Thai Stir Fried Noodles

Thai Stir Fried Noodles, commonly known as Pad Thai, is a vibrant and flavorful dish that stands as a hallmark of Thai cuisine. This beloved recipe combines the perfect balance of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy flavors, brought together in a single, harmonious dish that delights the palate. Featuring a mix of stir-fried rice noodles, eggs, and a choice of protein, all tossed in a tangy tamarind sauce and garnished with fresh herbs and peanuts, Pad Thai offers a culinary adventure that is both rich in taste and tradition.

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Thai Stir Fried Noodles

  • Author: recipstep
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Thai Stir Fried Noodles, or Pad Thai, is a quintessential dish of Thailand, beloved for its harmonious blend of sweet, sour, salty, and umami flavors. This dish features rice noodles stir-fried with eggs, a protein of choice (such as tofu, chicken, or shrimp), bean sprouts, and green onions, all tossed in a flavorful tamarind-based sauce, and garnished with peanuts and lime.


200g / 7 oz dried wide rice stick noodles
2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsp white vinegar
2 tsp sugar
3 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil, separated
2 cloves garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 cup / 150g / 5oz chicken thighs (boneless, skinless), sliced
1 large egg
4 stems Chinese broccoli


Noodles – Prepare according to packet directions and drain. Time it so they’re cooked just before using – do not leave cooked rice noodles lying around, they break in the wok.
Sauce – Mix ingredients until sugar dissolves.
Heat oil: Heat 1 tbsp oil in a very large heavy-based skillet or wok over high heat.
Cook garlic and chicken: Add garlic, cook for 15 seconds. Add chicken, cook until it mostly changes from pink to white.
Chinese broccoli STEMS: Add Chinese broccoli stems, cook until chicken is almost cooked through.
Chinese broccoli LEAVES: Add Chinese broccoli leaves, cook until just wilted.
Scramble egg: Push everything to one side, crack egg in and scramble.
Remove chicken from wok: Remove everything in the wok onto a plate .
Caramelize noodles: Return wok to stove, heat 2 tbsp oil over high heat until it starts smoking. Add noodles and Sauce. Toss as few times as possible to disperse Sauce and make edges of noodles caramelize – about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.
Add chicken back in: Quickly add chicken and veg back in, and toss to disperse.
Serve and enjoy


  • Adjust the sauce ingredients to taste, balancing the sweet, sour, salty, and umami flavors.
  • For a vegetarian option, omit the fish sauce or use a vegetarian substitute, and choose tofu as the protein.
  • Can be adapted to vegetarian or gluten-free.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stir-Frying
  • Cuisine: Thai


  • Calories: Approximately 350 per serving
  • Sugar: 8g
  • Sodium: 1000mg
  • Fat: 10g
  • Carbohydrates: 50g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 18g (varies with protein choice)

FAQs About Thai Stir Fried Noodles

Can I use spaghetti or another type of pasta if I don’t have rice noodles? Yes, you can use spaghetti or other pasta types in a pinch. While the texture and flavor will differ from traditional rice noodles, the dish can still be delicious. Be sure to cook the pasta al dente to keep it from becoming too soft when stir-fried.

What can I substitute for tamarind paste if I can’t find it? If tamarind paste is unavailable, a good substitute is a mixture of lime juice and brown sugar. This blend mimics the sweet and sour profile of tamarind, although the flavor will not be identical. Start with a ratio of 1:1 and adjust to taste.

Is there a way to make Thai Stir Fried Noodles less spicy for children? Absolutely! To make the dish less spicy, reduce or omit any chili ingredients from the sauce. You can always serve chili flakes or hot sauce on the side for those who prefer a spicier dish.

How can I ensure my Pad Thai is gluten-free? To make gluten-free Pad Thai, ensure that your soy sauce is replaced with a gluten-free option like tamari. Also, check that all other ingredients, such as fish sauce and tamarind paste, are certified gluten-free.

