Who doesn’t love a big bowl of slippery, saucy Pad Thai? This is my twist on the classic, easy to make at home. It’s got that signature sweet, salty, tangy flavour, thanks in large part to the star ingredient – tamarind paste. I’ve kept this one veggie-based, but it’s easy enough to add some extra protein if you like (think chicken or shrimp).
Whenever I head to a Thai restaurant, it’s guaranteed that someone in the group will order Pad Thai. And honestly, why wouldn’t you? Silky, slippery noodles, tangy sweet and sour sauce, loaded with veggies and protein…it’s pure comfort food that still feels fresh and light.
But it’s actually incredibly easy to make Pad Thai at home, with simple ingredients you can pick up at your grocery store.
This isn’t a traditional Pad Thai recipe by any means, but I do think it tastes VERY similar to what you’d pick up from your favourite Thai restaurant. It’s SO quick and easy to make – you can prep your veggies and the sauce while your noodles soak – and then it’s just a case of adding everything to the pan at the right time. Less than 20 minutes and you’ll have a steaming, silky bowl of gorgeous noodles on the table.
While this is a vegetable Pad Thai, it’s not vegetarian as written. That’s because it uses fish sauce and oyster sauce, but below I’ve given you some simple swaps to make it vegetarian.
- Rice noodles. Most Pad Thai dishes use thin rice noodles – around 2 – 3mm/0.5″ in width. If you can find these in your grocery store, go for them, otherwise, another wide rice noodle will work well too.
- The sauce. To mimic that classic Pad Thai flavour, we’ll build the sauce with tamarind paste, sweet chilli jam (or sauce), fish sauce and oyster sauce. The fish and oyster sauces provide that signature slightly funky flavour that traditionally is achieved with dried shrimp, and the tamarind paste is crucial for the sweet, tangy, savoury element that’s so synonymous with Pad Thai. To make it vegetarian or vegan, swap fish sauce for lime juice or a vegetarian fish sauce, and the oyster sauce for vegetarian oyster sauce (which is often made with mushrooms).
- Veggies. Bean sprouts are a non-negotiable here, but you can really play around with the vegetables you use, based on what you have or can easily find. If you can find them, swap the scallions for Chinese chives. I’m using sugar snap peas for an extra hit of green, but you could swap them for green beans, baby corn, tenderstem broccoli or even asparagus.
How to make it
The best way to ensure you don’t get overwhelmed or stressed when making something that needs to be cooked quickly like this is to have everything prepped and ready to go before you start cooking. Then it’s just a case of adding the ingredients at the right time! Start by mixing your sauce ingredients, then chop your onion, scallions and sugar snap peas and crush your garlic cloves. Soak your rice noodles according to the packet instructions, then drain.
Cook your onion in a little oil for a minute, then add the garlic. Push them to the side, add the egg and gently scramble it. before adding the veggies, noodles and the sauce
Toss with tongs to mix everything through the noodles and coat them in the sauce. Finish by adding the scallions and half the peanuts, toss again and divide between plates. Serve with lime wedges and more bean sprouts if you like.
Got a question?
You can! Just reheat it in the microwave, at 30-second intervals. Add a splash of water if you need to loosen up the noodles a bit – they’ll continue to absorb liquid as they sit so often after they’ve been in the fridge they need a little extra liquid to get them back to the saucy consistency you want.
Add firm tofu, diced chicken thighs or breast, shrimp (prawns) or other veggies – tenderstem broccoli, baby corn or green beans would work well.
This recipe uses sweet chilli jam (or sweet chilli sauce) to add a hit of sweetness and spice so it has a little bit of a kick, but it’s still pretty mild. If you’re really worried, swap the sweet chilli jam for honey or maple syrup.
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