homemade pad thai

by jenna on October 13, 2011

Yesterday I did something I’ve been wanting to do for….five years?

No, I did not get a puppy! Although for the life of me I can’t stop staring at this one. Pinterest is slowly sucking all the life out of me and I.just.can’t.stop.

What was I talking about again? Oh yeah…I made my own pad thai!

And guess what? It really wasn’t as scary as I made it out to be! You see, pad thai is one of my very favorite dishes in the whole entire world but just the thought of actually making it homemade put me in a cold sweat.

You see, anytime I can avoid touching fish sauce I celebrate a little inside. You know what I’m talking about, I know you do. If you don’t, take a sniff. But please then come back and make this recipe! It’s one of those rare circumstances that touching fish sauce is totally worth it. Promise.

I had a favorite restaurant growing up. My friends and I would all go before football games and to celebrate each others fifteenth birthdays with greasy Thai noodles and green tea ice cream.

It was there that my obsession with pad thai began.

I think it was the crushed peanuts…or maybe my own personal extra addition of sriracha sauce. Whatever it was, I just couldn’t get enough of the stuff. Never did it really register that I could probably make my own at home and save ten dollars.

My version is a tweak on a version found in the old yellow Gourmet cookbook. You’ll probably doubt yourself while cooking, you know from the fish sauce and all, but it definitely comes together at the end.

Now if I could just get that puppy…

Homemade Pad Thai

serves 4-6

adapted from Gourmet

Print this recipe!


2 eggs, lightly beaten

3 green onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large shallot, minced

6 oz raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

8 oz extra firm tofu, diced

1.5 tbsp vegetable oil

2 cups bean sprouts

2 tbsp tamarind (from a soft block. You can find this at an Asian grocery store)

1 cup boiling water

1 tbsp sweet chili sauce

2.5 tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

3 tbsp fish sauce (hold your nose!)

8 oz pad thai rice noodles

3 tbsp roughly chopped roasted peanuts

big squeeze sriracha sauce (or 1/4-1/2 tsp red chili flakes)

limes for serving


In a glass measuring cup, combine the boiling water and tamarind. Mash with the back of a spoon for a few minutes so the tamarind softens. Pour over a fine mesh strainer or sifter into a small bowl and discard the remaining tamarind chunks. To the tamarind flavored water now add the fish sauce, sugar, salt and sweet chili sauce. Stir well to dissolve the sugar and then set aside.

Cook the rice noodles in a big pot of boiling water for five minutes until cooked through. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Rub a large wok or cast iron skillet with vegetable oil and scramble the eggs over medium heat. Remove scrambled eggs to a bowl and then add the remaining vegetable oil and crank the heat to medium high. Add the shallot and saute for four minutes, followed by the garlic. Add the shrimp and cook for 30 seconds until the tails curl in, followed by the tofu. After cooking, place tofu and shrimp in the bowl with the egg.

Pour the tamarind sauce into the skillet and bring to a boil. Add cooked rice noodles, bean sprouts and green onions followed by the shrimp and tofu. Toss everything together well and finish with a big squeeze of sriracha, more green onions, crushed peanuts and a squeeze of lime.


30 minutes

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{ 76 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauren @ What Lauren Likes October 13, 2011 at 4:25 am

HOw cool! I’ve always wanted to try to make my own pad thai! Yours looks fab 🙂


Doris @ vanillacocoberry October 13, 2011 at 4:26 am

i love pad thai!!! looks yummy..and I gotta go to the Asian grocery store to get some tamarind! when I was in thailand I was literally obsessed with the snapper in tamarind sauce… soo Good!!


kaitlin @4loveofcarrots October 13, 2011 at 4:27 am

I am afraid to make pad Thai! I one time made a boxes kind, horrible idea it tasted awful. But this recipe sounds great I think I am going to have to give it a shot!


Molly @ RDexposed October 13, 2011 at 4:43 am

I was once asked to smell the fish sauce to assess if it was too old and should be thrown away. I refused and offerred to go buy a new jar instead.


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat October 13, 2011 at 5:03 am

You’ve covered 3 of my favourite things in 1 post – Pinterest, puppies, and pad Thai. This recipe sounds fabulous! And I agree on that fish sauce… it’s amazing how something with such a filthy smell can make food taste so good!


Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat) October 13, 2011 at 5:06 am

Yum… this looks delicious (and beautiful). When I was in Thailand, I ate pad thai almost every single morning… for breakfast. It was cheap, fast and oh-so delicious!


katie @KatieDid October 13, 2011 at 5:07 am

The first few times I tried pad thai I thought it tasted like dog food lol. Now I know maybe it was that fish sauce talking to me. Nowadays its not something I’d order but I’m definitely the one next to my friends sneaking bites when they aren’t looking 😉


Lisa D October 13, 2011 at 5:09 am

That looks awesome. Cannot wait to try it. I’ve been making coconut curry at home for a while to save money bc i LOVE Thai food but I miss the variety of the menu. I need to add this to my repertoire. Thanks for sharing.


stacey October 13, 2011 at 5:19 am

i love pad thai! i can’t wait to try this 🙂


Hilliary@HappilyEverHealthy October 13, 2011 at 5:26 am

I have always wanted to make my own pad thai! Now I have the perfect recipe! Thanks for sharing!


lindsay October 13, 2011 at 5:34 am

next time you are in charleston you must try basil’s pad thai…if you haven’t already. it is glorious.


jenna October 13, 2011 at 6:37 am

i adore Basil!


Emmy (Wine and Butter) October 13, 2011 at 5:47 am

I looooooooooooooooooove P ad thai and have always previously used chez pims directions but Im always up for giving your recipes a try! ALSO puppies – i fulfiled my lifelong ambition to get one a few months ago and I am totally obsessed. EXCEPT he was super irresistibly unbelievavle well behaved for months 3 – 6. Just this months hes had a bit of a personality transplant and is reminding me of a gross teenage boy (my husband is still getting on with him FINE)…. but Im trusting it will all even out again soon! (snip snip) SInce you work from home… DO IT!!!! xox


jenna October 13, 2011 at 5:50 am

yummmm!! this sounds amazing! i always get cravings for this but we have no good places to get it at in my town. Problem solved 🙂


Casey @ Pocket Full of Sunshine October 13, 2011 at 5:51 am

As usual, gorgeous pics. And that looks so good!! I had my first Pad Thai in a hole-in-the-wall in Chicago several years back…still the best i’ve ever had. It was one of those things you inhale b/c it was so insanely yummy!!


Jane October 13, 2011 at 5:53 am

You can learn a lot about a person from their pins. Is there an announcement coming soon? 🙂


jenna October 13, 2011 at 6:37 am

the announcement that I’m just like every other girl, obsessed with puppies, shoes and wedding cakes?


Jane October 13, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Sorry. I was just love your blog and was thinking how pretty you will be as a bride. Again, I apologize.


jenna October 13, 2011 at 1:37 pm

no problem! I chuckled when I saw that 😉


Heather (Heather's Dish) October 13, 2011 at 5:59 am

i actually ADORE pad thai, and have never even thought to make it at home. since your asian recipes never fail i’m definitely getting ingredients for this today!


Kristen @ Popcorn on the Stove October 13, 2011 at 6:00 am

I’ve actually never had pad thai but this looks yummy!! I may have to try it.


Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef October 13, 2011 at 6:04 am

once again, you make it look easy and do-able. thanks! 🙂


Emily @ Comfortable Home Life October 13, 2011 at 6:05 am

I made Pad Thai in college once. The recipe I used called for dried shrimp (!!) and I went asian grocery store diving to find it. It didn’t even turn out that great. 🙁 I might have to try yours — sans fish sauce, extra tofu. I’m vegetarian!!


Rachael @ FreshlyMinted October 13, 2011 at 6:14 am

I made my first attempt at homemade Pad Thai for my husband’s birthday this year.

Bad. Idea.

This recipe looks so much easier – I’ll have to try a round two (if the hubby isn’t still scarred from the last experience 🙂


Ashley October 13, 2011 at 6:15 am

I’m a big fan of pad thai! This recipe looks great!


Emily @ The Finicky Farmer October 13, 2011 at 6:18 am

Wowzers! I cannot *wait* to try this one in my own kitchen.


Jennifer October 13, 2011 at 6:23 am

why is pinterest so.addicting.


kathleen @ the daily crumb October 13, 2011 at 6:29 am

i just love your blog, jenna, because you make fancy-schmancy restaurant-style recipes that are oh-so delicious look simple! now, i’m sure my pad thai will not come out as gorgeous as yours, BUT at least i can give it a try 🙂


Urban Wife October 13, 2011 at 6:33 am

It’s not as difficult as I thought it would be! I love, love pad thai.


Liz @ Southern Charm October 13, 2011 at 6:37 am

I love pad thai … and I think we are going there today for work. Hmm, I could definitely save a lot making my own and that recipe isn’t too intimidating!


Sabrina @ Radioactive Runner October 13, 2011 at 6:45 am

I LOVE pad thai but have to admit have always been to scared/intimated to make it at home. Glad to know it’s not as scary as it seems.
This looks SO good!


