Shrimp and Chicken Pad Thai
In a large bowl, soak the noodles in warm water and cover for 1 hour.
Place a wok over high heat and add the vegetable oil, coating the pan completely. When the pan starts to smoke, add the garlic and stir for 5 seconds, followed quickly by the turnip, dried shrimp, and tofu. Stir-fry until they begin to soften, for 3-4 minutes.
Add the chicken and stir-fry until no longer pink, for 1-2 minutes. Push the ingredients in the wok to the side and allow the oil to settle in the center of the pan.
Crack the eggs into the pan, making sure to break the yolks, then lightly scramble until half-cooked, for about 30 seconds. Combine with the remaining cooked ingredients in the pan.
Add the shrimp and cook until the chicken and shrimp are medium done, about 1 minute. Drain the noodles and add them to the wok. Cook until soft, for about 2-3 minutes. Add the sauce and paprika, if using, and fold together until the paprika evenly colors the noodles and all of the liquid is absorbed, for about 2 minutes.
Place the scallions in the center of the noodles, and then spoon some noodles over the scallions, allowing them to steam for 30 seconds. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the peanuts.
Transfer to serving plate and garnish with the bean sprouts and remaining peanuts and enjoy.
- 6 oz.dried Thai rice noodles
- 3 Tbs. canola oil or peanut oil
- 1/2 lb. large shrimp, peeled, deveined, rinsed, and patted dry
- Kosher salt
- 3 scallions (white and green parts), trimmed and thinly sliced
- 3 Thai bird chiles or 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
- 1 Tbs. peeled and minced fresh ginger
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 cups thinly sliced leftover roast chicken (or store-bought rotisserie chicken)
- 2 cups fresh bean sprouts
- 1-1/2 Tbs. Thai fish sauce
- 1 Tbs. rice vinegar
- 1 Tbs. sugar
- 1/4 cup chopped dry-roasted peanuts
- 1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving
Pad Thai Recipe with Chicken or Shrimp
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If you are one that LOVES Thai food as much as I do, a good Pad Thai Recipe with Chicken or Shrimp is a must have. I’ve tweaked and tried different recipes, and this is the result. I can’t imagine you’ll be disappointed. If you need more ideas for a fabulous Thai dinner, you will also want to try my Thai pad kee mao drunken noodles and my panang curry.
What is Pad Thai?
When looking at a Thai menu, when you see the word “pad,” you know it is a noodle dish. Pad thai is listed at number five on a list of “World’s 50 most delicious foods” readers’ poll compiled by CNN Go in 2011. It is probably the most ordered item on an American Thai Restaurant. You could look at it as a gateway to Thai cuisine.
Here is how it is described on Wikipedia, “Pad thai is made with soaked dried rice noodles, which are stir-fried with eggs and chopped firm tofu, and is flavored with tamarind pulp, fish sauce, dried shrimp, garlic or shallots, red chili pepper and palm sugar and served with lime wedges and often chopped roasted peanuts.”
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This recipe can be made fairly quickly, which is nice. You might be a busy mom like me, so I love recipes that cook rapidly. Most ingredients can be found in a everyday grocery store also. The only one that would probably require an asian store visit would be the tamarind paste. Once you have that, however, you will have enough to make Pad Thai Recipe with Chicken or Shrimp over and over again.
With cooking, I love to prep everything, and this one is easy. You’ll have to measure a few items, but the only thing to really prep is cutting the chicken or de-shelling the shrimp, shredding the carrots, slicing the green onions and chopping the garlic and peanuts. Shredding carrots is easy with this tool. Chopping garlic and peanuts is easy with this tool.
Cut the boneless, skinless chicken thighs into 6 pieces. Heat sesame and canola oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add chicken and stir-fry in wok until lightly browned and cooked through. Add the minced garlic and onions and cook until onions are translucent.
Meanwhile, prepare rice noodles by placing them in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to stand for 6-8 minutes, until softened but still firm. Drain well.
