crispy tofu pad thai

Like a lot of people who go way back in the land of food blogs, I learned how to make pad thai from Pim Techamuanvivit. Pim wrote Chez Pim for many years before moving onto make jams (still the best apricot I’ve ever had) and then, homesick for the food she missed from growing up in Bangkok and disappointed by the versions of Thai food she saw in American restaurants (and “the tyranny of peanut sauce”), opened her first restaurant, Kin Khao, in San Francisco in 2014. It received a Michelin star a year after it opened because why do anything mediocre?

what you'll need

But in 2007, she wrote a seminal post called Pad Thai For Beginners that I’ve read and reread so many times over the years, I’ve practically memorized it. As pad thai is one of the most popular street foods in Thailand, she encouraged us to approach it at home the way the street vendors do: the prep is already done, so you can finish it in a flash. First, she wants you to make the sauce in advance because the ingredients are not standardized — fish sauces and tamarind concentrates will vary in intensity between brands — and you’ll want to adjust as needed, not over a screaming hot pan while your noodles get soft. And she wants you to make extra because it keeps well, and then if your dish needs a little more oomph, you won’t have to run back to the fridge to measure more from bottles and jars. Finally, she wants us to never make more than two portions at once, which will lead to “clumps of oily, sticky noodles.” She explains that the textures and flavors of a proper pad thai “derive largely from the way the dish is cooked, that is to say its quick footloose dance in an ultra hot wok. That simply means you can’t do many servings at once.” This doesn’t mean you cannot feed a crowd, you simply prep as much as you’d need, but only cook a portion or two at a time.

ingredientspeanutscrispy tofucook garlic and shallot

So if I read this for the first time in 2007, why did it take me until 2018 to finally make it? Largely because the ingredients, depending on where you live, can be hard to get. While if it was simply a garnish here, you’d probably be fine without it, but something like tamarind isn’t a maybe ingredient in pad thai, it’s, in fact, one of the most essential flavors — providing the sour tang. Fish sauce is up there too (it makes things salty and nuanced). And, I’d argue, in descending order, bean sprouts (lightness and crunch), preserved radishes (a sweet/sour crunch), garlic chives, and palm sugar. And what took me so long to make it was trying to find a way to make peace with keeping the ingredients authentic* while finding swaps that might work if you’re a hundred miles from the nearest Thai grocery store.**

add the noodles and the liquidall cookedscramble an eggadd the tofu back, plus chives

Eventually, though, my hunger for a recipe I could make when I craved it, which is weekly, won, which brings us up to today. Below is a recipe I mashed together from Pim, the dozen videos I found on YouTube of street vendors making pad thai (a very dangerous thing to do on an empty stomach), from Leela Punyaratabandhu’s excellent Simple Thai Food. And below that are a collection of suggestions of ingredients swaps I’ve pulled from the web. My biggest change: Hearkening back to my vegetarian days, I’ve always ordered pad thai with tofu (instead of the more traditional shrimp, or less traditional pork or chicken), and it’s the only way I crave it now. Maybe I’ll convert you too.

crispy tofu pad thai

* The thing I noticed is that if you Google “pad thai recipe,” the first page of results has recipes that include fettuccine, bell peppers, peanut butter, honey, ketchup, napa cabbage, cilantro, butter, lemon, not to mention rice vinegar, soy sauce, Thai basil, mint, and more, which might sound closer to the region but aren’t actually typical in this. Does it matter? Does it matter that if I Googled it because I did, in fact, want to learn how to make it, that I’m unlikely to from these recipes? That maybe they’re delicious, but they’re not really pad thai? Of course, on this site, nary a recipe is devoutly aligned with the textbook version; I make changes based on personal taste, recipe ease, and more, and I do so here as well. But my roadmap, rules, have always been that I want to know the difference and to be able to talk about why I’m making the changes I have. It goes without saying that all of us can, and should, make the exact food we want to eat in the exact way that we want to make it, but also try to imagine how we might feel if someone told me they made our grandmother’s famous chicken soup recipe but they don’t use chicken or noodles and also changed all of the vegetables, they just call it our grandmother’s chicken soup. We’d say “wait, what?”

** I am not, and got almost everything I needed at Bangkok Center Grocery on Mosco Street; don’t miss the famous five-fried-dumplings-for-a-dollar (now $1.25) next door, and then go to Columbus Park and humiliate yourself on the pull-up bars, and marvel that Five Points (of Gangs In New York and also historical fame) is but an unrecognizable speck, or at least that’s my routine.


One year ago: Granola Bark
Two years ago: Potato Pizza, Even Better and Carrot Tahini Muffins
Three years ago: Obsessively Good Avocado Cucumber Salad and Strawberry Rhubarb Soda Syrup
Four years ago: Dark Chocolate Macaroons and Baked Eggs with Spinach and Mushrooms
Five years ago: Bee Sting Cake
Six years ago: Banana Bread Crepe Cake with Butterscotch
Seven years ago: Blackberry and Coconut Macaroon Tart
Eight years ago: Almond Macaroon Torte with Chocolate Frosting, Tangy Spiced Brisket, andNew York Cheesecake
Nine years ago: Chocolate Caramel Crackers
Ten years ago: Chicken with Almonds and Green Olives, Shaker Lemon Pie and Spring Panzanella
Eleven years ago: The Tart Marg

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Sausage and Potato Roast with Arugula
1.5 Years Ago: Garlic Wine and Butter Steamed Clams
2.5 Years Ago: My Old-School Baked Ziti
3.5 Years Ago: Better Chicken Pot Pies
4.5 Years Ago: Fudgy Chocolate Sheet Cake

Crispy Tofu Pad Thai

  • Servings: 2
  • Print

  • 6 ounces firm or extra-firm tofu (not silken)
  • 5 ounces dried rice noodles (sticks), about 1/8-inch (3mm) wide
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce, regular (not vegetarian) or vegetarian, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate, plus more to taste
  • 2 to 4 teaspoons dark brown sugar, plus more to taste
  • A pinch or two Thai or other chile flakes or chili powder, or a shot of Sriracha
  • Vegetable, grapeseed or another neutral, high-heat cooking oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 small shallot, chopped (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sweet preserved radish, grated or minced
  • 2 handfuls (about 1 cup, although it’s awkward to measure in cups) bean sprouts, plus more for garnish
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 garlic chives, or the green parts of 8 scallions or spring onions, cut into 2-inch pieces, divided
  • Garnishes
  • Additional Thai or other chile flakes or chili powder
  • Remaining garlic chives and bean sprouts
  • 2 large lime wedges
  • 2 tablespoons crushed roasted peanuts, salted or unsalted

Prepare tofu: Drain the tofu, and place it on a few paper towels; place a few more towels over it. Place a heavy object—like a big frying pan over the tofu, and let it rest for 10 minutes (and up to 30, if you have the time), to press out as much excess liquid as you can. When you can’t wait any longer, cut it into 1/2 to 3/4-inch cubes.

Prepare noodles: Meanwhile, place noodles in a large bowl; pour hot water over to cover. Don’t worry if they break a little; shorter noodles (even 6″ lengths) are common for pad thai. Let it soak for 10 minutes, after which they should be pliable but too al dente to enjoy without further cooking; longer soaks will turn the noodles mushy in the pan. Drain and set noodles aside.

Prepare the sauce: Stir together fish sauce, tamarind, brown sugar, and chili powder. Taste and adjust the flavor balance until it suits you, and it will almost certainly require some adjusting because ingredient intensity varies between brands. Ideally you’re looking for something salty followed by a mild sourness, a little sweetness, and a little lick of heat. You will add more heat and acidity at the end. Set this aside.

