Pad Thai

Preparation info

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Appears in

Old Food

Old Food

By Jill Dupleix

Published 1998

  • About

This has to be the most morish, snacky noodle dish in the world, as your mouth goes on a roller-coaster ride from crunchy peanuts to little salty things to fresh bean shoots to soft noodles to garlicky chives and back again. It is much loved at every level of Thai society, from the streetside hawker with his bicycle and small gas burner, up.


  • 150 g (5¼ oz) thin rice stick noodles
  • 1½ tbsp tamarind pulp
  • 3 tbsp boiling water
  • 1½ tbsp palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp dried shrimp, chopped
  • 1 tbsp salted radish, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 cups bean shoots
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 20 garlic chives, cut into 5 cm (2 in) lengths
  • 2 tbsp hard beancurd, cubed
  • 4 tbsp roasted peanuts, lightly crushed
  • 2 or 3 coriander sprigs
  • 1 lime, quartered


Soak rice stick noodles in cold water for 2 hours, then drain.

Combine tamarind, boiling water and sugar in a bowl. Stir until sugar dissolves. Leave to stand for 10 minutes or so, then strain off liquid and reserve.

Heat wok, then add 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add garlic, dried shrimp, radish and chilli, and fry for 2 minutes until garlic just turns golden. Add drained noodles and toss continually for 2 or 3 minutes. Add tamarind liquid and fish sauce, then all but a handful of bean shoots. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Move the noodles to one side of the wok and pour eggs into the space created, scrambling them roughly. Cover with noodles and toss through.

Add beancurd, garlic chives and the last handful of bean shoots and cook for a minute or two. Tip out onto a warm serving platter and scatter with crushed peanuts and coriander sprigs.

Serve with limes to squeeze over the top.