Add carrots, peppers and shrimp to the skillet. Cook until shrimp have turned pink and are cooked through.
Stir in the soy sauce, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, turmeric and curry powder into the skillet and mix thoroughly. Add rice noodles and heat through. Add well-beaten eggs and allow them to set slightly and then stir into mixture. Add bean sprouts and toss again.
To serve, spoon onto serving platter. Garnish with green onions, minced coriander (cilantro) and/or peanuts.
Don’t have bean sprouts? Substitute finely shredded cabbage. Ground chicken can also be substituted for the thighs.
- rice noodles
- green onion
Bag 2: (dehydrated sauce powder)
- fish sauce
- tamarind paste
- cayenne pepper
- rice vinegar
- garlic powder
- true lime (add to powder, after dehydrating)
Pad thai has a long interesting history with its popularity in food culture spurred by post World War II recovery efforts in Thailand.
Regardless of humble beginnings it is now a popular staple even outside of Thailand, not only because it's affordable but also because it's incredibly dang tasty! Naturally it finds a perfect place on a site about cheap and tasty backpacking foods like this one.
While there exists pre-made pad thai backpacking meals, the majority of them don't taste much like pad thai. They typically taste like rice noodles slathered in peanut butter. What I find missing is that rich unctuous savory flavor that manages to simultaneously taste fresh and light. If you've never had pad thai, just chalk up the last sentence to food snobbery or go find some to try for yourself and you'll understand.
Unfortunately the fresh and light taste doesn't exactly lend well with backpacking food. After all, we're trying to preserve our food. Be that as it may, I've come up with a recipe that gets incredibly close in taste, albeit sacrificing some texture.
While you can absolutely stir fry meals in the backcountry, it's just not worth the hassle in my lazy humble opinion.
So without stir frying, this recipe ends up a little wetter than pad thai normally would be. You can however give it the ol' ‘wok hei’ if you're up to it. But even without stir frying, the resulting flavor more than makes up for the textural loss.
My favorite recipe for making pad thai comes from America's Test Kitchen: The New Best Recipe cookbook (it's really worth having a copy in the kitchen), and I think it tastes identical to what I normally get in a good Thai restaurant. So it serves as the basis for this dehydrated version.
First, the noodles. You’ll want something branded as “rice sticks” or contains the words “banh pho.” They come in a variety of widths, but choose the narrowest one so they’ll cook faster. If you can’t find anything with those words, look for white translucent flat noodles that contain rice as an ingredient, no wheat. They also shouldn’t be round, or refrigerated. Shelf stable flat rice noodles are what you’re after.
Then we have the sauce, which is pretty much the heart of the dish. Fish sauce, tamarind paste, and rice vinegar are the key players in this recipe (I absentmindedly forgot to include the rice vinegar in the photo, I added it later).
Everyone will tell you there's one brand that's better than another, and you should look for clarity, etc. I’ve tried numerous brands, they all taste very similar to me, just buy whatever you like or whatever is available it's all super fishy and salty anyway—they all get the job done.
Mix all the sauce components together and grab some panko breadcrumbs. Why panko? Because dehydrating a liquid sauce would be too messy. The panko gives it some body and viscosity so it doesn't run off your dehydrator tray. You could also use regular plain breadcrumbs, but I found they don't work as well because they're already ground up so fine.
The larger pieces of panko have more surface area to hold in all the fishy goodness.
Also, while it may seem intuitive to leave out the sugar, because sugary things are harder to dehydrate, you should definitely include it. I tried various attempts with and without sugar, using both regular breadcrumbs and panko. The best result was panko with sugar. All other attempts ended up in a leathery texture that wasn't easy to turn into a powder.
