Pad Thai

Total Time:
12 hr 45 min
40 min
12 hr
5 min

2 servings

  • 1 -ounce tamarind paste
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 4 ounces rice stick noodles
  • 6 ounces Marinated Tofu, recipe follows
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 cup chopped scallions, divided
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 whole eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons salted cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon dried shrimp
  • 3 ounces bean sprouts, divided
  • 1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts, chopped, divided
  • Freshly ground dried red chile peppers, to taste
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Place the tamarind paste in the boiling water and set aside while preparing the other ingredients.

Combine the fish sauce, palm sugar, and rice wine vinegar in a small bowl and set aside.

Place the rice stick noodles in a mixing bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Once the other ingredients are measured out into separate bowls, drain the water from the noodles and set them aside. Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch wide strips, similar to French fries.

Press the tamarind paste through a fine mesh strainer and add to the sauce. Stir to combine.

Place a wok over high heat. Once hot, add 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil. Heat until it shimmers, then add the tofu. Cook the tofu until golden brown, moving constantly, for no longer than 1 minute. Remove the tofu from the pan to a small bowl and set aside.

If necessary, add some more peanut oil to the pan and heat until shimmering. Add 2/3 of the scallions and then the garlic, cook for 10 to 15 seconds. Add the eggs to the pan; once the eggs begin to set up, about 15 to 20 seconds, stir to scramble. Add the remaining ingredients in the following order and toss after each addition: noodles, sauce, cabbage, shrimp, and 2/3 of the bean sprouts and peanuts. Toss everything until heated through, but no longer than 1 to 2 minutes total. Transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with the remaining scallions, bean sprouts, and peanuts. Serve immediately with the ground chile peppers and lime wedges.

Marinated Tofu:

6 ounces extra-firm tofu, not silken

1 1/2 cups soy sauce

1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

Wrap the tofu firmly in a tea towel. Place the wrapped tofu into an 8-inch cake pan. Top with another cake pan and weigh down with a 5-pound weight. (Bags of dried beans or grains work well.) Place in refrigerator and press for 12 to 15 hours.

Place pressed tofu in a 2-cup container. Combine soy sauce and five-spice powder and pour over tofu. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, turning once. Remove the tofu from the marinade and use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 2 to 3 days.