Bethany @ One Girl's Taste On Life October 13, 2011 at 6:48 am

So excited to try this! Alton Brown has a recipe on Food Network (and an episode of Good Eats about this), but I feel like his is too complicated. Your recipe seems much easier. Thanks, Jenna!


Christie Inge October 13, 2011 at 6:49 am

I have been wanting to make my own pad thai for ages – both my husband and I love it. Thank you for this recipe!!


Faith @ For the Health of It October 13, 2011 at 6:49 am

Ooh, Jenna, I’m drooling! Do you happen to know of any vegetarian substitutes for fish sauce though?


jamie @ jamelafamela October 13, 2011 at 7:04 am

yes fish sauce smells terrible. this looks really good tho I will have to try it— as soon as i gain courage to purchase that which must not be smelled.


amy walters, aDESIGNdock October 13, 2011 at 7:05 am

Love pad tai. I’m drooling already!


Khushboo October 13, 2011 at 7:07 am

If you ever go to London, you have to go to Busaba off Oxford Street…best.pad.thai.EVER!


d.liff @ yelleBELLYboo October 13, 2011 at 7:20 am

Very similar to my recipe, although I used chicken!! (http://yellebellyboo.blogspot.com/2011/04/chicken-pad-thai.html) It’s never the same when people don’t use tamarind!


Kristina October 13, 2011 at 7:31 am

I learned to make Pad Thai at a cooking class in Thailand, and was surprised that they actually used soy sauce instead of fish sauce – so I think it is an optional thing, varying by cook. Just FYI – if you really hate it, you can leave it out 🙂


Jamie October 13, 2011 at 7:37 am

Hi Jenna, this looks good. How much hot water do you use with the tamarind?


Emily October 13, 2011 at 7:44 am

Thanks for the pad thai recipe! My husband LOVES pad thai, but like so many others I’m just too intimidated to try to make it myself. Looks like I know what I’ll be making this weekend when he gets back from his business trip …

And that puppy is SOOOO CUTE!!! I LOVE puppies (and dogs)! I hope you get one, they’re awesome and make life so much more fun!


Kim {Recipes To Run On} October 13, 2011 at 8:09 am

Pad Thai is a FAVE for my husband and I…. and I’ve never made it at home. Bookmarking this to try stat! 🙂


Joelle (On A Pink Typewriter) October 13, 2011 at 8:15 am

I’ve actually made pad thai before as well.. my old coworker is half Thai and she taught me her mom’s homemade recipe. SO good, and way better than restaurant even!


Alex@Spoonful of Sugar Free October 13, 2011 at 8:18 am

Sadly, I must say that I have never had Pad Thai. Ever. *Hide in Shame*

Your pictures are making me drool, though. Must make now.


Danielle October 13, 2011 at 8:18 am

Hi, Jenna,
This looks great!
Can you tell us how much boiling water do you use, to mix with Tamarind? Thanks!


Linda W. October 13, 2011 at 8:34 am

At the top of the list for my weekend cooking – vegan pumpkin cinnamon rolls and homemade pad thai! My stomach is growling….


Erica @ In and Around Town October 13, 2011 at 8:36 am

So impressed – I always resort to ordering take out when I crave pad thai, but maybe I will try this at home, looks delicious!


deva @ deva by definition October 13, 2011 at 8:39 am

How would Dexter feel about a puppy? I have two amusing images in my head. One of Dexter taking the puppy under his wing, and the other of him chasing the puppy all over 🙂


Katie October 13, 2011 at 9:01 am

I love Pad Thai! I’ve always been intimidated by the long list of unfamiliar Asian ingredients, but this one doesn’t look too scary! Ps, it’s pet adoption month, it’s a great time to adopt a new best friend 😉 Did I mention the humane society adoption fee is only $25 during October?


Julie October 13, 2011 at 9:13 am

How much boiling water does the recipe call for?


jenna October 13, 2011 at 9:21 am

so sorry! 1 cup.


Hakan December 9, 2012 at 7:08 pm

How many farang patnres are we talking about here?Thou i strongly agree that all kids should have access to a full education,i am not sure that if funds are to spent on the island that this should be the way.IF and i do mean if there are only a few kids in question,surely it would be better to educate them from home,online.I am sure there was somthing in australia years ago and maybe even today..called the school of the air,hosted over cb radios for kids in the outback.Not suggesting setting up this,but surley there must be some sort of equivelant online theese days?


Krystina (Organically Me) October 13, 2011 at 9:18 am

Oh how I love pad Thai! This looks so amazing – good job! 🙂


Cait's Plate October 13, 2011 at 10:06 am

I don’t even like Pad Thai but I would happily gobble this up!


