Pad Thai

Pad Thai – Thai Stir-fry Noodle – Thai national dish

Pad Thai – Thai Stir-fry Noodle

Hello from Pana Napa Kitchen!

Finally I get to post everyone’s favourite dish!

I have been working on this recipe and very excited to share with you because it tastes so good and the colour of this Pad Thai recipe is great!

I have many queries from you guys saying that you are struggling with getting the right colour for Pad Thai, I know excatly what you mean because I was having the same questions the first time I cook this dish.

In This post I will write about….

  1. A Brief story of Pad Thai
  2. What is the secret ingredients that gives Pad Thai that nice red colour
  3. Recipe of Pad Thai Sauce and how to stir-fry Pad Thai
  4. How to plate Pad Thai and what are the essential condiments

A Brief story of Pad Thai

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Pad Thai was fist called “Guay Tieaw Pad” which means stir-fry noodles.
It’s become a Thai National dish later on, during the World War II because of the General Por. The General Por he was also the prime minister of Thailand during that time. He has a strong believe in Nationalism, therefore he came up with the idea of having a “Thai National Dish”.

Why stir-fry noodle was selected to be the Thai National Dish?
During that time, rice was expensive, so the General decide to promote people to consume more noodles because it was cheaper. Pad Thai dish was create and crafted until it comes one of the best tasting food in Thailand.
In the old day, The Thai Cooks or Chefs or actually the women of the house, are very delicate and details about the way she crafts her food. In the result of very sophisticate dish.

Before we are moving on to the next section, I would like to share with you a little story about Thai woman and Thai food.

Before, men doesn’t cook, it’s woman’s job to be in the kitchen. She takes pride of her skills in the kitchen. She craft her way up and become the a skillful chef and artist. The idiom to decribe woman’s charm in the old day is to say her charm of the tips of her spatular. Which means, her food creations makes her to be more attractive and charming.

What is the secret ingredients that gives Pad Thai that nice red colour?

Alright, I think everyone who’s made Pad Thai sauce by themselves before, would know the basic ingredients. Just incase any of you haven’t come across this dish, the main ingredinets to make Pad Thai sauce are fish sauce, salt, tamarind paste and coconut sugar.

But when you go to a local Thai restaurant, why does they Pad Thai dish has a nice, mild red colour? What do they put inside?

I have seen many recipes using Tomato catch-up to add the colour. I have never tried but it might work???

I will tell you the traditional way. So, to add red colour in most of the dishes include curry paste, we use Dried Bang Chang/Prik Chi Fah chilies skin.

Thai chilies
Dried Bang Chang Chilies

This Chilies doesn’t gives the spiciness, much. You can feel it but for me it’s nothing. So what you do is you chop and remove the chilie seeds and only use the skin.

Let’s me show you in the recipe section on how to make Pad-Thai-Sauce.

The recipe

There are so many different recipes of Pad Thai out there. Even on my Thai noodles cook book, there are 5-6 recipes. What I want to say is that there isn’t really the right or the wrong recipes. Different regions of Thailand have their own signature. Since Pad Thai is a national food. Of course everyone will be making it and the taste and serving styles adapt to fit with individual’s taste.

The recipe that I will present to you today is the one I develop to the style that I like.
My Pad Thai has a nice mild red colour with sticker sauce and heaps of fresh herbs and vegetables as a condiments. Here is the recipe below.

Pad Thai

Pad Thai

Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Thai
Servings 1


  • A wok or a pan
  • A spatular for stir-frying


Pad Thai dish

  • 4 Tbsp Cooking oil/ Pork Lard
  • 200 g Pad Thai noodles (Rice stick noodles) Soaked in water until soften. Weight after soaked. Usually half the weight of dry noodles will equal to full weight of fresh noodles. This is depends on the brand you use.Usually it will take around 15 minutes.
  • Water This will be used to splash on to the noodle to cook them up. The amount is again, depends on the noodle you are using. Some noodles is already soft and may not need any extra liquid at all. I usually use about ¼ C.
  • ½ C Pad Thai Sauce. If you are using pre-made sauce, the amount will be different. I suggest you to add a little at a time. You can always add extra flavour at the end.
  • 3 Large prawn. Shell and vain removed.
  • 1 Cup Bean sprout
  • ¾ Cup Chinese Chives or substitute with spring onion Chopped in to 1.5 inches long
  • ½ C tofu cut into small pieces
  • 2 Tbsp Shallots finely chopped
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Tbsp Sweet radish finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp Dried shrimp soaked in warm water until soften (Optional)

