pad thai

August 12, 2010

I may or may not have had Pad Thai on the brain since last week when I ordered it for lunch during a work takeout/viral video lunch hour fest. Watching viral videos on your lunch break with your coworkers is a recipe for win, FYI. As is chowing down on $5 take out Pad Thai from across the street.

Anyway, back to this Pad Thai. And Thailand.

Thailand is a magical place. I’ve had the luck and pleasure of visiting there twice before.

Grand Palace, Bangkok

The first time was part of a year of backpacking which I promise to go into more detail about soon (trust me, you don’t have to twist my arm). The second time was for my brother’s amazing destination wedding a couple of years ago.

Flower girl for the wedding! On Koh Mai Phai

The second time around after all the wedding shenanigans were over, Dan and I along with my sister and her partner decided to travel up north and away from the beaches and islands where we’d been for the wedding. We ventured up to Chiang Mai and Pai and spent some time in Bangkok before flying home.

Hiking to the top of Ko Phi Phi

Whilst we were in Pai, which is in hilly northern Thailand, I took a cookery course with an amazing guy who welcomed us into his home for the day to teach us to cook an array of dishes.

We hung out with Tee the day before and told him what we were interested in making and he got up at the crack of dawn the next day to buy all the goods from the market. Apparently we were still sleeping.

When we turned up at his house the next day, we were ready to go. It was one of the most memorable days from my trip and such a wonderful learning experience in so many different ways. Travelling is the best.

We made curries in the morning (green and Massaman amongst others)

and in the evening we came back to make stir fried holy basil:

And, of course, Pad Thai.

And then we smoked hookah and guzzled Leo beer before I tipsily fell in love with Tee’s dog and thought about stealing her.

Along with my memories and photos, Tee sent me off with a bound cookbook that included all the recipes for things we’d made, plus more. You can probably imagine how much I treasure this book.

And you might remember that I tried my hand at green curry earlier this year. I’ve been itching to try out Pad Thai so here goes nothing!

Pad Thai
(for one person)


  • 100 g narrow rice noodles or glass noodles
  • 50 g hard tofu, cut into small cubes
  • 50 g bean sprouts (or chinest cabbage, cut into 1cm strips)
  • 20 spring onions (green onions) cut one inch long
  • 1 tbsp dried shrimp (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp tamarind juice or vinegar
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce


  1. Put all ingredients on a plate! Separate the hard and soft vegetables.
  2. Put three tbsp vegetable oil in your wok and fry the tofu til it’s yellow and crunchy.
  3. Add shrimp for 5 seconds (optional).
  4. Add the garlic, fry until it’s yellow and the smell is stronger.
  5. Move everything to the side of the wok and break the egg into the middle. Scramble the egg, then mix everything together.
  6. Turn up the heat a little bit and add noodles. Stir until noodles get soft.
  7. Add the sauce.
  8. Check the taste!
  9. Add soft vegetables (bean sprouts) and the spring onions, stir it about ten seconds.
  10. Turn off the heat and garnish with crushed peanuts and ground pepper.


I don’t own a wok and my life might be better if I did. My pad thai would definitely be better.

Yes, the measurements are in Imperial. It’s easy to find conversions online.

The wording is Tee’s, not mine :)

I did not use three types of soy sauce but I did use two.

Tee’s biggest thing with every dish was making sure everything was set up on a plate before you began so that it was an easy, smooth and above all, quick process.

And finally, I effed up on the noodles. Which means I am blind or stupid and read the weight on the package completely wrong and thought I needed the whole lot instead of the quarter package I actually needed.

I have this habit of making big mistakes when I’m following recipes and even though my gut is telling me “Angharad, that is an obscene amount of noodles and you will drown the entire dish in them“, I still second guess myself and “follow” the recipe (in this case I just read everything wrong. Let’s put it down to lack of sleep?)

I think it’s part of not being a hugely experienced cook and of learning. I need to trust my judgment more!

Anyway, I didn’t use all the noodles but I still used too many and hence my pad thai was noodle-tastic. You have been warned.
You know what though? I don’t think it mattered one bit. I inhaled a restaurant-sized portion of this in no time at all and my mister inhaled the rest on his return from brat-fest. All signals pointing to yum there, no?

What is your favourite dish from a country other than your own?
I think Indian food wins for me and the dish would have to be either chana masala or lamb rogan josh.

What are you most looking forward to doing this weekend?
I’m off to the north shore (of Lake Superior, for out-of-towners) for the weekend to go camping and hiking with my man. Amazingly excited. I’ll be back Monday and see you then with some updates, hopefully cool pictures and maybe some delicious food!

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Vaughna August 12, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Awesome post! How did you find out about Tee's cooking class?


