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Street Food-Style Pad Thai

Pad thai: is there a more quintessential recipe to come out of Thailand? For me, it comes down to three things: the noodles, the sauce and the technique. Accept no imitations – here, I’m teaching you how to make the real-deal, street food-style pad Thai.


Street Food-Style Pad Thai

10 minutes + soaking time
20 minutes

2 tbsp pork lard (or vegetable oil), plus a scant teaspoon extra

4 large prawns, deveined and peeled, tails intact

100g (3.5 oz) firm tofu, diced

2 eggs, lightly beaten

½ tbsp finely chopped Thai pickled radish

4 stems of Chinese chives (also known as garlic chives), trimmed and cut into 5cm (2 inch) batons, plus extra to serve

a decent handful (or ⅓ cup) bean shoots, plus extra to serve

200g (7 oz) thin (no thicker than 3mm or ⅛ inch) dried rice stick noodles*

roasted and chopped peanuts, to serve

chilli powder, to serve

lime wedges, to serve


Pad Thai sauce:

50g (1.5 oz) pork lard (or vegetable oil)

3 small Asian shallots, finely chopped

15g (0.5 oz) Thai fine, small dried shrimp*

30g (1 oz) palm sugar, roughly chopped

½ cup tamarind concentrate or puree

2 tbsp fish sauce

20g (0.7 oz) white sugar

  • Step 1

    Place the rice stick noodles in a shallow tray and cover with room-temperature water. Leave to soak for about 30 minutes. (Check notes below for must-read info about your noodles!)

  • Step 2

    To make the pad Thai sauce, heat the lard in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. When melted, add the shallots and dried shrimp. Cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until the shallots have softened but not browned. Add the remaining ingredients. Reduce the heat to medium and gently simmer for 3-4 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce has thickened slightly.

  • Step 3

    Place a wok or large frying pan over high heat. Add the pork lard and the prawns and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes or until almost cooked. Add the tofu and stir-fry for another 2 minutes until the tofu is golden. Move everything to the side of the wok or pan. Pour a scant teaspoon of the lard into the empty side of the wok. Then pour in the eggs. Let them settle and form a thin omelette, then flip and toss the egg through the rest of the ingredients.

  • Step 4

    Add in the pickled radish and stir-fry for another 30 seconds. Next, add in half the garlic chives, the softened noodles and half the pad Thai sauce (keep the remainder in the fridge for up to 1 week and use for your next pad Thai dinner!). Add a splash of water (about 2 tablespoons) to the pan and use tongs or chopsticks to toss and stir-fry the noodles for 3-4 minutes or until they’re tender and cooked through. Toss through the other half of the chives and the beanshoots, give everything a few more flips, then divide among serving plates. Sprinkle over the peanuts and serve with the chilli powder, lime, extra chives and bean shoots.

  • Notes

    – It’s important your dried rice stick noodles are no thicker than the recommended 3mm size if you want to do the soak, then stir-fry method, I mention in this recipe video. If your noodles are thicker or you want a more foolproof method, soak the noodles but give them a quick cook in boiling water (about 2 minutes) before you add them to your stir-fry. Overcooking them will turn them gluggy and sticky, so keep a close watch on them!

    – In Thailand, we can get very fine, small, translucent dried shrimp that require no soaking. If your dried shrimp are quite dry and thick, you’ll need to soak them in warm water for 15 minutes and finely chop them before using in this recipe.

Marion's Kitchen is for everyone who finds joy in flavour and happiness in every bite. Marion's Kitchen is for everyone who finds joy in flavour and happiness in every bite.

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November 27, 2023

I had leave the dried shrimps, the lard and the shrimps out – used tofu & veg oil (my daughter is a vegi) – great recipe- thanks!

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