Crisp the tofu: Heat a large frying pan or a wok over high for a full minute, then add a tablespoon or two of oil and let this heat for a full minute too, and then add tofu cubes. Reduce heat to medium-high. Cook them until browned underneath, then use a thin spatula to turn them and cook some more, until all sides are golden and crisp. Drain on paper towels, and season while hot with a little salt and chili powder, to taste.

Cook the pad thai: Add another generous glug oil to the hot pan and, once very hot, cook garlic, shallots, and radishes for a minute, until they take on a little edge of color. Add noodles and sauce and cook until noodles absorb sauce, if needs longer to soften (you can use the edge of your spatula to try to cut them to get an idea if it’s still too firm), you can add 2 tablespoons water at a time until they’re fully cooked. You can break your noodles into shorter chunks, if you desire, with your spatula. Add half your bean sprouts and garlic chives (reserving the rest for garnishes) and toss to combine.

Push to the side, add crack your egg into empty part of pan. When halfway cooked, start scrambling, then mix into noodles. Add crispy tofu back to pan now, and toss to combine. Transfer to plate.

To finish: Around the rim, leave extra garnishes in a little piles. Squeeze lime juice over before eating (it really wakes it up).

Let’s talk ingredients:

Tamarind: This is the sticky brown acidic pulp from the pod of a tree of the pea family — it provides the signature faint sourness of pad thai. It comes in paste, and concentrate; I used the latter. Paste is the most common. To use it, reconstitute 1 part of the paste in 2 parts of water, and stir until combined. Typically, people add water to tamarind concentrate as well to use it in recipes, but I’m having us add water to the pan as needed to cook the noodles instead. Some people don’t like the intensity of tamarind. Pim says that if this is you, you use less and add white vinegar. Other swaps I’ve seen suggested online: a mixture of lime juice and brown sugar; a dab of ketchup (look, I’m just reporting here!) plus lime juice or plain vinegar.

Using other proteins: Almost all pad thai, even the most common with shrimp, has some tofu in it, usually a couple of tablespoons pressed tofu that comes in small blocks, which you can find at many Asian grocery stores. Here I’m calling for firm or extra-firm, which come in water and are easier to find, and making it the star of the show. If you’d like to use shrimp here instead, I’d estimate 6 medium fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined, per serving, and you can par-cook it with the garlic, shallot, and radish in the beginning. Don’t fully cook it, it will finish with the noodles and sauce over the next few minutes. If you’d like to use chicken or pork, I’d estimate 2 ounces, chopped in rough chunks, per serving, and cook is as you would the shrimp. Want to use none of the above? An extra egg might give your pad thai all the protein you wish for. Finally, quite often, the egg is cooked along with the shrimp in the beginning but I prefer mine added closer to the end so it’s a bit more present.

Eggs: Are optional in pad thai. In Thailand, they’ll ask you when you order it whether or not you want it. Sometimes it is scrambled in, other times a paper-thin omelet is poured made and the pad thai is wrapped inside it, like a crepe. I’ll save that for Pad Thai for Intermediates.

Palm sugar: Is the standard sweetener in pad thai, not brown sugar, but on this, I defaulted to what was already in my pantry. I think coconut sugar could be a good swap too. Palm sugar often comes in semi-solid blocks; you’ll want to scrape some off and warm it in the microwave or over another heat and it will loosen. For pad thai sauce, cooks will often melt the palm sugar in a pan and add the other sauce ingredients, just to warm them until liquefied. For palm sugar, you’ll want to use a bit more for the same level of sweetness; I’d use 3 teaspoons for every 2 here, but of course you’ll adjust this to taste too. Finally, palm sugar these days can be purchased in granulated form.

Fish sauce: Is salty and a little funky, and is the magic ingredient is so many of our favorite dishes. Between brands and even countries where its manufactured, saltiness and funkiness vary a lot. Vietnamese fish sauce is usually considered sweeter/less salty than Thai. Red Boat is one of the most popular; I had MegaChef and Squid brands around — the latter is probably the strongest/saltiest I tried. I haven’t tested it out, but vegetarian fish sauce is available. Here is a brand with good reviews; it sounds like you’ll want to use more to get the same intensity.

Sweet preserved radish: This provides a unique chewy sour/salty sweet flavor throughout in slightly crunchy bits I really enjoy it here, but I do think your pad thai can still taste good without it, you just might find you need a little more of the other sweet ingredients, such as tamarind and palm or brown sugar.

Shallots: I only spotted these in a minority of the recipes I perused, but made mine with and without them, and liked them here. I felt that the cooked shallot + pad thai sauce faintly reminded me of the preserved radish flavor, too, so definitely worth including if you can’t find the radishes. If you don’t have a shallot and are using the green part of scallions instead of garlic chives, might you use the white parts as you’d use the shallot here? Oh, I like the way you think.

Bean sprouts: Are crunchy and fantastic here. If you can’t find or get them, I bet shredded white cabbage or very thin juliennes of napa cabbage might provide a similarly refreshing crunch. I’d barely cook them.

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186 comments on crispy tofu pad thai

  1. Deanna

    Ive been on a Thai food kick lately, thanks to the Night+Market cookbook, but I’ve mostly been making Pad See Ew. I love pad Thai though, so I’ll being giving this a shot soon.

  2. Bella Ben-Shach

    I’ve been wanting to make pad thai for years, but have been unwilling to compromise on authentic flavors while being too intimidated by the ingredients. But if Deb can muster the courage and give it a go – so can I!! Thank you for this!

  3. hicjacetmelilla

    Agh I’ve been to that dumpling place! It was early September 2009. I remember doing the whole tourist thing around NYC and telling my husband, “Be on the lookout for a very pregnant, dark haired woman. Because it might be SmittenKitchen and I want to say HI”. Then we came back and you posted J was here!

  4. Rima

    Gosh, 5 or 6 years ago I found Pim’s blog and that particular Pad thai recipe hooked me on. I was a less experienced cook then and it was hard for me to get the taste of the sauce right. However I have followed her since then. Thank you for your version of easy Pad Thai. It will be tried and tested.

  5. Marcia

    The dumpling place on Mosco Street is the best part of being on jury duty.
    My son heard it had closed because of (shhh) cooking in the back alley.
    Sure hope he’s wrong.

  6. kikieats


    If you’re looking for things to do with leftover preserved radish and Chinese chives (besides cooking them into more Pad Thai!) — I use preserved radish diced up, cooked down with a bunch of sliced scallions, soy sauce, sugar and enough water to make a sauce consistency, then cooled for a delicious cold noodle topping. And minced Chinese chives are great in pork dumpling filling – a whole project on it’s own, I know.

  7. Amanda

    Deb! You speak my language! I have been making pad Thai based on an Annie Chun’s recipe, but it has always felt insufficient to me, and I will not touch any recipe that calls for Ketchup! You have saved me SO much time and effort as I have avoided making anything other than the recipe I have as I haven’t had the time to really research the ingredients.
    Thank you for your thoughtful, well-researched recipe and suggestions for substitutes! I have found every recipe of yours that I have used to be delicious and easy, and a huge time saver as I like to make things knowing how they are typically made and what value and cost/benefit there is in a variety of substitutions.

    You rock! I will continue to rely on your recipes!!

