Easy Chicken Pad Thai

This easy Chicken Pad Thai Easy is delicious and so much better than take-out! I can honestly say this is the BEST Pad Thai!

Between a routine doctors appointment, a haircut and color and a Sur la Table yearly birthday shop-a-thon with my mom…I was a little too busy to cook.

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All that stuff to-do meant I had to get up early, shower {ugh!} and dress in something other than grey yoga pants and a hoodie to actually look somewhat presentable and not like a flour-dusted, butter-smeared slob. Yeah, that’s right… food blogging is ultra glamorous. After all that running around I was so very thankful to come home to a big-ol’-Tupperware of this here chicken Pad Thai just-a-waiting for me to reheat and inhale. Best. Lunch. Ever.

Truth be told, the first time I tried Pad Thai I didn’t like it. I think I judged it by it’s looks and was confused by the whole “it’s just noodles with peanuts on top” situation. Back then {like we’re talking 12 years ago} I had no clue, no blog and obviously no taste… so there you have it, my excuse.

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Now? I love the stuff and you could pretty much consider me a stalker because I think about it and I’m on the lookout for it ALL THE TIME!

Since quitting my job last year and no longer being remotely close to a Pei Wei I was literally going through withdrawals. In fact I ran into my friend Star at the grocery store last week and we talked about Pad Thai and she so graciously recommended a restaurant that’s not too far from me {Thank the LORD!}. A few minutes later I was walking down the international cuisine isle and BAM! I found tamarind paste. Like I’ve been scouting for tamarind paste for YEARS just to make Pad Thai, I’ve had a recipe {sort of} all ready envisioned in my mind and I just needed the darn tamarind. And because I’m a stubborn Virgo, I refuse to buy it over the internet or drive for 50 minutes hoping to find it at Whole Foods or Trader Joes so I waited, patiently. Now you can safely assume that I have a nice little stockpile of tamarind paste and can whip me up some Pad Thai any day, anytime I choose… in 30 minutes {ish}.

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First things first, make the sauce. It starts with 6 tablespoons or 1/4 cup plus two tablespoons light brown sugar.

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Then add in 1/4 teaspoon of the secret ingredient aka white pepper.

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Next comes the tamarind. This is the brand I found in my grocery store and what I base this sauce recipe off of.

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Add in two teaspoons to 1 packet of the tamarind paste.

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Add in 1/2 to 1 full teaspoon of Sriracha. We like it SPI-cy… so add the right amount based on what you think you can handle.

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Add in 1/4 cup fish sauce.

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Give that a quick stir to break up the brown sugar…

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Add in a 1/2 cup of chicken broth…

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…and stir until sugar has dissolved. Set it off to the side.

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For the chicken you will need 1 to 1-1/4 pound {about 4} of boneless, skinless chicken breast halves. I find these organic ones at my grocery store; otherwise you’ll need about two regular chicken breasts and then just butterfly them all the way through.

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With a sharp knife slice each breast halve into thin strips.

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Place into a bowl…

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Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon cornstarch…

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…and drizzle in 3 tablespoons low-sodium tamari {or soy sauce if that’s what you have on hand}.

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Toss to coat and set off to the side for a smidge.

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Prep all remaining ingredients; rinse 1 heaping cup of fresh bean sprouts, peel the garlic, slice 4 green onions and separate the light green parts from the dark, cut a lime into wedges, chop up 1/3 cup of lightly salted roasted peanuts and rinse off a handful of fresh cilantro.

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Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.

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You’ll need 10-12 ounces of wide rice noodles {depending on size you can find}.

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Once the water is to a rapid boil; drop in the noodles, stir and turn off the heat. Allow the noodles to soak in the hot water for 5 to 8 minutes. They should be soft but with a bit of firmness in the center.

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Immediately drain…

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And rinse with cold water to keep them from sticking.

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Meanwhile heat a tablespoon of grapeseed or olive oil in a large wok or 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the wok is hot, add in 4 to 5 cloves of minced fresh garlic… I like to use my garlic press for this. <—–lazy.

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Cook the garlic for 1 minute before adding in the sliced chicken.

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Spread in an even layer and allow the wok to sear the chicken. Stir, arrange in a single layer and cook for a total of 8-10 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.

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Add in the bowl of sliced light green onions…

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…then the rice noodles…

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Pour in the sauce…

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Don’t forget the bean sprouts…

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Make a quick slurry {1 tablespoon cornstarch plus 1 tablespoon cold water} and pour into the wok.

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Using two spatulas or wooden spoons, toss and flip the Pad Thai until the sauce is thick and the noodles are perfectly tender.

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Serve with the remaining dark green onion slices, torn cilantro leaves, chopped peanuts and lime wedges.

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I made this when it was only my husband and I home for lunch. His first Pad Thai experience EVER was my recipe {how cool is that?!} and he loved it. Like reallllly loved it… had seconds and everything.

Describing what Pad Thai tastes like is sort of hard for me to do, so this is what I will tell you: It’s perfect. Not too sweet or sour or salty… just pure deliciousness and I can honestly say this is the BEST Pad Thai I’ve had in a long time IF ever.

