include in the video, because most people can’t find it. If you choose to use it, add it to the pan along with the sauce.

  45. Spikygreengobbermonster May 30, 2013 at 4:46 am #

    Hello Leela.I was reading an article in an english newspaper this morning on how to make the perfect pad thai and yours was mentioned along with a picture.Dont know why i got so excited because its not even me.Just thought you might like to know.
    P.S The picture doesn’t look like yours but i could be wrong.

    • Leela May 30, 2013 at 10:23 am #

      Thank you, monster! 🙂

  46. Armelle June 4, 2013 at 9:01 am #

    Merci beaucoup Leela, pour cet article, cette mise en bouche, humm !!! J’en salive déjà, not easy to find some ingredients here in France, anyway I will do my best to do it : the Chinese chives and the small dried shrimps with their eyes, thank you so much. I really enjoy the Tom Kha Gai recipe too, my favorite thaï dish.
    J’aime beaucoup vos réflexions sur “au jus” et “sauté”, en français dans le texte sur l’autre blog.
    Bons baisers de Belle-ile-en-mer
    Best wishes to you

  47. Antony June 5, 2013 at 11:22 am #

    I made this last night and it was amazing! 2 tips I would advise when cooking prawns/shrimp that I’ve learned from America’s Test Kitchen. Dry brine the shrimp first in half a teaspoon of salt, a few grinds of pepper, minced garlic and a little oil then leave it for half an hour. This will prevent the shrimp form ever having a chance of over cooking. I would also suggest to prevent over crowding of the pan that you briefly cook the shrimp first to half cooked, then remove it and proceed with the noodles etc. Then add the shrimp back in towards the end after the egg is cooked. This will prevent over crowding the pan while also ensuring juicy plump shrimp every time.

  48. Pey-Lih June 15, 2013 at 10:21 pm #

    Thank you! Thank you for this recipe! I made it tonight and WOW! I made the pad thai sauce from scratch following your directions…it felt strange to squeeze the pulp from my hands but the end result was perfect.

  49. Gerard August 18, 2013 at 4:07 am #

    I tried your recipe tonight and was delighted. I do have to warn anyone attempting Pad Thai for the first time like me, that the Pad Thai Sauce smelly pretty bad when you are preparing it. To be honest I was pretty worried at that stage but am so happy that I continued on as the end result was nothing short of awesome. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

  50. Pascii August 29, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

    I just stumbled upon this site while researching mortar-and-pestles. I looked around and watched the Pad Thai video. It completely blew my mind. Like, as in changed my whole outlook on thai food. I thought I knew how to make Pad Thai. ha! I kept digging into and reading your blog. I have to say that it is the single finest food blog I have ever encountered and I have been telling everyone I encounter about it. Your prose is clearly written, fun to read and extremely informative. I am in love with the whole piece of work. As we say in French: Chapeau. (I tip my hat to you)
    This will be my reading material for the next few weeks. I spent 10 weeks working in Thailand last year and I relished all the food I tried, from pseudo-street to upscale but authentic. I look forward to cooking for my friends and family using these recipes and insight.

    Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication towards disseminating the art of Thai cooking. It is truly appreciated and recognized.

    • Leela August 29, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

      Pascii – Thank you. I am truly honored.

  51. susan March 13, 2014 at 8:14 am #

    I can’t thank you enough for the best lessons on making Pad Thai….its to die for!!!! I searched for hours and studied other but your is correct and the finest. THANK YOU! The only constructive thing I would ask for is common US measurements be included.

  52. DowntownFoodie July 16, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

    Leela, I know that you mentioned the challenges of making a larger portion of this dish at once, so my question is what would be your solution for cooking for four or for larger groups? Would you just do multiple batches? I’d love to make this for the whole family, but that would be about 8 people. At the very least, I’d like to make it for 4. I made it last night, and it was wonderful! My husband and I loved it! It was better than any pad Thai we’d ever had! I loved the taste of the radish. I could definitely perceive a difference.

    Thanks for all of the very helpful pointers! I’m a huge fan of analyzing the heck out of everything (and a linguist), so of course I am now in love with your website ;)! Thanks for the nice pronunciation pointers too!

    • Leela July 16, 2014 at 9:16 pm #

      DF – Thanks for the kind words and I’m glad you liked the recipe.
      Yes, multiple batches. It’s the only solution. Even professional pad thai cooks with years of experience and all the necessary equipment don’t make one large, multiple-serving batch at once. The most they will do is to make multiple one-serving batches at the same time in a large flat pan.

      • DowntownFoodie July 17, 2014 at 1:16 pm #

        You’re very welcome, and thanks so much for the clarification, Leela.

    • Pascii July 16, 2014 at 9:21 pm #

      I have made this dish several times for multiple guests and I do it in batches. If you do ALL the prep work ahead of time and kick everyone out of the kitchen while you go at it, you can get away with making 2 or 3 batches that are slightly bigger than this recipe and have enough for 8 people.

  53. Lana August 17, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

    Hi Leela,

    Just wanted to thank you again for sharing this amazing recipe. I have been trying for so long to make a great Pad Thai. Your instructions are so clear and detailed.
    I hope you don’t mind, but I have posted your recipe on my blog. Of course I have linked backed to your wonderful site. You can check out the post if you’d like at .

    Thanks again,



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