Yield: 6 ounces tofu

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Pairs Well With

Peachy, honeyed white wine

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    65 Reviews
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    Totally delicious - made this with my 11-year-old. We will absolutely make this again!
    There was a time when Southern folks were proud to cook Southern Food, now it seems they all want to cook something that no real Southerner would put in their mouth.
    Back to grits and pork rinds for you Shirl...
    How closed-minded of you.  
    That looks like a dry, flavorless pad thai!
    Write a review after you make it, cowboy, not just on what it looks like.
    Horrible. I made this for 4 ppl so I doubled the recipe but turned out that the portions "for 2" were actually for "2 fat cows" and I wound up unable to fit all the noodles into the wok. ALso, they were really soggy even though I followed the exact proportions for the liquids and tamarind sauce. Also, the dry shrimp were absolutely DISGUSTING. I have never tasted anything nastier in my life. This was a disaster. Poor taste, poor consistency, kinda gross with the shrimp. The sauce actually came out good, but overall the dish was probably my worst attempt at cooking anything ever, none of it being my fault. Someone needs to look this recipe over.
    One of your "faults" is is that you doubled the recipe and then whined about it not fitting in your wok. That's on you. Turned out great when I made it.
    Ha ha ha.
    This was a good first attempt, but I think I'll have to try again. I couldn't find tamarind paste -- just a brick of tamarind (I don't know what tamarind is supposed to look like. This is about the consistency of play-dough. And I don't have a sieve, so I just mixed the actual stuff right in to my sauce in the food processor. I also don't eat fish, so I skipped the fish sauce and added a little soy sauce to cut down on the sweetness. My husband had seconds, though, which is a good sign. I'll keep trying different variations. Definitely an awesome place to start.
    My husband and I thought this was a tasty dish, although I made it with a few modifications. I was only able to dry the tofu for 6 hours, but it was still great. I didn't use the spices in the marinade and I added some of the soy sauce from the tofu marinade to the dish...bad idea. Way to salty, but still edible. I omitted bean sprouts and shrimp, added shiitake mushrooms and broccoli (cooked separately with a little of the sauce, then added it in at the end. Over all a dish I would make again, and work on some variations. Maybe next time I'll use thicker noodles, and a little less vinegar. Watching the video helped.
    The best thing about this recipe is that it *teaches* you how to make Pad Thai. There are a few too many steps for me, but once I learned the point of those steps, I knew where I could cut corners and still have the results that I wanted. When I am willing to follow the recipe exactly, the results are OUTSTANDING
    My boyfriend and I had Pad Thai on our first date so I made this for him for our anniversary. It tasted almost just like the dish we had in our local restaurant. I knew Alton would have the perfect recipe.
    Make sure to watch the video before you make this, as the recipe is different from the show: 1. You should only use 1 1/2 cups of soy sauce if you are marinating a full pound of tofu. 2. the dried shrimp should be finely chopped. I looked everywhere for salted cabbage, but an internet search only found the one obscure brand that AB happened to have on the show. I would also reduce the amount of water in the sauce, as I had to let my dish sit for a few minutes in the wok so the extra liquid could evaporate. Tasty though, especially with plenty of chiles!
    It was good for an example of an American version of Pad Thai. I mentioned it to the Thai people at a Thai market and they said it wasn't pad Thai. The instructions could have been more clear but I figured it out.
    Royboy did you soak the noodles? Check the package of the noodles that you use. Most need to be soaked about 15 minutes. Hope this was helpful. : )
    It seems whenever I make Pad Thai the noodles never seem to come out cooked enough, like way before al dente. Am I the only one, as it seems no one else mentioned it. Any suggestions?
    Tasty, yes, but weakly flavored for someone used to full flavor Thai food. dave70005_13100683 comments that anyone not liking this can't cook. Fool. In Thailand alone, there are thousands of versions of Pad Thai. It is perfectly OK to like some more than others. For those who frequent authentic Thai restaurants where food is cooked as it is in Thailand, I believe you would have to say this version is delicately flavored, not a characteristic of robust, full-flavored Thai cooking. Most Americans don't enjoy the heat of Thai cooking so Alton, maybe to suit his palate, or to suit that of his viewers, kept the recipe on the mild side. No problem, but also, dave70005_13100683, not a cause for histrionics.  
    Pad Thai is one of my favorite dishes and I order it frequently when dining at Thai restaurants. I was excited to discover this recipe and inspired to try my hand at it. I made according to Alton's recipe (except I used narrow flat rice noodles and comparably, found this version to be slightly weaker in flavor than what I'm used to. But I will definitely try making again however next time will double the sauce and perhaps marinate the tofu longer. Also, I will cook the egg directly following the tofu but set aside, adding the sauce to the green onions and garlic and will let reduce a bit and then follow with the noodles & other ingredients.  
    Nothing like a little humor with cooking, Anyone that didnt like this recipe didnt or couldnt follow the directions. In either case they cant cook. Always remarkably delicious.
    It's a really flavorful recipe that is easy to make once you've purchased all the ingredients from an Asian food store.
     If you're not a fan of tofu's texture, saute some chicken and shrimp and add that instead.
     This stuff tastes authentic - for what it's worth, I'm Thai and grew up eating Pad Thai at home, in restaurants, and at friends' houses.
    Best pad thai ever! pact with flavor.
     I say you gotta make it. .