Enjoy!

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My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance! 

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Easy Chicken Pad Thai

Easy, delicious and so much better than take-out!

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: about 30 minutes

Ingredients:

Pad Thai Sauce:

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

2 teaspoons (or 1 packet) tamarind paste (brands may be different so you might need to adjust more or less)

1/2 to 1 full teaspoon Sriracha (depending on how spicy you want it)

1/4 cup fish sauce

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

cornstarch slurry (1 tablespoon cornstarch plus 1 tablespoon cold water, stirred)

FOR THE CHICKEN:

1 to 1-1/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves or tenders, sliced thin (about 4 breast halves)

1 tablespoon cornstarch

3 tablespoons low-sodium tamari

FOR THE STIR-FRY:

10-12 ounces of wide rice stir-fry noodles

1 tablespoon olive oil or grapseed oil

4 to 5 cloves fresh garlic, minced or squeezed through garlic press

4 green onions, sliced (separate light green from dark green parts)

1 heaping cup rinsed bean sprouts

1/3 cup chopped lightly salted, roasted peanuts

1/4 cup torn fresh cilantro

Sriracha, for serving

Directions:

In a medium bowl combine the sugar, pepper, tamarind, Sriracha, fish sauce and chicken broth. Whisk until sugar has dissolved and set aside.

In a large bowl combine sliced chicken, 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 3 tablespoons low-sodium tamari. Toss to coat and set off to the side.

Heat a large pot of water to a boil. Once the water is at a full boil, drop in the noodles, stir and turn off the heat. Allow the noodles to soak for 5 to 8 minutes or until soft but still firm in the center. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Meanwhile heat a large wok or 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the olive oil and garlic. Stir-fry for one minute before add the chicken in an even layer (working in batches if necessary). Cook for 5 minutes before flipping and cooking for 5 more minutes or until fully cooked. Add in the light green onion slices, cook for 30 seconds before adding the noodles, bean sprouts and sauce. Pour in the slurry and use two wooden spoons or spatulas to toss the ingredients together. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and noodles are perfectly tender.

Serve immediately topping with the remaining dark green onion slices, torn cilantro, chopped peanuts, a squeeze of fresh lime and extra sriracha if you like it spicy!

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26 Responses to “Easy Chicken Pad Thai”

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    1
    Betsy — October 1, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    You’re from the GR, MI area arent you? Kingma’s Market or the crazy little Asian grocery store on 44th St. I’m sure has your Tamarind. If your grocery store lets you down…hopefully not!

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — October 2nd, 2014 @ 9:55 am

      Actually I’m on the other side of the state but I wouldn’t be opposed to driving to GR for tamarind in order to make this 😉

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    Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures — October 2, 2014 at 8:13 am

    Going on a shopping spree at Sur le Table is a fun birthday tradition! This is one of my take out favorites, but I have never made it at home. I need to change that situation soon 🙂

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    Star Bartman — October 2, 2014 at 8:33 am

    Awe! You mention me in your blog post. Now I have to go to Meijer and get some tamarind paste. Can’t wait to try this recipe, looks and sounds delicious! : )

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    Jennie @themessybakerblog — October 2, 2014 at 8:39 am

    You’ve convinced me that I need a wok. I’ve had one on my list for like 14 hundred years now, and I think it’s time I invest. Your work outfit sounds a lot like my work outfit. I stopped buying “real” clothes 2 years ago since I very rarely wear them. Girl, this looks amazeballs.

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    James — October 2, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Looks great – long time follower of your blog. Being asian, having visited Thailand a few times and having made lots of pad thai personally, I would also recommend adding egg (quick stir fry in the wok) and shrimp (also quick stir fry) for an authentic classic pad thai.

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — October 2nd, 2014 @ 9:57 am

      Thanks James! I’ve never had egg or shrimp in my pad thai but I will definitely be trying that next. Thanks for the tips 🙂

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    Jamie Rippy (@MamaMommyMom) — October 2, 2014 at 11:06 am

    I am SO going to make this over the weekend! My favorite place for Pad Thai closed 🙁

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — October 2nd, 2014 @ 10:48 pm

      Well that’s a bummer! Enjoy Jamie!

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    bev @ bevcooks — October 3, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Yep. Thiiiiiis is happening in my face like, now.

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    Tara — October 13, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    We’re not fish sauce fans in our house, but I love pad thai. Can I just add an extra 1/4 cup of chicken broth in place of the fish sauce?

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — October 15th, 2014 @ 5:51 pm

      Hi Tara! You actually need the fish sauce to balance out the tamarind.

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    ShawnaB — October 17, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    This will be a new experience in our home, we have not tried the fish sauce or the wide rice noodles. This looks so good we have to give it a try. Thanks for posting the recipe.

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    Millie+l+Add+A+Little — October 19, 2014 at 2:12 am

    I love pad thai and this looks awesome!!

