• STEP 1

    Tip the noodles into a large bowl and pour over a kettle of boiling water until they are covered. Leave to stand for 5-10 mins until the noodles are soft, then drain well. (You can do this part ahead of time – then just run the noodles under cold water until cool, and toss through a little oil to stop them from sticking.) Next, mix together the tamarind paste, fish sauce and sugar in a small bowl.

  • STEP 2

    Peel and finely chop the garlic. Trim the ends off the spring onions and cut into thin slices about 1cm long. Heat a wok or large frying pan over a high heat. When it’s really hot (a drop of water should sizzle straight away), pour in the oil and swirl around. Tip in garlic and spring onions. To stir-fry, take a spatula or tongs and toss the veg around the wok so they’re moving all the time. Cook for 30 secs, just until they begin to soften.

  • STEP 3

    Push the vegetables to the sides of the wok, then crack the egg into the centre. Keep stirring the egg for 30 secs until it begins to set and resembles a broken-up omelette.

  • STEP 4

    Add the prawns and beansprouts, followed by the noodles, then pour over the fish sauce mixture. Toss everything together and heat through. Spoon out onto plates. Serve with some chopped peanuts sprinkled over and wedges of lime.

What is pad Thai?

Pad Thai (or pat Thai, phat Thai) is a rice noodle dish eaten all over Thailand, as street food and in restaurants. Its full name is 'kway teow pad thai', meaning Thai-style stir-fried rice noodles. The Thai government have used this dish on more than one occasion as a unifying recipe: first in 1940s and again in 2002, when a programme to increase tourism and promote the country's food brought pad Thai to the forefront of the cuisine served in Thai restaurants outside Thailand.

The basic pad Thai ingredients are:

  • Flat sen lek rice noodles (about 3-5 mm wide), eggs and tofu, mixed in a pad Thai sauce that usually has a base of tamarind paste, fish sauce and palm sugar
  • Classic additions include shrimp paste, banana blossoms, garlic chives, small dried shrimp and preserved radishes
  • Lime, chilli, roasted peanuts and beansprouts are also usually included, along with prawns

Can I use chicken?

Yes. If you’d prefer to use chicken instead of prawns, we'd recommend using skinless, boneless chicken and chopping it into thin strips. See our recipe for chicken pad Thai.

Other variations on pad Thai

There are many variations of pad Thai outside Thailand. You could use pork, for example, and entirely vegetarian versions also exist.

What is pad Thai sauce made of?

Classically, it’s tamarind, fish sauce and palm sugar, but some recipes also include garlic, chillies and dried shrimp in the sauce rather than as an added ingredient.

What type of noodles are used in pad Thai?

Flat, dried rice noodles called sen lek are used in a pad Thai. Traditionally, these are 3-5mm. Recipes vary, but many Thai recipe writers say that the noodles should only ever be soaked in water and never pre-cooked so they don’t clump together. A soggy noodle is to be avoided at all costs.

Why are my noodles soggy/clumping?

A common mistake is overcooking the noodles, which causes them to go soggy and clump together. You shouldn’t boil noodles before using them – just soak them, and not for longer than stated. Be sure to drain well, too. They may also become soggy if you use a pan that is too small and overcrowd it. Try to make sure the pan is no more than half-full, wide and not too deep. Ideally, you’d cook in batches but this isn’t always practical.

How can I make pad Thai vegan?

Although it won’t be a traditional pad Thai, you can make a vegan version. Use firm tofu and a sauce made from soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime and chilli. It’s a good idea to also increase the veg by adding carrots and spring onions. Try our vegan pad Thai recipe with tofu, asparagus and spring onions.


The best way to take care of a non-stick wok is to season it after use. To do this, heat your wok with 1 tbsp vegetable oil and 1 tbsp salt. Swirl around the pan to coat. Then leave to cool and wipe off the salt crust with kitchen paper. This helps to keep your wok clean and stops the food from sticking.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, June 2007

Goes well with


Comments, questions and tips

Rate this recipe

What is your star rating out of 5?

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Overall rating

A star rating of 3 out of 5.24 ratings