Pad Thai Sauce

  • ½ Tsp Sea-salt
  • 2 Tbsp+ 1Tsp C Fish Sauce
  • 2 Shallots chopped (about 2 Tbsp)
  • 1.5 Cloves Garlic minced (about 1 Tbsp)
  • 2 Tbsp Cooking oil
  • ½ C Tamarind Paste
  • 90 g Coconut sugar. Or you can substitute with regular sugar, use 2/3 only
  • ¼ C Water


  • 1 Lime – wedged
  • 2 Tsp Chili powder
  • 2 Tsp Sugar
  • 4 Tsp Crushed peanut
  • 2 stalk Chinese chives or spring onion
  • ½ Cup Bean sprout
  • ½ Fresh banana flower quartered (very optional) Remove all of the purples petal and the tiny flowers. Only keep the white inside.


How to make Pad Thai sauce

  • Chopped dried chilies to 2 inches long. Move the chili pieces up and down to remove the seeds.
  • Blend the chilies with ½ of water until the water turns red and chilies are well blend.
  • Chop garlic and shallots into tiny pieces.
  • In a sauce pan, add oil and put over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add garlic and shallots, and stir-fry until fragrance. It usually takes around 30 seconds. Chilie water and follow by rest of the ingredients. Stir for about 5 minutes or until the sauce in evaporate to about 2/3 of the original amount. Turn off the heat.
  • You can keep the sauce refrigerate for 1 week or 3 months in the freezer.

How to stir-fry Pad Thai

  • Ideally you want to make Pad Thai plate-by-plate. Actually, every stir-fry dish is better do it this way because if the ingredients can't get access to enough heat, they will either become uncooked or cook for too long.
  • Start with putting a wok over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp of oil. When the oil is hot, add the prawn and a few drops of fish sauce, stir-fry until the prawn is cooked. Add about 1 Tbsp of Pad Thai sauce. Turn off the heat and put the prawn on a plate, set a side for now.
  • Put the rest of the oil into the wok and set over high heat. When the oil is hot, add shallots, sweet radish, dried shrimp. Stir until fragrance. Push the ingredients on one side of the wok then add tofu. Try not to move them too much or they will break apart. When the tofu turns to golden colour, push it aside with the rest of their friends.
  • Add noodles in the middle of the wok and add Pad Thai sauce over the noddles. Add some water if your noodle is still hard. Let it sit there until the noodle is soften. Use spatular to move the noodles so they will cook evenly. Do chop the noodles with the spatular. You will break them.
  • When the noodle is cooked. Push them to the side and add egg in the middle of the pad. Use the spatular to swirl the egg and break the yoke lightly. Cook the egg to 70% done.
  • Stir-fry all of the ingredients in the wok together until well combined. Add bean sprout, Chinese chives and the cooked prawn. Turn off the heat and fold through. the vegetable should be just cooked. Still nice and crunchy.
  • Served on a plate with condiments.

How to toast peanuts

  • Soak skin-on peanuts in room temperature for about 20 minutes. Drain the water and put the peanuts on a pan, over low heat. Consistently moving the peanuts until it turns golden brown.
  • Cool the peanut on a tray, spread them apart.
  • Use your hand to rub out the skin, and remove the skin. I like to use my tiny fan to blow away the skin 🙂
  • Note: When you soak the nuts, it help the nut to become more fluffy and cook evenly inside and out.


When you make Pad Thai, you should stir-fry plate by plate. Max 2 plates at a time. This is why I put recipe for 1 serving. Although you can do the sauce in bulk, it will be ok. 
Keyword Main course, noodles, Pad thai, Prawn, seafood, stir-fry, stir-fry noodle

I hope you enjoy making this dish! if you would like to learn more about Thai Cooking step-by-step and without having to browse through every recipes and informations, please feel free to leave your email below, I will send you useful information about Thai cooking each week for you to learn more about Thai food culture and ideas for your Thai night!

Thank you for visiting my blog and will see you next week!



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