Megan (The Runner's Kitchen) August 12, 2010 at 3:26 pm

oh goodness – this post makes me envious! Your trip to Thailand and your Pad Thai look amazing :)

I'm actually headed to a BYOB thai restaurant tomorrow night – I think I'll need to get pad thai!


Kacy August 12, 2010 at 3:30 pm

AH! Thanks for the recipe! I overdid it with the noodles on my attempt too :(


Evan Thomas August 12, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Awesome! I need to try this with rice noodles and gluten-free soy sauce. I haven't had pad thai in ages


Holly August 12, 2010 at 3:59 pm


i want the pad thai, the return trip to Thailand, the cooking class, the everything in this post. one of my faves…probably because Thailand is featured front and center. and because i have always that exact same picture from Koh Phi Phi.

i also took a cooking class, and the recipes are buried somewhere. there is one for tamarind shrimp. oh my heavens, its delicious.

Indian food also wins for me, which is utterly ridic we haven't eaten it together.

and i am going to be busy this weekend – surprise party, friend visit, freelance writing and cleaning!!!


Erica August 12, 2010 at 4:02 pm

WOW! What an experience. I bet learning to cook there was just amazing. This dish looks so so good. Josh is a major pad thai fan.

My favorite food is probably anything Mediterranean. Your weekend plans sound like fun. My sister is in town and I hope to spend some time with her and I need some sunshine


elise August 12, 2010 at 4:29 pm

traveling IS the best…the BEST!!!

i want to go to thailand so badly. i did before, but now i do more than ever!
i agree that indian food is pretty legit. chana masala…mmmmm.
this weekend will be full of fun with so cal friends. have fun at the lake!


Carrie August 13, 2010 at 9:02 am

Great post! Next time I make pad thai, I'm trying this recipe. The one from Cook's Illustrated has been the best in my mind so far, but I can't pass on one that comes from Thailand.


emily (a nutritionist eats) August 13, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Thailand is #1 on my "places to visit" list. I HAVE to get there asap.
I've actually been wanting to make pad thai recently so I think this is the recipe I will go with – it is authentic after all!
Now, where do you get these random soy sauces and other different ingredients? Do I need to go to an Asian store? Do you have a favorite?


christina August 13, 2010 at 1:06 pm

I made my first dish with tofu last week- but used udon noodles- it was very good and i am beginning to LOVE tofu. your dish looks delicious! p.s. you are so naturally pretty!!!!!


Kendel @ Eating Abroad August 14, 2010 at 2:58 pm

I've always wanted to do a cookery course while traveling. How did you find your course? Was it advertised or was it a lucky coincidence? Any suggestions would be great! Thanks!


penny. LA August 14, 2010 at 8:22 pm

I just found your blog – and I'm in love!

My husband cooks pad thai ALL the time. I think he gets a big kick out of visiting Chinatown and getting all the authentic ingredients…

I'll be seeing you around!


Katie August 15, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Pad Thai is in my top 3 favorite dishes ever, but I've never attempted it. I can almost taste as i look at your pictures and read the recipe. Thank you for sharing this!


sophia August 15, 2010 at 8:11 pm

Yay you actually used tamarind! I just listened to a podcast lamenting about how the pad thai in America is barely authentic, and that many people skip essential ingredients like tamarind.


Diana @ frontyardfoodie August 15, 2010 at 8:31 pm

Whoa! What a beautiful trip! I love the scenery! I would have never thought of a destination wedding there but it looks amazing.

I love a good pad thai but it's hard to find in the midwest I'll tell you that much. haha


Angharad August 16, 2010 at 7:52 am

Vaughna and Kendel, finding Tee's cooking class was a mixture of looking and coincidence.

We had read that Pai had a lot of cooking classes on offer but didn't have any one particular one in mind. Tee's house happened to be almost on the doorstep of the place we were staying and we just saw a sign outside one day and knocked on the door! Best decision ever!


Angharad August 16, 2010 at 7:58 am


You don't need to go to the Asian grocery store for Soy Sauce but maybe for Tamarind juice or dried shrimp…

There are some great Asian grocery stores in Minneapolis. Shuang Hur on Nicollet and 27th (on the corner) is great and where we go most often. Otherwise there's a place called United Noodle off of 24th and Minnehaha Avenue. I'd recommend just going to either of those and taking a wander around. They're really fun and you can find a ton of interesting ingredients and foods that aren't available in the western supermarkets.


Alexa @ Sohdalex August 19, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Your pad thai looks wonderful! I have never had pad thai with such thin noodles but as a girl who likes a lot of tiny food I feel like this would make the whole eating pad thai process way more enjoyable ;)

How was traveling through Thailand? Would you recommend going there??


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