    1. Therry Neilsen-Steinhardt

      Amanda, I’m so sorry you don’t routinely use Ketchup in your Chinese/Thai/Japanese cooking. I didn’t know to use it until i saw the movie Tampopo ( which is so wonderful I could take up all the space talking about it) in which a little Japanese kid asks his uncle the chef to make him a ketchup omelet. Ketchup is sweet and sour, it has a vinegary taste, it’s brightly colored and it is the one ingredient I ALWAYS include in any Asian sauce. See the movie, give good Organic ketchup a place in your pantry, and you’ll never look back.

      1. Linda D

        Thierry, when we lived in Japan, my three-year-old daughter’s favorite dish at any restaurant was Omurice — a very thin scrambled egg (almost like a crepe), wrapped around rice mixed with ketchup. The waiters would serve it to her with a puddle of ketchup on the side. A little different than the version made in Tampopo, which was rice topped with a fluffy mound of scrambled eggs that always look not-quite-cooked to me — but a version she happily ate! I agree with you that ketchup has a definite place in Asian cooking!!!

  8. Jennifer

    This is highly ironic, since we had (not-so-great) Pad Thai for dinner on Monday. Which means I’m now the proud owner of 11/12 of a package of tamerind goop, which has to be mixed with warm water and strained before being used, as it contains seeds’n’ fibers.

    On the other hand, we now have all the ingredients we’ll need to make more pad thai, which will be very soon!

  9. Years ago (prob 2008-ish) I found a recipe online somewhere that was the best/most authentic* pad thai recipe I’d found.

    Alas, years later I was never able to find it again to recreate my favourite meal ever, likely because, as you rightly pointed out, the first pages of google are populated with inauthentic versions. Stoked you’ve provided this option and linked to Pim’s as well. I will endeavour to make it this week!

    *having never been to Thailand at the time, I’m basing my opinion off some of my fav versions from local Thai restaurants. Unfortunately, these days, I now find most take-out versions also not to my liking since I’ve actually had the Thai street-food version.

  10. barb

    I am so excited to try this! I also prefer pad thai with tofu as it was like half of my diet when I was a vegetarian in college (the other half was Frosted Flakes). I crave pad thai all the time and always felt like homemade versions wouldn’t be very good. Thank you for the awesome post as usual!

  11. JP

    This looks so much like the Tofu Pad Thai from Cook’s Illustrated new cookbook Vegan for Everybody. We made it last night and the leftovers are in my fridge right now. We will have them tonight, but it won’t be nearly as good as day one because the tofu, while crispy when first fried, will not stay crispy after a night in the fridge. Still tasty though, I am sure.
    We did the lime juice/brown sugar swap for tamarind and it seemed like a good swap to us. Of course, ours was vegan, so no eggs, but I must say that even though I usually have shrimp in my Pad Thai, the tofu makes it very satisfying. Will have to try your version for sure. Thanks!

      1. JP

        When I had the book “Vegan for Everybody” from the library, I copied the recipe by hand and just wrote down fish sauce (likely they suggested vegan fish sauce, but I did not even notice). We are not vegan, we just want to eat healthier several times a week. So I just used our regular fish sauce which would not be appropriate for those eating strictly vegan, obviously. I do think the recipe needs something like fish sauce. With bland items like tofu, bean sprouts and rice noodles you need plenty of flavors to compensate. Good luck!

      2. Manisha

        In order to get the fish sauce taste, use powdered cumin + fenugreek powder. It is available in most Indian stores or can be at home. The taste is almost similar and they are both completely vegan.

      3. Ttrockwood

        I have bought very expensive (icky) vegan “fish sauce” from several brands but found this simple ATK recipe is my favorite so far, very easy- just need the dry shiitake mushrooms and soy sauce. (After straining keep the mushrooms! Slice thin and add to another dish)

        The tamarind is really important here, worth seeking out- whole foods and health food stores carry versions or order online. It keeps for a very very long time

    1. Mary

      Definitely “where is thumpkin?” I have a curly haired singer of my own (nearly the same age) and could almost immediately identify the song.

  12. Meg

    Awesome! I just moved back to the U.S. after living for 4 years in Bangkok and am also feeling the tyranny of the peanut sauce, as well as the bell pepper blues (never seen them in curries there; always see them in curries here). This looks very close to a recipe I learned at a cooking school I frequented in Bangkok. Thank you!

    1. Angie Scarlett-Newcomen

      They do the bell pepper in curry thing here in the UK, too, and most other dishes where I don’t recall them appearing in Thailand. :-( I hate the things! One of the MasterChef finalists the other week was Thai, and I pointed out to my husband that he didn’t use them in his dishes.

      1. deb

        Did you see white sugar as a condiment? I saw it show up in many videos as one of the optional finishes, spooned on at the end. One of the cooks said that sweet pad thai is very popular in Bangkok street food. I was completely unaware of this before.

        1. I had a Thai co-worker who added 3 heaping tablespoons of white sugar to her bowl of pho along with 1/2 the jar of chili garlic sauce. I guess sweet and hot is a flavor profile a lot of Thais like.

          1. Katie

            Yep Bangkok Pad Thai is served with a basket of four ingredients to add as desired: vinegar with sliced chilies, sugar, dried pepper flakes, and fish sauce. Also, tofu is an ingredient always in Pad Thai, along with shrimp and dried mini shrimp.

  13. Bridgit

    I’ve dregged tofu in cornstarch before frying and it gets a lovely, crispy outside. Might this be worth doing here? I’m looking forward to making this soon.

    1. Holly C

      That is what I did when I made this recipe! Also soaked the tofu in hot salt water for 15 minutes before cutting into cubes as that is supposed to help make it crispier. With those things combined, my tofu was so wonderfully crispy! It was my first time cooking tofu at home that I truly enjoyed.. most often when I make an attempt it ends up in the trash- but not this time!

  14. Allison

    Looks delicious. I want to try to make it! Is a “shot of sriracha” like a shot-glass full (seems like a lot?) or just a squirt?

  15. Cy

    I work right across the street from Kin Khao! Pricey, but delicious and very popular! I love pad Thai and love the idea of making it at home. Because SF is blessed with such a large Asian population, we are also home to many wonderful Asian restaurants( duh!). We also have amazing Asian markets here, so these ingredients are easy to find and inexpensive. My favorite cuisine in Vietnamese, but Thai runs a close second. Thanks for doing all the hard work for us Deb.

  16. Cheryl

    Delicious Deb. This from someone who doesn’t actually like pad Thai… but has a husband who adores it. Quick, easy and tasty. Thank you!

  17. Heather

    Thanks for this! Your explanations are always enlightening, I now feel as if i might be able to tackle this dish. I’ve been reading your blog for years,and continue to thoroughly enjoy and appreciate it!

  18. L

    I live in a place where tamarind paste is hard to come by but I can get pomegranate molasses and find that it makes a pretty decent substitute: still tangy in that fruity, slightly sweet way.

  19. Erica Green

    This looks delicious. I don’t have a wok and don’t yet have a cast iron fry pan – though it is on my list of things to add to my kitchen. I see that you use one option. I am typically cooking for a family of 4. What size do you suggest/what size did you use in these photos. Thanks!