Gathering the Ingredients for Authentic Taste

The key to authentic Thai Stir Fried Noodles lies in the ingredients. You’ll need:

  • Flat rice noodles, soaked until flexible
  • Protein options such as chicken, shrimp, or tofu, prepared and set aside
  • Eggs, lightly beaten
  • Fresh bean sprouts and green onions for crunch
  • Tamarind paste, fish sauce, palm sugar, and lime juice for the sauce
  • Crushed peanuts, fresh cilantro, and lime wedges for garnishing Collecting fresh and quality ingredients is crucial for achieving the dish’s signature taste.

Mastering the Art of Stir-Frying

Stir-frying is a quick cooking process that requires a high level of heat. Begin by heating oil in a wok or large skillet, ensuring it’s hot enough to sear the protein quickly. Once the protein is cooked, set it aside and add the eggs to the pan, scrambling them until just set. Then, reintroduce the protein and add the pre-soaked noodles, tossing everything together vigorously.

Balancing the Iconic Pad Thai Sauce

The sauce is what gives Thai Stir Fried Noodles its distinctive flavor. In a separate bowl, mix tamarind paste, fish sauce, palm sugar, and a squeeze of lime juice, adjusting each component to taste. The goal is to reach a perfect balance between sweet, sour, salty, and spicy. Pour this sauce over the noodles as they cook, allowing the flavors to meld together and the noodles to absorb the sauce fully.

Finishing Touches and Garnishes

Once the noodles are tender and the dish is well combined, stir in fresh bean sprouts and chopped green onions, cooking briefly to retain their crunch. Serve the noodles hot, garnished with a generous sprinkle of crushed peanuts, fresh cilantro, and additional lime wedges on the side. These finishing touches not only add texture and flavor but also enhance the dish’s visual appeal.

Customizing Your Pad Thai

Thai Stir Fried Noodles are wonderfully versatile. Feel free to experiment with different proteins or add vegetables like carrots or bell peppers for added nutrition and color. Whether sticking to tradition or exploring new variations, the essence of Pad Thai shines through in its ability to bring people together over a love for Thai food.

Exploring Dietary Variations

Thai Stir Fried Noodles can easily be adapted to suit various dietary needs without sacrificing flavor. For a vegetarian or vegan version, substitute the fish sauce with a soy-based sauce and opt for tofu as the protein. Ensure your tamarind paste and sugar are vegan-friendly. These substitutions keep the dish authentic to its roots while being inclusive of dietary preferences.

Enhancing Flavor with Additional Ingredients

Don’t hesitate to enhance your Pad Thai by incorporating additional ingredients that complement the base flavors. Consider adding pickled radishes for a tangy crunch or a sprinkle of dried chili flakes for those who appreciate an extra kick of heat. Including these ingredients not only adds depth to the dish but also allows for a personalized taste experience.\

Thai Stir Fried Noodles

Achieving the Perfect Noodle Texture

The texture of the noodles is crucial in Thai Stir Fried Noodles. To achieve the perfect balance between soft and chewy, soak the rice noodles in lukewarm water until they are just flexible but not fully soft. They will continue to cook and soften in the wok with the sauce, absorbing the flavors while maintaining a satisfying texture.

The Art of Presentation

Presenting your Pad Thai in an appealing manner can enhance the overall dining experience. Use a large platter and arrange the noodles neatly, topping them with the protein and garnishes. Edible flowers or additional herbs can add a pop of color, making the dish as visually appealing as it is delicious. Serving Pad Thai with a side of extra lime wedges and chili flakes allows guests to adjust the flavor to their liking.

Embracing the Cultural Heritage

While enjoying Thai Stir Fried Noodles, it’s worthwhile to appreciate the rich cultural heritage behind the dish. Originating from the streets of Thailand, Pad Thai is a reflection of the country’s history, blending influences from Chinese cuisine with traditional Thai flavors. Sharing this dish with friends and family can be an opportunity to explore and celebrate the diversity of world cuisines, fostering a deeper appreciation for the art of cooking and cultural exchange.

