I love, love, love Traditional Shrimp Pad Thai. It’s what I order when I go out to eat at Thai restaurants, and I enjoy having it at home too when I’m craving my Thai fix. It’s also very simple and delicious to make for a weeknight dinner. With only a few simple ingredients that you already have in your well-stocked Asian kitchen, you can make Pad Thai in the comfort of your own home.
If you want to make this recipe but without the noodles, check out my recipe for Paleo Shrimp Pad Thai with Zucchini Noodles.
What makes Pad Thai so versatile is that you can use any protein for this dish. Although shrimp pad thai is my personal favorite, you can also make this dish with chicken, tofu, beef … whatever protein you want to use!
For this Traditional Shrimp Pad Thai, I also used firm tofu for extra protein. Plus, I just really love tofu. It goes so well in so many dishes.
Pad Thai is a very simple dish to make. You’ll just need your protein, an egg or two, bean sprouts, and green onions (or scallions). Anything else that you add is just bonus. Because I have kids, I added shredded carrots to sneak some extra vegetables into my pad thai. I sprinkle my dish with red chili flakes to make it more spicy, but you could always use Sriracha sauce too. This dish is just so yum.
You can make or break Pad Thai by getting the sauce wrong. I’ve tried many different variations of Pad Thai sauce, from using peanut butter to those box kits. Yuck – the sauce is either too sticky (I like just a little sauce, but not dripping), or it just doesn’t have the same taste.
To make my Pad Thai sauce, I used tamarind concentrate (which you can buy at the local Asian store or online on Amazon), fish sauce, and palm sugar. If you can’t find palm sugar, you can substitute brown sugar.
Palm sugar is very traditional for this recipe. You need to shave it with your knife, so that it will dissolve more easily once you heat it on the stove. You can find packets of palm sugar at the Asian store.
I serve my Shrimp Pad Thai with lime edges and fresh bean sprouts. It adds a refreshing touch to the dish. So delicious, and it fills my Pad Thai craving.
Enjoy and Happy Eating!
Traditional Shrimp Pad Thai
For the Sauce
- 4 tbsp fish sauce
- 1/4 cup palm sugar, shaved
- 3 tbsp tamarind concentrate (use more for a tarter sauce)
- 1/4 tsp dark soy sauce
For the Pad Thai
- 3 tbsp cooking oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 shallots, sliced
- 1 knob (1/2 inch) ginger, sliced thinly
- 10 shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 cup firm tofu, cubed
- 2 large eggs, whisked
- 8 oz dried rice noodles, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 4 green onions (scallions), cut into sticks
- 2 tbsp toasted peanuts, crushed
- lime wedges
- bean sprouts
- peanuts, crushed
- chili flakes (optional)
- Soak the rice stick noodles in a bowl of warm water for 30 minutes, or until they are softened. Drain before cooking. Reserve some of the water for later use.
Make the Pad Thai Sauce
- In a small saucepan, heat the tamarind concentrate, shaved palm sugar, fish sauce, and dark soy sauce over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. Give it a taste, and adjust the flavor as needed. For a more tart sauce, add more tamarind. For a sweeter sauce, add more palm sugar. Set aside for later.
Cook the Pad Thai
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil and swirl to coat the skillet completely. Add the garlic, shallots, and ginger and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the shrimp and tofu and cook, stirring, until the shrimp turns slightly pink, about 2-3 minutes.
- Make a well in the center of the skillet, and add the eggs. Let the edges set, about 20 seconds. Then lightly scramble. Combine with the other ingredients in the pan for another minute.
- Add the drained rice noodles and stir continuously for 2-3 minutes until the noodles start to soften up. Then, add the Pad Thai sauce and fold until the sauce is absorbed, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the bean sprouts, green onions, and crushed peanuts. Toss well to combine all the ingredients together.If your Pad Thai is drier than you like, add some of the noodle soaking water, one tablespoon at a time. Turn off heat and serve immediately.
Serve Your Pad Thai
- Serve your Pad Thai with a side of bean sprouts, crushed peanuts, a lime edge, and chili flakes (to make it spicy).