  20. Elizabeth

    I spent a very long trip traveling from north to south in Thailand several years ago and one of our daily rituals was stopping at almost every little pad thai stand that we passed to try yet another street cook’s hand at it. We found that all were very similar in basic taste and texture with a few twists in extra ingredients (Eg. Shrimp,tofu,etc). It was pure heaven, every single paper plate of pad Thai was a winner (and that was a lot of paper plates). Then we took an amazing memorable cooking class in Chang Mai, in an open air kitchen along side the river, surrounded by the trees and the plants that supplied many of the ingredients we used that day. Pad thai was one of the several recipes we learned that day and when we returned home, it was a staple of our dinner table at least weekly for a long time.
    One thing I found out quickly upon returning to the States is that maybe 1% of restaurants actually know what good pad thai should be and even the Thai people who cook for Americans here seem to have forgotten. Pad Thai in restaurants is almost always sweet (yuck!) and wet! Pad Thai should be dryish with just enough shiny moisture to keep the noodles from being a big sticky clump and definitely not sweet in.any.way. Or rather, there is a balance of subtle “sweet” and nutty-salty, maybe a sort of umami? American restaurant “Pad Thai” also almost always is missing several obvious ingredients like the egg or the peanuts or the bean sprouts. So sad that we can’t just order a plate of comforting delicious pad thai from any number of restaurants nearby but your post has reminded me that making it for myself is not that time consuming or difficult. And your recipe has come the closest to the one I learned in Thailand with the interesting addition of clove. Thank you!

  21. Brittany W.

    Grocery stores here sell the tamarind pods. Can I just buy one of those and try to take the pulp off instead of buying a whole container of tamarind pulp or concentrate? I’ve never worked with it before, so I have no idea if this is feasible or really what the people who buy the pods do with them. But I’d rather end up with a pod or two from the store than a packaged ingredient I won’t use for anything else. I’m really excited to see pad thai on SK. I tried it once years ago using an Alton Brown recipe, and it was terrible, though that was likely due to my cooking inexperience, not necessarily the recipe.

  22. Manisha

    Oh my god! Never in a 1000 yrs would I have thought of tamarind in Pad Thai!!!! Tamarind is a staple in South Indian food giving it a distinct sour/sweet taste (cant explain it right but brings back memories of grandma’s egg curry where boiled eggs are added to cooked tamarind/tomato paste with onion ginger garlic season. Sorry Deb. Didnt mean to post a cooking tip). Its like a Eureka moment for me! No wonder the pad thai I make at home doesnt taste the same as the one in South East Asia!!!!Still can’t get over the euphoria of pieces falling into place :D
    Weekend menu is kinda set now!!!

  23. Kates

    I love pad thai and am glad you broke it down here. I always thought it a bit intimidating to try at home. I also have a question about cookware. I just bought a cast iron skillet but have not yet used it and am on the hunt for recipes that would do well in it besides searing meat which is what I keep running into. Is this a cast iron skillet (not enamel coated) I see in your photos?

  24. I cannot wait to make this. I spent a couple of hours on Sunday night googling Thai food recipes was super disappointed by the American versions of classics. I looked up Thai food bloggers and couldn’t find anyone who made outstanding vegetarian recipes. Thank you so much for this wonderful post! It could not have come at a better time. I’d love it if you could also please make a gluten free, dairy free Thai veggie curry and GF DF Veggie basil fried rice? I’m trying to find the best versions of those recipes too. Thanks so much!

  25. phyllis

    Hi … would love to make Pim’s apricot jam, but cannot find a recipe, only jam to purchase… can you help?

    1. Krista

      I had the same issue with the sauce being very dark. I also found it overpoweringly flavorful, and thought I screwed something up. I used Tamicon brand

    2. Mary Beth Feldman

      Tamicon also. Sauce too tart. Noodles sticky. Pad Thai is, in my opinion, like sushi—— best left to the professionals. However, the chickens thought it was tasty.

      1. Jessica Oski

        I also used Tamican and the sauce was way too overpowering – and very dark. Alone, it tasted ok, but probably could have used 1/3 as much sauce. First recipe of Deb’s that didn’t work for me.

    3. Darsey Landoe

      Another down vote here. We used a brand called Aunt Patty’s organic tamarind and it was so intense, we had to throw the whole dish out. Deb has a note at the end of the recipe about diluting the tamarind with water, but maybe that note should be in the instructions? The dish ended up being so tart and intense, we just couldn’t stomach it.

      1. Julie

        I missed this note as well, and ours was terrible. My fault for missing the direction, but I am glad to know what happened since almost every other SK recipe is a HUGE hit. Thank you for helping me solve this mystery!

    4. Jared Edwards

      We used aunt patty’s as well. only used 1Tbsp and did dilute with a little bit of water and a splash of sweet white wine just to see what would happen 😂 ultimately it ended up being too sour once it hit the pan, although the sauce tasted very balanced beforehand. would absolutely encourage future cooks to add more water than they think they might need. ultimately i don’t blame the recipe though. should have listened to my instincts more. i will say that the flavors and techniques here are as close to perfect as i’ve ever seen online. just watch the tamarind 😬

  26. chocopie00

    Thank you for this recipe and your words in the first starred bullet. Now that kimchi has become more popular, it makes me really upset to see all the things marketed as kimchi at my local co-op – often labeled with bad fake-asian font and Korean flags – that have nothing to do with actual kimchi. I look forward to making your recipe!

  27. Bri

    Made this last night – it was great! Did not have tamarind, substituted equal parts lime juice and brown sugar. Did not have preserved radishes, went with 3 teaspoons brown sugar. Will absolutely make this again!

  28. RES

    Tofu lovers- at some point cooks illustrated told me to brine my tofu, and while it seems fussy I can tell you that we have promised ourselves never to skip the step again. The improvement in texture and also behavior (MUCH friendlier to deal with in a hot wok or pan) is worth it. Works with all tofu except silken (even the soft stuff, if you’re careful), and can in most cases can be done while you prep and cook the rest of the meal.

    The technique: boil water and salt it like you would to make pasta (i.e. a lot), and then turn it off and placed the tofu (sliced into planks about an inch thick, so 4 per block) into the water and let it sit for 15 minutes. Remove to a paper towel lined cutting board, put paper towels on top, squish a little with your hands, and leave it alone for 15 minutes. No need to weigh it down with anything. When the time is up (or you remember it’s still there, oops), cut into cubes and proceed with your preparation, though our favorite is to toss it in cornstarch with a little salt, cayenne, and ginger powder, and pan fry it.

  29. Breah

    I am going to make this tonight! Can’t wait. I hesitate buying the radishes as i never know what to do with the rest of the pack of them after using the couple of tablespoons. Does anyone else have tips on what else to use them in? OR how to store them and how long they last in the fridge or freezer??

    1. Ttrockwood

      Just repackage the preserved radishes in an airtight container and keep in the fridge, they last for a very very long time because they are basically like pickles. Don’t freeze, i think the texture would get mooshy once defrosted.

  30. Erika

    We’re moving. To a lighter, brighter home just a few doors down with ample space for two small creatures we benignly call “children”.

    My amazing new step-siblings are helping us move. Akin to asking someone to pick you up from the airport, this is BIG (but waaay bigger).

    How would the average person show thanks?
    Order a pizza and get a six pack? Um, no.

    So, I ask you the challenging question: what to feed a willing moving-mob to make them feel nourished and rewarded for such hard and noble labor, and make me feel so unstressed I could practically nap through the prep? Oh, and there’s one vegetarian.

    Deb, you’re on…

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  32. Simone

    I decided to make this at the last minute, and couldn’t find tamarind paste, so I bought an order of samosas at an Indian restaurant and used the tamarind sauce that came with it. I replaced the tamarind paste 1:1 with the tamarind sauce but I might do it at 1.5x or 2x next time.

  33. I made the recipe last night. That was simply incredible, most of the ingredients are my favorite. Tofu always favorite for my sons, and the recipe doesn’t last long in my family. The instruction was so helpful for me. Thanks!

