Baseboard page divider
Alton Brown logo in grey font
Black x


A rolled up screen projector


Course: Mains
Keyword: Asian, Healthy, Pad Thai, Weeknight Dinner

Pad Thai: Reloaded

ACTIVE TIME: 45 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 2 hours 15 minutes
Yield: 2 servings
Photo by Lynne Calamia
Read More
Read Less


  • 8 ounces firm tofu, not silken
  • 4 ounces medium Thai rice noodles
  • 2 tablespoons seedless tamarind paste
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons dried shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons sweet preserved radish
  • 1 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted, salted peanuts, divided
  • Thai dried chile flakes, to taste, if desired
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Specialized Hardware

Fine-mesh sieve
ACTIVE TIME: 45 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 2 hours 15 minutes
Yield: 2 servings


  • Place the tofu on a cake pan or dinner plate lined with 4 layers of paper towels. Cover the tofu with another 4 layers of paper towels and place a second pan or plate on top. Weigh this down with something in the 4-5 pound range. (A bag of dried beans or a really big can of tomatoes works well, as would a 5-pint water bottle.) Leave at room temperature for 1 hour, replacing the paper towels halfway through.
  • Place the noodles in a baking dish or loaf pan large enough to allow them to lay flat. Add enough room temperature water to fully submerge, and soak for 45 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside.
  • Break up the tamarind into small chunks and place in a small heatproof container such a large coffee mug. Pour the boiling water over and soak for 30 minutes.
  • Combine the soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of the rice wine vinegar, and the Chinese five-spice powder in a quart-size sip-top bag. Place the pressed tofu into the bag and gently squish it around to evenly coat. Marinate for 30 minutes, then pat dry with yet more paper towels. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes and set aside. (The tofu, not the paper towels.)
  • Whisk the fish sauce, palm sugar, and remaining rice wine vinegar together in a medium bowl until the sugar dissolves. Place a mesh sieve over the bowl and dump the contents of the soaking tamarind (including the liquid) into the bowl. Press the solids through the seive with the back of a spoon to extract as much paste as possible (you should end up with about 1 tablespoon), then whisk to combine.
  • Set up your ingredients next to your cooktop in the following order: Peanut oil, dried shrimp, sweet preserved radish, scallions, garlic, eggs, drained noodles, tamarind sauce, mung bean sprouts, and peanuts. The cooking process is hot and fast, so you'll want everything close by.
  • Heat the wok for 1 minute over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and carefully swirl to coat. Add the tofu cubes and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove to a large serving bowl.
  • Add the dried shrimp and sweet preserved radish and saute for about 15 seconds. Add 2/3 of the scallions and all the garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Pour in the eggs and stir until just set. Follow with the noodles, the tamarind sauce, 2/3 of the bean sprouts, and 2/3 of the peanuts. Cook, tossing and stirring until the noodles are thoroughly coated. Kill the heat and stir in the tofu.
  • Turn the noodles out onto a serving platter and garnish with the remaining scallions, bean sprouts, peanuts, and chili flakes. Serve with lime wedges.
Baseboard page divider