Despite the size and amount, you'll want to leave it running in the dehydrator for at least 12 hours or more. After the first couple of hours, check to see if it's solid enough to peel off your parchment, non-stick foil, or dehydrator sheet. That'll help it dry quicker and more evenly. Depending on the humidity, you may not be able to get it completely brittle. The edges and thinner parts should be crumbly to the touch while some pieces remain semi-leathery, but not wet or overly sticky.
Once the sauce is dry, toss it in your food processor or blender. If it starts to gum up, then it's not dry enough so toss it back into the dehydrator. You should be able to achieve a mostly powdered form, with a lot of fine powdery bits and some larger chunks about the size of cupcake sprinkles.
Then add ⅛ tsp of True Lime to this powder and mix well. The dehydrating process subdues the rice vinegar taste significantly adding True Lime brings back the acid and gives it the fresh light taste.
Congratulations, you've made the most important part of pad thai. Now onto the cooking of ingredients.
Rice noodles usually require a 60 minute soaking period, but who has an hour to spare while they're hungry? No one. So ignore the soaking instructions. Break the noodles down into smaller lengths so they can fit in your pot with the lid on. Combine with your other ingredients and add an inch or two of water.
You don't want to completely submerge everything. Use just enough so the bottom of your pot doesn’t burn, and so steam will rise up and soften the noodles not directly in the water.
Cover and simmer until noodles are soft enough to be pushed further down into the water. Shove'r.
If you've shoved all the noodles and ingredients down, and it's not covered in water, add more water until it just barely covers everything. Remember, it's easier to add more water than it is to remove it.
Now, we add our seasoning! The amount of seasoning to bring isn't really a science, some people might like it more salty or more bland. The recipe makes at least 1.5 to 2 servings of sauce, definitely don’t use it all in one pot. Toss some in, add some oil, stir, cover, and put your pot in a cozy or wrap it in a sweater to let the flavors meld and the ingredients fully rehydrate.
If you don’t have a cozy or sweater, just leave it covered, and occasionally place it back on the stove to bring it back up to temperature. Wait 5 to 10 minutes, most of the water will be absorbed and it will be thick and not at all runny.
Before you dig in, top with crushed peanuts (pick them out of your trail mix!) The only thing I wish this recipe had is some bean sprouts and fresh cilantro, but beggars can't be choosers! And if you’re wondering about sourcing the ingredients, you should be able to find it in most major supermarkets and definitely at smaller Asian stores.
How to Soften Rice Stick Noodles
Instead of boiling rice stick noodles, soak them instead. Because of their delicate nature, rice stick noodles should be only partially cooked when used in stir fries. Rice stick noodles are more delicate than wheat pasta noodles and will fall apart faster if over cooked and will soften as they cook alongside the other ingredients.
How to soften rice stick noodles. Place the noodles in a baking dish and cover with boiled water to soak for about 20 minutes. Agitate the noodles every so often so they don’t stick together. Or, bring a pot of water to boil, turn off the heat, and immerse the noodles in the water to soak.
- ¼ cup vegetable oil, divided
- 4 eggs
- 1 chicken breast, very thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely grated
- ½ inch peeled ginger, finely grated
- 2 tbsp sambal oelek
- 1 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp tamarind paste, seeds removed, softened in water
- Juice of 1 lime
- Splash of water
- ½ lb shrimp, peeled, tails on
- 4 cups bean sprouts
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- Handful of cilantro, picked
- ½ cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
- 200g (1 package) rice vermicelli noodles
- Salt and chili flakes (to taste)
Place noodles in a heat proof bowl or pot, cover with boiling water, let sit for 10 minutes until al dente. Lightly whisk eggs, a pinch of salt and cayenne pepper in a bowl.
Add 2 tbsp vegetable oil to a hot non-stick pan or wok on medium heat. Add eggs and scramble, remove and set aside. Turn heat up to medium-high, add remaining oil and chicken breast. Cook until browned, add garlic and ginger, stir. Next add sambal, peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, tamarind, lime juice and a splash of water. Stir until sauce forms.