  34. Oanh

    I was so thrilled to find a Smitten Kitchen post citing a Chez Pim post!!! I actually also just *finally* returned to that long bookmarked 2007 post on pad thai THIS year, to great results. I went on a bit of a tofu pad thai bender with all the sauce I made! One shortcut I took was to bake the tofu instead of frying to save time and oil splatters. Toss in a neutral oil with some salt and bake at 400 F on a Silpat for about 25-30 minutes for crispy cubes! Not as air-y and light as fried but a lot less work.

    I saw a lot of questions in the comments regarding tamarind ‘paste’ that I thought I could maybe shed light on. Tamarind can come in a lot of forms, the most common being pods (most Southeast Asian or Indian stores), 1 lb blocks of pulp or ‘paste’ as Deb refers to in the post (this is tamarind pulp that has been deseeded; they are sold in rectangular blocks wrapped in plastic in Southeast Asian or Indian stores and sometimes in the ‘ethnic’ section of fancy grocery stores like Whole Foods), and potent tamarind concentrate in bottles (like the one Karen linked to in the comments) which is also confusingly called ‘paste’ by many.
    You’ll get slightly different ‘strengths’ of tamarind depending on which form you start with. Already-made, bottled concentrate is most convenient form, and also the most potent so if you’re using this, I’d suggest diluting this 1:1 (so for this recipe, try 1 T concentrate plus 1 T water instead of 2 T straight concentrate). If you are making your own concentrate from pulp as per Deb’s instructions (1 part pulp : 2 parts water), the 2 T will probably work just fine. Beware that even though the pulp is de-seeded, you will still have to strain out fibers from the pulp. Pods will yield a fresher more tamarind-y flavor but not as potent as from the pulp, and you also have to deal with seeds and pieces of pod.

    Not sure if it’s okay to post links to other sites in the comments (I defer to Deb on this!) but this video shows how to work with tamarind pulp if you haven’t done so before (and also, it’s a GREAT recipe for tamarind chutney!):

    1. Holly C

      Thanks for this info! I used 2T of tamarind concentrate (the nearly-black, thick, sticky stuff) for the recipe and it turned out to be *very* flavourful and intense, but not overwhelmingly so. I also did not use any water in the pan as my noodles were nearly cooked when then were added so there was no need. Perhaps if I had added some water to the pan (or the sauce) the flavours would have been slightly more balanced.

      1. Hillary

        I am making this tomorrow night and bout the “paste” at Whole Foods as that is all they had. Any recommendation on how to treat the paste?

        Thanks, Hillary

    2. Thanks for all this. My market had the pods, and I decided to make concentrate from that. Never going to do that again. It took forever and I wasted so much that didn’t strain.

      I was wondering, why can’t I just scrape the tamarind off the pod with my finger and use it directly? Why do I have to make a paste or pulp at all?

    3. Ellen Whiten

      Yep! I found tamarind concentrate at Sprouts grocery store, and I went with the 1 parts (2tbs) tamarind to 2 parts (2tbs) water solution that the recipe calls for. It was too much for the amount of noodles I think, because the finished meal that I plated was a lot darker than I’m used to seeing when I order Pad Thai at a restaurant. I couldn’t find preserved radish anywhere, so I had to add a LOT more brown sugar to the sauce to get it just right.
      But everyone said they loved it, and my husband took the leftovers to work for lunch today, so I guess it was a success! And he hates tofu (he says) lol.

  35. Win! A Pad Thai that does not have unachievable ingredients for Montana! The recipes with “Lemongrass, Thai Basil, and Curry Leaves”, or whatever, are so remote, that will never happen!

    But, this actually has ingredients that I can find here! Pad Thai!

  36. Risa

    Deb, you are a gem! Thank you for acknowledging all the very “non-pad thai” pad thai recipes out there. Having grown up in Thailand, pad thai is a weirdly sensitive topic for me, and it bugs the hell out of me that so many people who love “pad thai” seem to think it’s just a noodle stirfry, instead of a dish with a very specific flavor profile. I am all for freestyling in the kitchen, but if a food blogger is going to peddle a “pad thai” recipe made with a peanut sauce, should it really be called “pad thai” at all? In Thailand, the only place you’ll ever find peanut sauce is as a dip for satay (which is originally Malay/Indonesian).

  37. Elle

    Made it today for lunch ant it was really good.
    I added shrimps since my daughters like them.
    I usually let the tofu soak in the sauce before I fry it and that’s what I’m going to do next time since without it, we felt it was bland.

    1. Bill

      I loved the result, but I agree with Elle about the tofu being too bland. Next time, I might toss the cubes in 1tsp soy sauce + 1tsp dry sherry before frying. Also, (new to rice noodles), I’ll use more hot water and stir the noodles to prevent any from gluing themselves together.

  38. Ttrockwood

    I loved her blog!! And have also read that amazing post soooo many times. I haven’t made it in a while, but i need to fix that!
    It’s one of those recipes that make tofu skeptics and haters love it :))
    I love Bangkok grocery!! I stock up on all the coconut milk and various curry pastes that often blow my head off. Oh, and those crunchy fried garlic chips that are good on anything.

    FYI- Uncle Boon’s Sister in soho has the only pad thai worth ordering in manhattan, i get the vegetarian version but it’s actually vegan.

  39. Rocky Mountain Woman

    I always order this at our local Vietnamese restaurant and have made it a time or two. I can’t wait to try your version! Great leftover potential.

  40. Breah

    This was delicious and authentic!! Closest recipe ive found to get me the true taste of Pad Thai ive looked for. The only thing i found was how long the rice noodles seemed to take to cook once i began stirfrying them, so next time i ill either let them sit in boiling hot water for the ten minutes OR increase the time to 15 minutes in the hot water bath. Thank you for the informative recipe! :)

  41. I noticed you used a cast iron skillet instead of a wok? Do you need a wok for stir frying? Do you have to do anything different on a skillet?

    Also, I have tamarind pods. I’ve googled but I can’t find an explanation for why I just can’t scrape off the tamarind from one or two and use them directly?

  42. Liz

    This. Was. AMAZING. With some adjustments to sauce proportions and the addition of some shrimp, I just found a fast way to make my favorite takeout indulgence at home. So, this is all I eat now for the rest of time forever.

  43. Hillary

    This was an epic fail for me. Which isn’t typical with all of the many Smitten Kitchen recipes that are normally perfection. I think the Tamarind amount is really hard in the sauce. I used Tamarind “paste” from Whole Foods which was a nice dark brown thick liquid and I mixed it with 1:1 ratio of warm water. But I wasn’t sure if the Tamarind concentrate amount in the ingredient list was the diluted version or not and how much to use? My sauce was very dark. I ended up having to add many more noodles to balance out the fact that I had so much sauce and it was so dark. As a result, I cooked the whole dish for way too long and the noodles were more like mush. There was nothing quick about it for me. Anyway, it was a difficult dish that required 3 trips to the grocery stores for the various ingredients and did not work out for me. I probably won’t try again.

  44. reshmaadwar

    “ sauces and tamarind concentrates will vary in intensity between brands — and you’ll want to adjust as needed, not over a screaming hot pan while your noodles get soft..”
    This is EXACTLY what happened to me the first time I ever made Pad Thai (which is why it was also the last!). I am so used to Indian tamarind paste that the one I bought at Whole Foods was terribly weak/disappointing and I had to improvise while my poor noodles were getting all soggy.
    Thank you (and Pim) for the spot-on advice to make the sauce in advance! Makes absolute sense!

