Pad Thai is one of the best-loved dishes exported from the woks of Thailand and now features popularly on menus around the world. Learn how to make your very own Pad Thai in just 5 minutes flat.
Although this fried noodle dish is a relatively new addition to western palettes, it has been a staple of Thai cooking since Bangkok was ancient Siam, and in that time the Thai people have learned to master this dish in a hurry.
Why DIY Pad Thai?
Pad Thai is nutritious as well as being tasty and, even better, can be cooked on a budget.
Whether you’re doing some hostel cooking or trying to impress your friends at home, Pad Thai will hit the mark every time.
It’s easy to think from the aromatic and complex flavors that a lot of hard work goes into creating Pad Thai, but anyone who has seen this all-in-one dish served up on the streets of Thailand will know that it can be pulled together in a matter of minutes.
Lessons from Thailand
Impressed by the culinary skills displayed by the hawker stalls in Bangkok, I signed up for a Thai cooking course to learn the tricks for turning chopped vegetables into a steaming pile of Pad Thai pronto.
Pad Thai lessons from Thailand. Photo by breezyjay.
Fresh from Thailand, here’s how to serve Pad Thai from wok to plate in just FIVE MINUTES FLAT:
Ingredients for one dish
STEP 1: Heat the oil and fry the carrot, onion and tomato.
STEP 2: Add the egg to one side of the pan, chop into pieces as it cooks and then mix into the fried vegetables.
STEP 3: Add the cooked chicken or tofu and garlic. Mix together well then add the soy sauce and water.
STEP 4: Add the remaining ingredients: sugar, bean sprouts, peanuts, spring onion, lime juice and chili sauce.
STEP 5: Mix well and fry for one minute. Serve and sprinkle with crushed peanuts to garnish.
Fresh ingredients are key
There are plenty of Pad Thai recipes out there, and many of them have ingredient lists longer than your chop sticks.
The key to this recipe is focusing on the finest, freshest key ingredients and letting their natural flavors do the work.
Fresh ingredients are key. Photo by khrawlings.
Obviously you need to start with some cheats, as pristinely julienning carrots can take a whole evening, let alone five minutes.
The pre-prepared food market is ever growing and will be a firm friend in this recipe from ready-shredded vegetables to minced garlic and pre-soaked noodles.
Have all your ingredients lined up and you’ll have dinner served in no time.
Pre-soaked noodles: a chef’s cheat. Photo by little blue hen.
Measure by the handful
One of the biggest time–savers for this recipe is in the measuring, or lack thereof.
Too many Pad Thai recipes waste precious time measuring out precise quantities of the dish’s ingredients.
This super-quick recipe uses an easy measuring system—grabbing ingredients by the handful, which not only avoids fumbling around with a multitude of messy measuring tools but is also more fun.
Perfect measuring is a time–waster. Photo by jugglerpm.
Get creative with your Pad Thai
With the basic recipe mastered, feel free to play around with the ingredients to suit your own taste.
I personally like to add enough chili to make your average grown man cry, but that comes from too much time in Thailand.
Some like it hot—add as much chili as you like. Photo by delphaber.
One of the things I like about Pad Thai is it is a very forgiving recipe.
The success of the dish is not dependent on exact quantities, and unlike a soufflé, a Pad Thai won’t fail you if you don’t follow the recipe with accuracy.
Knowing that it’s very hard to produce a bad Pad Thai means that even the novice chef can relax and cook this dish with confidence.
The important thing is to experiment and enjoy.
It’s very hard to produce a bad Pad Thai . Photo by Pedro Alonso.
Have you ever made your own Pad Thai? Did you do anything creative with the recipe? Let me know in the comments below.
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Main photo: Tasty Thai staple – Pad Thai by oldpatricka.