Add shrimp and cook until warmed. Add bean sprouts, green onions, and noodles, toss so everything is coated in the sauce. Season with salt and chili flakes. Garnish with cilantro and peanuts.
Chicken and Shrimp Pad Thai
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Yes, my friends, you know what time it is … it’s Secret Recipe Club time!
Faithful readers of Rhubarb and Honey know that I’ve been participating in The Secret Recipe Club for awhile now. The idea of The Secret Recipe Club is similar to other blog exchanges in that each participating blogger is assigned another participating blog to make a recipe from, but the twist with The Secret Recipe Club is that you can’t tell anyone whose blog you have—shhhh, it’s a secret!—until you finally post about the blog you were assigned and the recipe you chose.
This month, my assigned blog was Flying on Jess Fuel, a lovely blog written by Jess, who currently resides in Mississippi and loves all things food. She and her fiancé Nick both share a passion for “delicious food, good red wines, and cold, frosty homebrews” … sounds pretty good to me!
Jess has a ton of recipes on her blog so it was difficult to choose just one for The Secret Recipe Club this month. Crock pot balsamic glazed pork tenderloin? This one looks so easy … and so delicious! Crab rangoon dip with baked wonton chips? I think The Chef would love me forever if I made this for him! Homemade pickles? I’m always on the lookout for new pickles recipes, but no … this just wasn’t the one either.
So, what was the one? Jess’s recipe for chicken pad thai! Both The Chef and I love pad thai, but I’d just never tried to make it at home. Sensing a kitchen winner might be upon us, I bit the bullet … and I found a true kitchen winner indeed!
My version below is slightly adapted from Jess’s recipe I added in shrimp and took out the bean sprouts, though they were definitely missed and will be added next time. I also mixed up the sauce a little, and I have a few more tweaks in mind for it the next time too … oh, yes, this recipe will be made again soon! Why? Because it was delicious!
With a nice balance of salty, sour, and sweet, the flavor profile was pretty close to the pad thai at my favorite Thai restaurant in St. Louis. The texture was just right too … soft and chewy, yet crunchy as well, this dish had a great mouth feel. And with the proper mise en place, homemade pad thai is a cinch to make … just read throught the recipe carefully, prepare all the componenets beforehand, and you’re good to go!
While I do have a few tweaks in mind when I make this dish again, I was really impressed with how it turned out on my first attempt … and so was The Chef! Thanks for a great recipe, Jess … I’m looking forward to making it again!
- 14 ounces dried Thai rice stick noodles
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 6 tablespoons fish sauce
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 4 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons peanut oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced
- Fresh lime wedges
A few notes on this recipe … most “authentic” pad thai recipes call for tamarind paste in the sauce. I will be adding this to my next version, along with some kaffir lime leaves to amp up the sour flavor. I’ll also be adding some red chile flakes, which I aptly forgot this time, though a little Srichacha (or a lot in the case of The Chef) fixed that minor blip. I’ll let you know how these changes work (or don’t)! Also, this recipe makes 6 large portions or 8 smaller portions … and you could easily cut it in half as well! Enjoy!
Reviews ( 47 )
I was a little surprised at how good this was. I did add some extra veggies - red and green pepper strips, shredded carrot. I do feel some cilantro would work better than the basil. The garlic sauce was just the right amount of heat for us. And I might try it with some chicken next time as my daughter is not a fan of shrimp. Definitely worthy for a quick and basic pad thai.
I made this tonight with my daughter, who is gluten intolerant. We used tamari instead of soy sauce, and added a lot of vegetables (about 2 cups of preshredded carrots, half a pepper, about a cup of sugar snap peas, some shredded fresh spinach, a scrambled egg, chopped peanuts, and used cilantro instead of basil). It was fresh, very tasty, fast and healthy. I might use julienned leftover pork loin next time.