  45. Lauren

    This was great. Pad Thai is really not easy. I have made it before a few years ago. You really need to understand the flavors in the sauce, I think you explained that well and I tasted it a few times before. Im quite familiar with using tamarind so that helped.
    I put almost boiling water over my noodles and I think overbooked them a bit so would watch that next time. I rinsed then with cold water.
    My tofu fell apart, was too soft (it said firm on the box) but didn’t matter just let it get crispy and when all mixed together didn’t matter.
    You really need a hot hot pan for this and need to work quickly.
    I used lodge cast iron pan cooking on gas, don’t have a wok. It worked well. Had never heard of preserved radish before, I found preserved turnip at Thai store and worked great. I think it’s the same thing.
    I thought this was delicious, not wet, good flavor, nice crispy bits. Will definitely make again. Thanks Deb!

  46. This was amazing! So excited that you posted a pad thai recipe as it’s one of my favorite foods. I stopped at an Asian market near me to pick up the tamarind concentrate, fish sauce, preserved radish and rice noodles. When I was checking out the Asian woman asked me if I wanted kaffir lime leaves to add – she knew I was making pad thai. I said yes – such a great flavor!! Highly recommend. This dish turned out fantastic and pleased my mom, who is a HUGE pad thai person.

  47. Callie

    I never leave comments on the hundreds of recipes of yours that I have tried, but so loved this, so must! I didn’t have the radishes, but alas. I used pre-fried tofu from our local Phoenix Bean Co. in Chicago which made it easier by a step. Delish!

  48. Valerie

    I can’t eat tofu because it is soy. My family has a history of thyroid disease. Will this recipe work just as well with chicken?

  49. Dani

    Made this tonight and it was fantastic, next time i’ll probably bake the tofu and season them after baking a bit more as they were a tad bland for me but otherwise this was AMAZING and so easy. Side note: I couldn’t find sweet preserved radish so used sweet preserved turnip instead and it was delicious.

  50. Memasu

    This was just so delicious. I prepped everything in the afternoon and then it came together quickly when I made it for dinner. It will be fun to tinker with the amounts of the different elements of the sauce; I made it with Red Boat fish sauce and reconstituted tamarind paste and found it needed more sugar and heat than the recipe called for. I added shrimp too. Couldn’t find garlic chives but I found out later they are also called Chinese chives so I’ll look for those next time. I used the linked recipe from the article as a reference as well and it was helpful. This was so much more satisfying than the Thai takeout we usually get! Yum. Thank you for sharing!

  51. Emily

    WOW this is good! I made this last night and my fiancé said it’s the best pad thai he’s ever had… and I absolutely agree! Can’t wait to make this again!

  52. Bridgit

    I melded this recipe with 101cookbooks sunshine pad Thai (it involves turmeric in the noodle soaking water for a stunning yellow noodle). I made my first batch fairly small, and learned I should have done 3, not 2, but either way, it was the best pad Thai I’ve ever made. Thanks for taking the time to write all the notes.

  53. My friend and I have been trying to make the perfect pad Thai for months now. We tried your version last night, had one bite, then looked at each other and asked, “What now?” This was perfect and will now become our Friday night tradition.

  54. Thanks for the amazing recipe! I made this earlier this week and plan on making another batch today with the leftover ingredients. The noodles and sauce were delicious, but there’s one element I’m still trying to debug – the tofu pieces were so, so bland, as if they were never even in the vicinity of the sauce. I’m not sure if I just need to make more sauce, or if frying the tofu less would make it more absorbent, or if there are other tricks I should try. (I saw a couple comments mentioning brining the tofu or coating it in cornstarch before frying, but I wasn’t sure of the extent to which this was for flavor reasons vs. texture reasons.) Any suggestions?

  55. loolooeasy

    This looks so good! I’ve read that sprinkling cornstarch over the tofu before frying will make it really crispy but I’ve never tried it.

  56. This was great! I bought the special ingredients (the radish, the tamarind paste, the vegan fish sauce) on Amazon, because I didn’t want to count on my local Whole Foods and I am so glad I did.

    I also made this with some rice noodles and some “carrot noodles” (basically spiralized carrots) to cut the carbs and amp up the veggies further, and carrot noodles worked beautifully with this (just adding them in when I added in the partially-cooked rice noodles). It was delicious, fairly quick to come together, and pretty close to the flavor of takeout pad thai without feeling super heavy or oily.

  57. I have just come back home after 6 months of travelling across Southeast Asia. I have spent a month and half in Thailand and Pad Thai is one of my fav Thai dishes. Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe – Pad Thai is tomorrow on my menu!

  58. Ryan

    This was very simple but very deliscious! I added more garlic and used chili paste sauce. I also ended up making it with lions mane instead of tofu. Incredible!
    Thanks for sharing

  59. Kimberly

    Deb, I’m confused by the instructions for soaking the noodles. What does “hot water” mean? Boiling or hot water from the tap?

  60. Petrina

    Thanks Deb, once again, you’ve nailed it! Delicious, not goopy, not too much overpowering sauce [like many recipes have]. It was light, multi-flavoured [tangy/sweet] and had all those great textures. You rock!

  61. Marianne

    Hi Deb, I’ve made this twice now. I cut the fish sauce in half the second time, but still perhaps I have extremely fishy fish sauce, it seems tsp. Measure might work better. Anyhow, you are still my favorite, your recipes are inspiring and delicious. If you have any advice for helping me get through perfecting the pad Thai, i’d Appreciate it!

  62. Katarina

    This was amazing. I had to hit my palm sugar block with a rolling pin to break it apart so the measurements weren’t exact and I played it a little fast and loose with the tamarind but it was delicious. Thank you for all of the detail. It really made this dish accessible.

  63. Lipstick Librarian

    I’ve followed the video by Jet Tila on YouTube where he demonstrates his recipe and method for making Pad Thai, and here is the link below:

    It’s taken me a couple of tries, but the end result is authentic and FABULOUS!

    I make a large vat of the Tamarind Sauce so that it is in my fridge at all times.

    Living in Vancouver BC with our enormous and diverse Asian population I am able to find most, if not all, the ingredients, including raw tamarind pods.

  64. Natalie

    This recipe was an 9/10 for me! I was able to easily find all of the ingredients at our local H-Mart. I really appreciated the notes on the ingredients below the recipe–those were really helpful as I had never cooked with tamarind concentrate or the preserved radishes before. My husband commented that the tofu was the best I had ever made–loved it with the bit of salt and chili powder, very snackable! After putting together the sauce, we did a taste-test and it was 100% spot on to the “pad thai taste.” The dish came together easily and quickly. Only thing I would change–more sauce. Ours was quite light (might have used too many noodles), but overall loved it. Will be making this again soon!

  65. Maggie

    We made this tonight. Didn’t love it. I think the problem was the cheap fish sauce we used. We bought the cheapest bottles and I think that was a mistake. I mixed up 3 or 4 batches of sauce, and my husband and I both said we wouldn’t eat it. I finally made another bowl of sauce, and reduced the fish sauce amount and made up the difference with soy sauce. This time it wasn’t bad, and we finished cooking and ate it. But it wasn’t the authentic taste we were craving. Lesson learned: ingredient quality matters! We might seek out a better brand fish sauce and try again. The recipe was very easy to follow, and the noodles came out the right texture.

  66. Mrs. Fakename

    WOAH. We used Tamicon brand tamarind concentrate and it was SUPER overpowering and way too tangy. The sauce turned out a dark brown color– it must have been much more concentrated than the brand used in the original recipe. Otherwise good stuff, if you dial that way down.