Utilizing Fresh vs. Dried Ingredients

In crafting Thai Stir Fried Noodles, the debate between fresh versus dried ingredients often arises. While fresh tamarind and palm sugar are ideal for an authentic flavor profile, their dried or concentrated counterparts can serve as convenient substitutes. Dried tamarind can be rehydrated, and palm sugar is available in both block and granulated forms. The key is to taste and adjust your sauce components to ensure the right balance of sweet, sour, salty, and umami flavors, regardless of the form of ingredients used.

Incorporating Seasonal Vegetables

To add a fresh twist to your Pad Thai, consider incorporating seasonal vegetables. This not only brings a burst of color and texture to the dish but also increases its nutritional value. Vegetables like snap peas, bell peppers, or even spinach can be quickly stir-fried and added to the mix. Introducing seasonal produce can transform the traditional Pad Thai into a more versatile and health-conscious meal.

Mastering the Stir-Fry Technique

Achieving the perfect stir-fry is an art that requires high heat and swift movement. The goal is to cook the ingredients quickly to retain their texture and flavor. A well-heated wok or skillet is essential, as is the practice of constantly tossing the ingredients to ensure even cooking. This technique not only seals in the flavors but also prevents any one ingredient from becoming too soggy or overcooked.

Engaging in the Culinary Experience

Preparing Thai Stir Fried Noodles offers more than just a meal; it’s an engaging culinary experience. Inviting family or friends to participate in the cooking process can make for a memorable and interactive event. From prepping ingredients to stir-frying and plating, each step provides an opportunity to learn and enjoy the art of Thai cooking together.

Sharing the Joy of Pad Thai

Ultimately, Thai Stir Fried Noodles, with its rich flavors and vibrant presentation, is a dish meant for sharing. Serving Pad Thai at gatherings or family dinners not only offers a delicious meal but also sparks conversations about food culture, cooking techniques, and personal tastes. It’s a dish that brings people together, celebrating the universal love for good food and good company.

Thai Stir Fried Noodles

Experimenting with Protein Varieties

Diversifying the protein in Thai Stir Fried Noodles can cater to different dietary preferences and provide a new taste experience each time. Beyond the traditional choices of chicken, shrimp, or tofu, why not try incorporating slices of beef, pork, or even a seafood mix? Each protein option adds its unique flavor and texture to the dish, encouraging experimentation and personalization.

Choosing the Right Cookware

The success of stir-frying often depends on the cookware used. A traditional wok is ideal for making Pad Thai due to its high sides and ability to distribute heat evenly. However, a large, non-stick skillet can also be effective, especially for those cooking on an electric stove. The key is to use a pan that can handle high heat and offers enough space to toss and combine ingredients effortlessly.

Focusing on the Timing of Ingredients

Timing is crucial when adding ingredients to your Pad Thai. Begin with those that require more cooking time, such as the protein and harder vegetables, and end with more delicate items like bean sprouts and green onions. This ensures that each component is cooked perfectly, maintaining their individual textures while coming together in a cohesive dish.

Enhancing Meals with Side Dishes

Complementing Thai Stir Fried Noodles with side dishes can turn a simple meal into a feast. Consider serving it alongside fresh spring rolls, a spicy papaya salad, or a soothing coconut soup. These side dishes not only provide a variety of flavors and textures but also make the meal more satisfying and balanced.

Creating a Pad Thai Night Tradition

Embrace the fun and flavors of Thai cuisine by establishing a Pad Thai night tradition in your household. It’s an excellent opportunity to gather loved ones, explore different variations of the dish, and enjoy the process of cooking and eating together. Over time, you can refine the recipe to suit your family’s tastes, making Pad Thai night a highly anticipated event that celebrates good food and togetherness.

Thai Stir Fried Noodles


Thai Stir Fried Noodles, or Pad Thai, is a beloved dish worldwide, celebrated for its complex flavors and textures. By following the steps outlined, from selecting the right ingredients to mastering the stir-fry technique, you can create a delicious Pad Thai experience in your own kitchen. Remember, the beauty of Pad Thai lies in its versatility and adaptability to different tastes and dietary needs. Whether you’re cooking for a special occasion or a weeknight dinner, Pad Thai is sure to impress with its vibrant flavors and colorful presentation. Enjoy the process of making this iconic dish and sharing it with family and friends.

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