    Pad Thai is yum. Thanks for that recipe. This dish?s like Pho in Vietnam. And it?s delicious too. Try it and I bet you will love it. found a new way to cook a delicious meal in 20 mins on internet. Stir Fried Noodle. Low calories, sodium, and carbohydrate. And it?s Vegan too. Here?s the link for the recipe: And especially, all the ingredients are in the store next door. Or you can get them online. Here?s the link to find the first Vietnamese Brown Rice Noodle. Find them in other Northern California stores and online at ? Taste like being in Vietnam <3 <3 Love it!
    After having too many Pad Thai dishes that made me feel like I was eating a bowl of dessert for dinner, I decided to try this one. We even looked up a local Asian market and were able to find all the ingredients between there and the regular grocery store (although the Asian market was much cheaper). This turned out very flavorful the perfect amount of sweetness.
     Make sure you are extra careful when stir frying on the stove - I've lit my peanut oil on fire on high heat before and have scars to match.
    I'm Thai and I do agree with Alton when he says that every Thai cook has their own way of making pad thai. Some things however should be changed.
      The whole five spice thing was weird. Personally I substitute the tofu with beef or chicken. The noodles were really small and can make a difference with the dish. You're aiming to buy pho noodles. If you can't find palm sugar, brown sugar will also do.
     The tamarind is essential but too much of it will leave the pad thai too sour. My mother and I use oyster sauce to give it that nice brown color and that good taste. I know doesn't sound authentic but once again, every cook is different and personally, oyster sauce ties all the flavors together.
     One more tip: when add the noodles, you gotta be really quick. It can get really mushy within minutes. Have everything out and taste test with haste.
     Good luck!
    This is the first recipe I tried from Alton Brown and was absolutely disappointed. The pad thai had no resemblance of the flavors from true Thai restaurants. It was like an Americanized bland version of what pad thai should be.
    Easily the best pad thai I've had. And so incredibly easy! I found it helpful to also follow this site (see below) I found that covers Alton's shows. The show provided a ton of useful tips?as always. I'm not sure about the other's cookers' reviews about it being time consuming. True you need to prep the tofu. But that takes minutes. And the only chopping that was needed was the shrimp and scallions. You can scramble the egg right in the wok. So so so worth 10Xs the effort actually required to make this dish.
    While not exactly like the pad thai my wife and I enjoy at our favorite Thai restaurants, this was a very good and completely acceptable substitute for when we feel like staying in.
     The ingredients, while not found in the ethnic aisle of your local grocery store, were quite easy to find in our local Asian market, and, surprisingly, not very expensive. The noodles, dried shrimp, tamarind, palm sugar, chiles and cabbage all cost us about $7.50! And now that we have some of those ingredients, it will make it easier to prepare this recipe again (which we will!).
     My only problem is that cooking this pad thai is just as time consuming as going out! The actual cooking time is very quick, but the ingredient preparation is not. Was it worth it? I think so and my wife thinks so (especially since I did all the prep!), but make sure you're okay with extended prep time.
    I love Pad Thai... and I have been searching for the recipe that is close to the original Pad Thai taste I tried in Thailand. This is by far the closest one. I love it!
    I made this for a dinner party last night. I made it in 2 person batches at a time.
     Everyone LOVED this! I was even told that it was better than her favorite Thai restaurant. I was skeptical about what success I would have when I ventured to try this.
     I didnt find the tamarind paste, but I did find concentrate. It seemed that the concentrate was what Alton was looking for anyway, as I didnt have to place it in boiling water or press it through a strainer. I just used the concentrate straight because the packaging said it was ready for use.
     The salted cabbage was hard to find, but I eventually did. It was canned.
     All the ingredients were found in my local asian food mart. Another bonus to this recipe, is that it is easy to make gluten free. Simply use gluten free soy sauce when preparing the tofu. Since one of the people in our group has a gluten allergy, this rocked!
    Never will again either. This was (for me) a pain in the hind quarters to make, and though I love Thai food, I thought this was rather.... disgusting. The anise in the 5 spice really overwhelmed the flavor, and I can't stand licorice so it's kind of a no brainer to see why I don't care for this. I love Alton Brown's cooking, but this was a no go.
     It takes some really bad tastes to make me dump food into the garbage disposal. It happened tonight.
    I am a self-proclaimed expert in eating Pad Thai, and now I can make it at home. It was phenomenal and I didn't even use all the ingredients! I substituted Palm sugar for regular, and I didn't use dried shrimp. Next time, I'll trek to the Asian market and get these things just for fun. Because I didn't have palm sugar, it was a little on the watery side, so I added a dash of corn-starch to thicken it. YUMMY dish! Thanks Alton & Food Network for your great recipes!!!
    (I have a crush on Alton Brown.)
     I didn't put in the shrimp (I'm allergic) or cabbage (didnt have); and I subbed brown sugar for palm sugar (what IS palm sugar? where do you get it?) and that hot chili sauce ("cock sauce") for the ground chili peppers. I also used Tamarind concentrate instead of paste and skipped that straining step.
     Yet despite the substitutes, it came out awesomely and tasted like the local Pad Thai at my favorite restaurant. I will be using this recipe again and again.
     Love the tofu--it's so worth the steps to have it. Yum.
    In response to Andrew, I made this recipe without fish sauce or tamarind and it still turned out wonderfully.
     In place of fish sauce: Rinse and pat dry 8 anchovy fillets then puree them with a bit of peanut oil (I use a mini chopper, but a mortar would work, too)
     In place of tamarind: 2 tbsp. brown sugar and 2 tbsp. lime juice
     Hope this helps!
    Great recipe for a light Pad Thai, very light not heavy and syrupy like cheap pad thai, love it
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