Pad Thai recipe: Here's how to master Thailand's favourite dish

Stevie Parle
Stevie Parle's quick and easy pad Thai - Andrew Crowley

The key to this is to have the ingredients prepared and ready to go so you can work quickly.

SERVES 4

  • 50ml/2fl oz tamarind water
  • 40ml/1½fl oz fish sauce
  • 30g/1oz palm sugar or 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 200g/7oz wide flat rice noodles
  • Vegetable oil
  • 16 large prawns, peeled or unpeeled
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded, finely sliced
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g/4oz bean sprouts
  • 4 stalks Chinese chives, chopped
  • 2 handfuls of peanuts, roasted and chopped
  • Lime wedges, to serve

METHOD

  1. Combine the tamarind, fish sauce and sugar and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Put to one side for a moment.
  2. Bring a pan of water to the boil, pour over the noodles and leave for 15 minutes until tender. Rinse under cold water until the water runs clear.
  3. Place a wok or large frying pan over a high heat and add a small splash of oil.
  4. Stir-fry the prawns for a couple of minutes until they begin to colour and are cooked through but still juicy. Remove from the pan for a moment.
  5. Add another splash of oil to the pan and add the spring onions, garlic and chilli and stir-fry for few moments until the onions wilt, then stir in the noodles and the tamarind sauce.
  6. Return the prawns to the pan, then push everything to the side and crack in the eggs. Break the yolks and scramble them as they start turning opaque.
  7. Stir the egg through the noodles and add the bean sprouts, chives and peanuts. Stir-fry until well combined, then serve with lime wedges. 

More Thai recipes 

Diana Henry's Thai stir-fried minced beef with basil and chilli

Diana Henry's spicy beef stir fry

This is hot, hot, hot but you can leave out some of the chillis if you want to. Waitrose now do Thai basil, though the recipe should really be made with holy basil (and you can only get that in specialist Asian shops). This is served with a deep-fried egg on top and it’s a lovely addition – it mollifies the heat for a start, and deep-frying the egg makes it puff up into a gorgeous crispy edged cloud – but you can just do regular fried eggs instead.

SERVES

2

INGREDIENTS

For the sauce

  • 35ml fish sauce
  • 2 bird’s-eye chillies, finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, very finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp coriander, finely chopped

For the beef

  • 6 red or green bird’s eye chillies (fewer if you want it less hot)
  • 4 small garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil, plus more for deep-frying the eggs
  • 200g good-quality, coarsely minced beef
  • good pinch of caster sugar
  • about 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • big handful of Thai basil  (or holy basil from specialist Asian shops)
  • 2 large eggs

METHOD 

  1. For the serving sauce, mix together the fish sauce, chillies and garlic and set aside for the flavours to meld. 
  2. Meanwhile, for the beef, coarsely chop the chillies with the garlic and a pinch of salt.
  3. Heat about 10cm of oil in a saucepan (for the deep-fried eggs) while you cook the beef. (Though if you prefer, you can shallow-fry the eggs in  a regular frying pan.)
  4. Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a wok then fry the garlic and chilli mixture, but don’t let it colour. Add the beef and stir-fry for a minute, until only just cooked. 
  5. Season to taste with the sugar and fish sauce but be careful not to make it too salty. Add 50ml water and gently simmer for a minute, but don’t let it boil or the meat will become tough. There should be enough liquid to make a bit of a sauce.
  6. Stir in the basil and remove from the heat.
  7. Fry your eggs. To deep-fry, have the oil really hot and crack in an egg so it’s submerged. Fry until the white is crispy and the yolk still runny (it should take less than a minute). Drain well. 
  8. Add the lime and coriander  to the sauce and serve alongside the beef with boiled rice and a fried egg on top of each dish.

Jenny Linford's Thai-style minced chicken

thai style minced chicken

SERVES

4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely sliced
  • 100g green beans, topped, tailed and cut into 1cm pieces
  • 4 button mushrooms, chopped
  • 400g minced chicken
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp chicken stock
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Thai basil or basil leaves, to garnish

METHOD

  1. Heat a wok until hot. Add the oil and heat through. Add the garlic and shallot and fry, stirring, until garlic turns pale gold. Add the green beans and fry, stirring, for one minute. Add the mushrooms and fry, stirring, for one minute.
  2. Add the minced chicken and fry, stirring with a spatula to break up any lumps, until lightened on all sides. Add the chilli, if using, and mix in well. Add the sugar, fish sauce and soy sauce and mix in. Add the stock and stir-fry for five minutes until the stock has cooked off and the ingredients are well mixed.
  3. Season generously with black pepper, garnish with basil leaves and serve at once.