  67. Violetta

    I did it! I can’t believe I did it! 2 trips to the asian market and reading the recipe 32 times and I did it! I would have never ever tried this without your encouragement Deb. I feel so cool and important!

  68. Esvee

    So happy that my quest for perfect pad thai at home has ended! I made this tonight, as written but without the important addition of fish sauce. By coincidence I had everything else the recipe called for and didn’t want to wait. I used lime juice instead, tablespoon for tablespoon, and I was surprised at how well it turned out. I used Desiam brand tamarind sauce – its ingredients are tamarind, water and sugar, and I had none of the issues that other reviewers had with overpowering flavor or stickiness. Thank you Deb!

  69. I love SK recipes but this was a big fail for me. Barely a smidgen of sauce and it was not tasty. Oh well, on to the next recipe! (I went to Asian grocery and bought tamarind in a sticky block, softened it with hot water….)

  70. Jayne

    Hi Deb,
    Could you recommend a brand of fish sauce? Doesn’t have to be vegetarian. I’ve bought it in the past, and whatever brand I chose was downright awful! My recollection is that it was outrageously salty, even in the tiniest dose. Thank you!

  71. mypureplants

    Pad thai is my all-time favourite thai food. I know it is only the garnish but the crushed peanuts are the best part. With them you have everything, sweet and savoury, soft and crunchy. Thanks for sharing a meat-free recipe.

  72. I had been inspired to make this for so long, and I finally did (with lots of modifications for my dietary wierdness). I subbed ginger for garlic, and I used carrots, kohlrabi, and cilantro in place of the other veggies and sprouts. I also added some peanut butter to the sauce, since I didn’t have crushed peanuts, and the sauce tasted way too acidic for me. Yum! Making it again tonight with the leftover tofu!

  73. Now I have a wicked craving for Pad Thai. Looks amazing. One tip for crispy tofu which you might slready know is to toss it in cornstarch before frying.

  74. rebeany

    mixed results. the noodles weren’t fully cooked (and i let them simmer in the sauce with extra time. not horrible but a little too toothy. i used ‘de siam’ tamarind which seems to be premixed with a little sugar in 1 tbsp. packets at whole foods. i added a drop of extra sugar but we don’t like our food too sweet. used red boat fish sauce. my husband was happier than me. i woke up this morning still having fish sauce as my main taste. odd. overwhelming. i have decided to leave pad thai to the pros.
    that said, i added slivered red peppers into the wok and that part we loved.

  75. Emmy

    I love your recipes, but this one was inedible. I made it exactly as described, but I couldn’t eat more than a couple spoonfuls. So sad.

  76. Loved this recipe! I used 2 tablespoons Tamicon tamarind concentrate, Red Boat fish sauce and 2 tablespoons brown sugar in the sauce, with a couple pinches of chili powder. Next time I will up the brown sugar to 3 tablespoons and use Sriracha instead of chili powder and it will be perfect! I also think I’ll bake the tofu next time to prevent my kitchen smelling like oil for a few days and I can still get a similar crispy texture. Overall great recipe and I will definitely make again!

  77. Ruth

    Have just made and eaten this two nights running. It’s a most brilliant go-to meal. I feel as if I want to eat it every night. I left out the sugar (as I gave it up two months ago), and can’t imagine it any sweeter. Last night I had cashews which seemed perfect. But I bought some peanuts today specially, and they rather spoilt it. I would used them again, but in lesser quantities, and chopped. The tip from a reader about coating the tofu in cornflower was great. All in all I am VERY happy.

  78. niinalehikoinen

    Making pad thai is a form of art – I love your dedication and modifications! I will try this recipe as soon as I’m home from Africa and can find all the ingredients – cannot wait! I searched for months the taste profile that I fell in love with at a street food market in Koh Samui before nailing it. That version had both galanga root and ginger, lots of dried and fresh chili, and dried shrimp.

  79. Jennifer

    Made this as directed, sort of! I added a few shrimp for my tofu-adverse child, and skipped the egg. I used scallions and felt like there were too many of them for my taste, but maybe because they were kind of old and tough. I used Por Kwan brand tamarind concentrate and it wasn’t overpowering. There was a bit too much sauce after all my tweaking, but I just held some back as I was cooking. I did not have the preserved radishes so I used a mix of homemade pickled onions and umeboshi plums for that funky preserved taste. Probably not a convenient pantry substitution for many people, but it’s what I had. I used more bean sprouts than called for. It was good! Quicker than delivery on a Friday night, and the dishes aren’t bad either!

  80. Juhi

    I always have tamarind paste which I used half of what’s mentioned cuz it’s really tangy! I also used jaggery instead of brown sugar. And Worcestershire sauce instead of fish sauce as I don’t like the flavor or smell of fish sauce. My noodles turned mushy In the pan. In hindsight I should have soaked it for only two mins perhaps (the packet instructed for four mins to cook). I also ended up adding a fair bit of salt in the end. The lemon juice really helps btw! Oh, and heating the pan for two mins on high meant none of my tofu stuck to my pan! (Which as another commenter noted when sprinkled with salt and chili powder is yummy all on its own!). This is super tasty. Next time might experiment adding veggies since we love veggies in all our noodles including pad Thai! Thanks for another winner, Deb!

  81. sharonhildahanna

    Thanks Deb for this recipe. Luckily I live in Vancouver which has many, many, many places to buy Asian stuff including preserved radish, etc. I didn’t have a lime or garlic chives but am going to try it again with EVERY ingredient. Have garlic chives in the garden however they are only up about 1/2 an inch. Really appreciate how much work this was for you! But it is so delicious and satisfying, and costs almost nothing to make. Used a bit of chicken as well as the tofu. BTW there is a very weird comment which you might want to delete about some faith healer or ? Argh.

  82. Megan Rose

    Although I have faith in you, Deb, I was sceptical about whether this really, truly could be a genuine pad Thai. (Since, as discussed above and below, even Thai takeaways – let alone recipes – more often than not disappoint.) I shouldn’t have doubted. As my husband said on putting the first forkful in his mouth: “Wow, it’s like a proper pad Thai!” Thanks so much. I’ll be making this regularly. Also – we never liked tofu until tonight! Thank you for enlightening us!

  83. Marlana

    Well, I should have read the comments first. Not all “tamarind concentrate” is equal. Agree with most everyone else that it was too tamarind-y, though definitely more authentic than anything with ketchup. Everyone at it (including 7 and 4 year olds), but agreed it needed some tweaks. We’ll keep this recipe and dial back the tamarind. Otherwise, I’m glad to have this enter the repetoire for being unexpectedly easy to make at home.

  84. Steph

    I had some dried apricots that I hydrated and smashed into a pulp as a substitute for tamarind. It worked pretty well!

  85. Jon

    I love Pad Thai. This is my favorite whenever I travel to Thailand. The good thing about this dish is it has many variations. The fried tofu clearly makes this more delicious. Thanks for sharing this recipe. :)

  86. Elissa

    My partner doesn’t like bean sprouts so I make this with a substitution of sautéed broccoli and it is so damn good. Thanks for making pad Thai easy and accessible!

  87. Andrea

    I’ve always love this post, and think about it now more than ever (in the face of B.A. & Alison Roman controversies). Thank you for giving credit, not whitewashing and overall for being thoughtful about the way your wrote about it.

    Also Kin Khao is PHENOMENAL for anyone who gets the chance to go!