Dee October 13, 2011 at 10:16 am

Wow! Yay! I must try this. I’ve been obsessed with pad thai this year and it really does cost a pretty penny.

ps. I love fish sauce! Even though it smells like sweaty socks, it really does add that special something to a dish. Lol.


Gina @ Running to the Kitchen October 13, 2011 at 10:25 am

Love this! I took a Thai Cooking class earlier this year for the sole purpose of learning to cook pad thai. We ended up making 8 different Thai dishes and the one that came out the worst? Pad Thai. It was so gross I won’t even use that recipe again. Definitely going to try this one out! And, it has less obscure ingredients than the one from the class I took, bonus!


Andrea @ The Skinny Chronicles October 13, 2011 at 10:30 am

Three cheers for your pad Thai and the puppy!!!! Uber-yum and uber-cute. A brilliant meal inspiration! Hip hip hooray!


Kiran @ KiranTarun.com October 13, 2011 at 11:06 am

Gimme some Pad Thai and I would be your BFF 😀 Love how drool-worthy is those photos!


Daisy October 13, 2011 at 11:14 am

i loveeee your pics lately!


Doris @ vanillacocoberry October 13, 2011 at 11:17 am

I bet if you used cashews it would even taste more delicousssssss …hmmmmmm cashews ♥


J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) October 13, 2011 at 11:36 am

OMG, I love Pad thai with shrimp!!! That sounds sooo good. Must have soon. Yum! 🙂


Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga October 13, 2011 at 12:29 pm

It looks crazy good. And I still want that blue tattered wood board underneath the food. Every time I see it, I covet thee 🙂


Anna October 13, 2011 at 2:25 pm

I am allergic to peanuts (I know, I know, poor me!) but do you think pad thai is still enjoyable sans peanuts? My family insists absolutely not, but I’ve always wanted to try!


Lindsay October 13, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Less than a week ago I turned to your blog looking for a Pad Thai recipe… Haha!


Anne October 13, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Ummmmm I love you so much for this!!! I can’t get enough pad Thai…it’s like a constant craving and I’ve been looking for a good recipe! You’re the greatest 🙂 let’s be friends.


May @ Slow Food Kitchen October 14, 2011 at 4:05 am

I love this dish and it’s actually quite quick and easy to make. Why don’t I do this more often? I have had a carb free version where the noodles were substituted for more bean sprouts and other vegetables. Worked really well too.


Michelle @ Chellbellz October 14, 2011 at 7:11 am

At one point last year a friend and I where going to a ton of Thai places in the DC area and trying the Pad Thai to see who made it the best! By far my favorite was this Hole in the Wall place on Capital Hill! I really wanted to try and make it on my own for once! So i may try this!


Julie October 14, 2011 at 8:00 am

I’ve been meaning to try (read: too intimidated by all the weird ingredients and steps) alton brown’s pad thai recipe. This looks much less daunting and oh so delicious! Mmmmm…..


Ranjani October 14, 2011 at 9:34 am

This looks awesome! I have that cookbook but didn’t realize this recipe was in there. Must try soon


Lindsey October 15, 2011 at 12:02 pm

I’m definitely bookmarking this one– looks great!

ps, that puppy is adorable, and from experience of having a golden retriever, they seriously are the best dogs– I can’t imagine having any other! (mine’s a little dumb, but the cutest and nicest one you can find:)


Steph October 16, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Looks so good! I have a question though – My husband hates fish and I was wondering if you can taste the fish sauce when it is in?


jenna October 17, 2011 at 7:00 pm

nope–not at all!


Esther Sam October 20, 2011 at 11:55 am

Just made this last night and it was delicious! Thank you for sharing!!!


Jen November 8, 2011 at 11:16 am

Small confession….I made pad thai for the first time a few weeks ago and I couldn’t bring myself to put in the fish sauce. I have it at the house, but the recipe only called for a small amount so I psyched myself out and didn’t add it. I know. I know. Such a wuss.


cristinahaines January 7, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Pad Thai is a skill in itself, and it doesn’t help that most of us Americans aren’t familiar with Asian cooking techniques. Asians seem to think making Pad Thai is easy, but I beg to differ! I’ve been trying to perfect a Pad Thai recipe for about 6 months, and I’ve had more than my fair share of flops. This site helped me a lot; if you’re thinking about making Pad Thai, I’d encourage you to read through it: http://chezpim.com/cook/pad_thai_for_beginners


m June 7, 2014 at 12:24 pm

I actually combined your interests and added “Puppy” to the Pad Thai instead of shrimp. The meat is soooooo tender.

Thanks for a great idea


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