It does have been sprouts in the recipe
Definitely a tasty dish, and I would make again. I used the chili garlic sauce, so not sure if the Sriracha would have been better. I wished I'd thought to add egg and snow peas, but I'll give that a whirl next time.
There are better pad thai recipes out there, but this is very quick and easy. I doesn't have a lot of traditional pad thai ingredients such as egg and bean sprouts.
Super easy, delicious meal! I stir fried snow peas, julienne sliced carrots and red bell pepper to add as reviews had mentioned there weren’t enough veggies. Left out the bean sprouts as I don’t care for them. Just added added a few drops of Sriracha. Left it up to everyone to add more if they wanted it more spicy. Made 1 1/2 times the sauce and that was perfect. Make sure to finish with fresh lime! Super fresh and tasty.
Meh. not bad but not great either. Husband said it was like noodles with a little bit of flavor but not as good as other pad thai recipes I've made. Maybe if the sauce were doubled it would be better? I added tofu and Asian veggies instead of bean sprouts. It was all eaten but no one asked me to make it again (and I wouldn't).
I doubled the recipe but I probably shouldn't have doubled the chili garlic sauce. It's spicy! But, it's very good. If you don't like things spicy, I would take it easy on the chili sauce and add more if you want it. Otherwise the flavor is great and it came together easily. A couple things I changed: I used chicken thighs and added some shredded cabbage and lime as a garnish.
Wonderful recipe! Added an egg, more vegies (carrots, shitake mushrooms, snow peas). A tad too spicy will probably put less siracha sauce next time but it is definitely a keeper.
I've made this a few times now, and I plan on making it tonight. My mouth is already watering. It tastes fresher and certainly lighter than the restaurant versions that I've had. I plan on serving it with a side of fresh asparagus tonight.
Wow, was this good! Swapped snow peas for the bean sprouts because it's what I had on hand, and added 1/2 tsp sesame oil to the sauce, as a few reviewers recommended. Will definitely make again.
Oh my gosh!! Amazing! I skipped the bean sprouts and green onions - cause hubby doesn't like them, and added the sesame oil to the sauce. Wow - great flavor and delicious! Can be made quick on a week night!
So good! I did add pea pods, carrots, and red pepper. Only thing to watch for is cooking the rice noodles long enough. They won't really soften much more once added in.
Really good! Our 12-yr-old was skeptical, but loved them! I took other reviewers' advice and added more veggies-snow peas and shaved carrots. I think that was the only change i made. Will def make again.
This is a really tasty recipe. Doesn't quite taste like restaurant pad thai (hence the loss of one star) but still really good. I followed what others said and added some thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms, half a red bell pepper, and shredded carrots. Glad I did, it was really good with fresh vegetables.
This was quick and easy and very yummy!! Once you take a few minutes to prep all the ingredients, cooks up very quickly. I didn't have any rice noodles so I used egg noodles instead, I ended up making a double portion of sauce as well. I will definitely make this again and maybe add some veggies. I like my shrimp very firm (overcooked to some) so if you do as well, I would boil or saute the shrimp before cooking in a wok with the onions.
Unbelievably delicious! Tastes like restaurant quality pad thai, though I made a few changes: 1) Used Rice Linguine noodles (Simply Thai) 2) Used a handful of cilantro in lieu of basil 3) Used a whole 8-oz bag of the mung beans. 4) Used peanut oil in lieu of canola & 5) Added 1/2 tsp of dark sesame oil & some lime juice to the sauce. Otherwise, made as directed and I couldn't believe the results. It really tastes like "take out" and I love that I know what went into the dish. Definitely a keeper - I already can't wait to make (and enjoy!) again!
I used what I had on hand to make this tonight. Subbed 8oz linguini for the noodles, and used clam juice instead of fish sauce. Also used peanut oil, and added sweet onions to saute with the shrimp. Hubby hates sprouts so I left those out but added two scrambled eggs. This came out wonderful, even with the changes made - quick to make and the flavors were simple but great. Not too spicy but definitely had a kick with the sriracha sauce. Served with baby carrots on the side. Will definitely make again!