  88. Janice in Brooklyn

    OK, I am really late to the party here, but I cannot exist without sharing my amazement at this recipe. I have tried many Pad Thai recipes (Mostly of the ketchup-y ilk referenced in the notes) and it is the barometer for which I rate every Thai restaurant I visit so I’ve had my fair share of pad Thai. I admit to having my doubts about the Tamarind paste that I had to special order, and the pickled radishes that look like fish food (also special order, thanks Amazon), but after having devoted most of my quarantine cooking time to making my way through Smitten Kitchen recipes with overwhelmingly stunning results (to the degree that we have already committed to a new Christmas morning tradition that includes Raspberry Hazelnut Brioche Bostock) I had built up a certain level of trust here. I even had my doubts as I was cooking this recipe – I questioned the sauce (too sour? Should I go 5 teaspons of brown sugar???), my tofu said silken AND extra firm on the box (??), my noodles were both crunchy and gummy when I drained them, and…the radishes (I have to just trust they are in fact radishes because they look, smell and taste nothing like them). But man, it all came together in the end into the most flavorful, fresh, not greasy, dare I say better than take-out pad Thai I have ever had in my life. Thank you Deb for teaching me how to make this without leaving the house, you my friend, are amazing. Oh and the confetti cookies are boss!!! I am so enjoying pouring through the archives of this site right now!!!!! Thank you, thank you!

  89. Mandy

    We found this WAY too strong. I doubled the recipe, maybe it doesn’t scale up well? I would make 1/2 the sauce and dilute with a lot of water. I added 1/2 cup water to the pan but still needs way more…

  90. Laura C.

    I made this last night, it was deeeelicious. It was the right amount for two people but if there had been more I would have eaten it for sure. Love your recipes!

  91. Sarah

    This was so good!! The crispy tofu was perfect. I made it last week, and since I still had all the ingredients, I made it again tonight. Easy to throw together once you have everything.

  92. Lisa Undercoffler

    Thank you for this. I haven’t found a “go-to” Pad Thai recipe and my attempts make me just want to order takeout!

    One word of advice (painfully learned from my last attempt): not all tamarind pastes are a like. Indian tamarind paste (at least the one that comes in jars) is WAY more concentrated and sour than the Thai kind (which often comes in bricks). Do NOT attempt to use it as a substitute!

    Also I recently learned that most Chinese restaurants freeze their tofu before cooking; when frozen the pockets of liquid glom together to become bigger pockets, and when defrosted the water runs out creating crevices for yummy sauces to infiltrate. Have you ever heard of Thai cooks doing this? I just froze my first batch and will use it soon, but my attempts at making crispy tofu are never quite “there” … wondering if this is a trick that could work in a home cooking situation.

    1. Becca

      Just discovered this recipe and I’m not confident cooking with tofu, so I’m searching the comments for tips. Wondering what your results were.

  93. Jessica

    Glad I read the comments beforehand! I used one tablespoon of Miss Pattys tamarind paste mixed with two tablespoons of water and that was perfect. I included shallots in mine because I just love the flavor and happy I did. I will make this again for sure with a few other adjustments. Also didn’t have garlic chives, so used green onions. I see this first time as my test run. It tasted just as pad thai should!

  94. edin

    Info to anybody from Netherlands who want to try this: all ingredients are possible to find in supermarkets except the preserved radish. I did some research and followed some gut instincts and as a replacement used the Atjar Tampoer (similar Indonesian ingredient) which can be found at most supermarkets (or online stores) thanks to the sizeable Indonesian community here. It worked like a charm! My girlfriend was amazed I was able to recreate the exact pad thai we loved every time we visit Thailand. Thanks for the great recipe!

  95. Shipra

    I have been trying to find a good pad thai recipe, and so glad I found this! I used tamicon, as many others have mentioned, and diluted 1 tsp tamarind paste with 2 tbsp of water. I didn’t use the preserved radish, and it was still delicious.

  96. Chelsea

    Made this yesterday – biggest warning is not to weigh down your noodles while they soak, or they will stick together and never cook through properly! Otherwise very good. I’ll up the sauce a bit next time, but that might just be a result of my estimating ingredients and lacking things like preserved radishes and garlic chives.

  97. Julie

    Made this for New Year’s Eve dinner – absolutely delicious!! I was able to find some of the ingredients (like the sweetened preserved radish) at an Asian market. Thank you so much for this recipe!!

  98. Leek

    This turned out really well, and tasted just like the best restaurant versions. I used GloryBee organic tamarind puree, Red Boat fish sauce, and one Tbs of palm sugar. I ended up with more sauce than I needed. The preserved radish is really tasty and worth seeking out.

  99. Anne

    Awesome Pad Thai – sauce is so great I made extra so it was more on the sticky side. I did make it with chicken abs swapped the chilli and radish for kim chi which was lovely!

  100. Laura

    We made this last night and the recipe took quite a bit of time, and when we put in the tamarind that we bought specifically for this recipe, the whole house smells so badly. We were hoping that didn’t mean that the taste would be affected But unfortunately, this was the worst dish we’ve ever made. What did we do wrong? We followed your instructions , We read me your notes on tamarind… In the end, we try to rinsing off all the sauce because we were so excited and hungry And could not figure out what went wrong! Even rinsing off the sauce did not take out the acidic bad flavor. It did not taste like pad Thai. We love all of your recipes. We have made many many of them.

  101. Lauren

    I made this today and it was super bland. I was really disappointed because normally I love your recipes! I think it needed more sauce?

  102. Bethany

    I have no idea what happened, but this goes down as one of the worst meals I’ve ever made. Which is a huge bummer because I love pad thai, and this was my first time attempting to cook it. I didn’t have the radish, but other than that followed the recipe, and the noodles came out really dark and super sour. But also not very flavorful? It’s a very odd tasting dish, not remotely like any pad thai I’ve ever had, so I can’t imagine the radish would have saved it. Will not make again, although I do wish I knew what went wrong (used red boat and tamicon, for what it’s worth).

  103. Rebecca Woo

    Love this recipe but have a hard time getting tofu crispy on the stovetop. We found that coating the tofu cubes (the cut up peaces) with vegetable oil and a bit of cornstarch and toasting them in the oven works well.

  104. Emjay

    My tamarind paste and fish sauce in the sauce mix were super dark as many others described, but it turned out basically perfectly regardless. I think I might have slightly overcooked my noodles, but they were under 85 degree C hot water for an accidental 11 min prior to drain for those curious about how I cooked them.

    I had no problems crisping my tofu and this is definitely a hot weather hit. My spouse, who is not normally a tofu person, enjoyed their entire plate with great joy and a small hit of soy sauce to add seasoning at the end. I added some sriracha. Thanks Deb!

  105. Ann

    This is the best Pad Thai recipe that I’ve made! So many of them call for non-authentic ingredients like ketchup (barf!) and end up tasting nothing like the real thing.
    I highly recommend reading through the entire recipe including the ingredient tips. If you use tamarind paste instead of concentrate you have to use more water. This is outlined in the ingredient info, but could be missed.

  106. Wynne Cook

    This was delicious, and EASY thanks to the excellent directions and suggested modifications. I didn’t have the radishes, or tamarind or sprouts. I used thinly sliced Napa for the crispiness, once everything was prepped, it took just minutes to put together. This is definitely another SK keeper!!

  107. Kim

    Tonight, I learned that at least the tofu crisping part really needs to be done in a true nonstick pan. My enameled cast iron made crispy bits which stuck to the bottom of the pan…not the tofu cubes! Oops.