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    Sparks13 — November 19, 2014 at 1:51 am

    I share your reluctance to buy some things online. Even when the prices are good, the shipping makes it ridiculous. (Here comes the part where I sound like a shill, I’m not, I swear!). Then I started looking for Sodium Citrate for Modernist Cuisine’s incredible Mac and Cheese. I live in a good sized city, but even the boutique cooking stores didn’t have it. I finally gritted my teeth and went online. And I found Spice Sage. Reasonable prices and free shipping all the time no matter how little you buy (and a free somethin, somethin in ever order). They have tamarind paste, sodium citrate, and everything else I’ve ever had trouble finding at home!

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    Jenny Jones — January 15, 2015 at 10:15 am

    Thank you for this recipe Laurie. I made this last night for my husband. We both really enjoyed it. I couldn’t find Tamarind paste at my grocery store so I used equal parts rice wine vinegar and duck sauce as a substitute.

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    Kittish — March 13, 2015 at 3:41 am

    Made this a few days ago, and it was yummy! Schezuan sauce works well as a substitute for sriracha (didn’t have any and didn’t want to make a 25 mile round trip just for that), the spice levels are probably pretty similar. Does anyone know how well the sauce will keep in the fridge, as I’ll only need to use about half what this recipe makes for a meal for my boyfriend and I?

    I did actually buy the tamarind paste online, and got WAY more than I’ll probably ever use (came in 12 oz jars… and you only need a teaspoon or two at a time. O.0 ), but that’s ok. I have friends who enjoy cooking as much as I do so I’ll be gifting them with Pad Thai kits throughout the year I think.

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    Jake — August 15, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    Chicken broth, cilantro, sriracha, soy sauce, green onions, corn starch–these have no business being in pad thai (at least authentic pad thai).

    Boil the noodles! Nooooooo–cold soak.

    WHere is the salted turnip and dried shrimp? Egg, common, but optional

    I am sure this is a tasty dish, but it is not pad thai.

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    Shannon — January 27, 2016 at 10:31 am

    Pad Thai or not, it is DELICIOUS. Store bought sauces have so many ingredients I can’t pronounce, much prefer from scratch whether or not it is “authentic”. My husband helps me prep so that we can pull this off on a weeknight – 15 minutes of prep is a little aggressive, at least for me – it is more like 25 for us but… still manageable on a week night and we have fun with it.

    Thanks for the great recipe!

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    Christine — January 28, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    Oh my word!!! I do not know what took me so long to try this. IT IS AMAZING! My husband and I pit the kids to bed and made this. Definitely keeping this recipe on hand! Amazing Laurie!!!

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    Christine — February 18, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    Delicious!!! I love Thai on the weekends but never thought I could make something that tastes better than my regular Thai place we go to. Amazing and easy too!! Thank you so much for the recipe!

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — February 24th, 2017 @ 8:32 am

      I’m SO glad! <3

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    Alex — March 3, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    “Add in 1/2 to 1 full teaspoon of Sriracha. We like it SPI-cy… so add the right amount based on what you think you can handle.”

    LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL

    If you think Sriracha is even worth mentioning when talking about ‘spicy’, I don’t believe you’ve ever even had real Thai cooking.

    Sriracha sits between 1000-2500 SHU. (Scoville Scale).

    Jalapeno peppers (aka “white people hot”) sit in the 3,500-10,000 range.

    Bird chilies – common in Thai Cuisine – are in the 100,000 – 300,000 range.

    Take a single bird chili, dice that up, and simmer it in your sauce. Now you’re getting close to a proper Thai sauce.

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    Marjorie — September 22, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    I’ve long looked for a good copycat recipe for Pei Wei’s pad thai, and finally found one 🙂 “authentic” or not, Pei Wei’s pad thai has no turnip or dried shrimp, and does have cilantro and green onions.

    When I go to Pei Wei, I order the sauce on the side, and bring home half the dish. The next day I add extra noodles and carrots and another egg (there is egg in the chicken pad thai).

    So when I made this, I added julienned carrots and a red bell pepper. I didn’t have bean sprouts so left them out, and no tamarind paste so used the juice from a lime for that sourness.

    The sauce from Pei Wei is very thin, like water, so we left out the cornstarch, and I’m pretty sure they don’t soak their chicken in soy sauce (mine is always very light, soy sauce makes it dark). I used the soy sauce anyway, but dh and I both thought the soy sauce was too strong. My dd wanted all the chicken today for lunch, so I picked it out of my plate and with the deletion of that soy sauce flavor I thought it was even better.

    Short answer — dh and I *loved* this and will definitely make again.

    Putting the noodles in hot water for 5-6 minutes then rinsing with cold was the first time they actually turned out perfectly. I’ve tried cold soak and so many other methods, and I’ve never gotten them quite right.

    Next time we’re skipping the soy sauce entirely.

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    Marjorie — September 22, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    And I just realized that I hate when people tell you how great a recipe is, but how they changed the whole thing, and that’s exactly what I did LOL

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — September 24th, 2017 @ 6:08 pm

      Ha ha! Don’t worry about it, Marjorie! I’m glad you like the recipe and have been able to adjust it to your preference. 🙂

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