Delicious and NOT GREASY,unlike take-out. I added more Sriracha and lime, as I usually do with flavorings, to most printed recipies. (We like more flavor/spice/heat than the average crowd). To have a healthier balance, the recipie could take double the shrimp, egg, sprouts, onion, etc. to the recipie's amount of noodles, or some more vegetables. We ended throwing away a pile of good noodles.
This was really good. It was light & fresh rather than deep or complex. Definitely spicy, so be forewarned if you don't like spicy food. We usually like spicy but in this instance, I wished it was less so as our 4 yr. old was actually eating some of it. It was a tad too much for him in the end, but he did eat the shrimp out of it. We used Sriracha sauce rather than chili garlic sauce. Based on other reviews, we ended up not using all the noodles we cooked. We thought it was good, but can't say how it stacks up to restaurant pad thai because we don't get to eat out a lot & can't claim to be Thai food experts.
I made this for dinner tonight. It was my first try at a pad thai recipe. It was pretty good. It was a bit more wet than a restaurant version, where they probably uses dryer noodles or fry them differently. I think I will switch the canola oil for peanut oil to add more flavor next time. I also couldn’t find chili garlic sauce, so I used just plain chili sauce and I think I would add a few more garlic cloves to compensate next time. I also piled on the bean sprouts and basil since, those don’t add many calories but a lot of texture and flavor.
Made to recipe, subbing tamarind for half the lime juice in the sauce. Very easy but takes much longer than 25min when you add the prep for the shrimp & veg. Tasty. Served with side of stir-fry mixed veg.
Quick and easy! We made this with chicken instead of shrimp, and it tasted just like it does at our favorite Thai restaurant. a great surprise! I also love that it doesn't require a lot of special or hard to find ingredients. I could put this together with what was already in my kitchen. Thanks, Cooking Light! It is a little (okay, VERY) light on the vegetables. We serve it with another quick and easy dish. a cucumber and bell pepper salad.
Yummy recipe with a perfect amount of kick. I think 8 oz. of pasta is too much, but that's just me. Also, I took the advice of others and added snow peas - I do think this dish needs an influx of some veggies.
This was amazing. I typically don't like asian food but this recipe came out really good and I didn't feel heavy after eating it. The only problem I had was with the noodles The noodles I bought were in a package in the asian food section and were hard to get a part so I recommend either go with linguine or keep it authentic and soak the noodles a little bit to loosen them a part
Probably my own fault, but the noodles kind of stuck together and it was lacking something- perhaps more veggies, or maybe more sauce? I was excited when I tasted the sauce, which tastes exactly like the way pad thai tastes in a restaurant, but somewhere between the kitchen and the table, the dish lost its flavor. Maybe the sauce soaked into the noodles too much. Again, it was probably my bad and not the recipe's fault, but it wasn't my favorite dish.
Added one bunch asparagus (cut into 2 inch sections), 2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach (from bag), 1-2T sliced lemongrass (from jar) along with the green onion (trying to use up some veggies I had around). Stir-fried asparagus 2-3 mins. ahead of the other veggies. We like it pretty saucy, so I increased the sauce portion by doing the following: 3T brown sugar, 2-1/2T fish sauce (a little less than double) 4T soy, 1T Sriracha AND 1T chili garlic sauce (did not add lime juice). There was plenty of sauce and it was just the right degree of heat for me (hubby added additional red pepper flakes on his portion - likes more heat). We're trying to reduce the amount of fat in our diets, so I eliminated the peanuts and decreased oil to 2T instead of the 3T called for in the recipe. I believe I could've reduced the oil to 1-1/2 T without problem. Topped with chopped cilantro and squeezes of lime juice (absolutely necessary, in my opinion). This is my new favorite pad thai recipe!