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Enjoy this pad thai sauce recipe with your next thai dinner.

  • Serves4
  • Prep time5 minutes
Pad Thai sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tbs lime juice
  • 1 tbs tamarind puree
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

Check ingredient labels to make sure they meet your specific dietary requirements and always consult a health professional before changing your diet. View dietary information here.

Percentage Daily Intake information on our recipes is calculated using the nutrition reference values for an average Australian adult.

Method

  1. Step 1

    Place the soy sauce, lime juice, tamarind puree, sugar, oil and garlic in a small bowl.

  2. Step 2

    Stir until the sugar dissolves. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Pad Thai sauce recipe 

One of Thailand’s most popular culinary exports, pad Thai is a much-loved noodle dish enjoyed around the world.  Softened rice noodles are coated in a sweet and slightly sour tamarind-infused pad Thai sauce, with the end result a delicious balance of flavours.

In Thailand it’s a street food favourite, whose history is actually quite a modern one. The dish became popular in the 1930s when the country moved from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy, changing from Siam to Thailand. The government of the day is said to have promoted the noodle dish as a way to address food shortages and other challenges facing the country, using it to help build a new national identity.

In Australia, pad Thai has become a take away favourite. If you’re wondering how to make pad Thai sauce at home, it’s quite simple to re-create, with the added bonus of being able to customise it to individual tastes. All the pad Thai sauce ingredients can be found at the supermarket and it’s vegetarian-friendly too.

As well as the sauce, you’ll need dried, thin rice noodles for this dish. Soak these in water to soften prior to cooking, then drain. These will be coated in the sauce, as well as beaten egg, once added to the pan.

Add chicken, tofu or fresh prawns to make it a stand-alone meal. And don’t skimp on the garnishes! 

Making pad Thai from scratch

An authentic pad Thai sauce uses ingredients such as fish sauce, tamarind and palm sugar, with garlic chives, dried shrimp, tofu and egg incorporated through the noodles. This recipe is a twist on that, with no trip to a specialty grocer required! It’s a pad Thai sauce without fish sauce that’s easy and quick to make, yet still with that distinctive pad Thai flavour. Ingredients like soy sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, brown sugar and garlic are substituted, blended with the distinctive flavour of the tamarind puree. It's simple to make and a fun alternative to using a premade sauce. Use it as a base to start experimenting with different flavours, proteins and garnishes.

Pad Thai noodles are known for retaining a little firmness or bite, so soaking them in hot water is preferred to boiling them, which could render the noodles too soft. Allow 15 minutes or so for this, or follow the packet instructions on soaking time

Pad Thai variations

As well as being simple to make, this recipe makes both a vegetarian and a vegan pad Thai sauce.  Keep it completely plant-based by skipping the egg, chicken and prawns. Stick to tofu and add some veggies such as bean sprouts, diced carrot, Chinese broccoli/gai lan or even broccolini. And play around with the tofu. Try a pre-marinated version for extra flavour, or consider marinating a plain, firm tofu in a little of the pad Thai sauce while getting the vegetables prepped.

To make pad Thai without soy sauce, swap in a teaspoon or two of fish sauce. Add this incrementally, tasting as you go, to ensure the flavours are balanced.  For a vegetarian or vegan pad Thai, minus the soy sauce, try hunting down some vegan fish sauce. 

Now get cooking

 The sauce is made, the chicken (or tofu) has been diced and the noodles are soaking. It’s time to fire up the wok and get cooking!

For a way to convert one meal – peanut butter chicken  - into two, check out this speedy chicken pad Thai recipe. It uses fish sauce instead of soy sauce. Pad see ew is another popular Thai noodle dish. This quick version uses a pre-made sauce and fresh egg noodles and takes only 15 minutes.  Or add beef and Chinese broccoli in this pad see ew recipe for a filling and substantial meal. Or, pick up a Thai-style stir-fry sauce for this chicken and noodle dish. For more noodle-inspiration, try char kway teowteriyaki salmon or Singapore noodles.

FAQs

    Pad Thai Sauce

    Pad Thai Sauce
    • Serves4
    • Prep time5 minutes
    Ingredients
    • 2 tbs soy sauce
    • 2 tbs lime juice
    • 1 tbs tamarind puree
    • 1 tbs brown sugar
    • 2 tsp sesame oil
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
      Description

      Enjoy this pad thai sauce recipe with your next thai dinner.

      Method
      1. Step 1

        Place the soy sauce, lime juice, tamarind puree, sugar, oil and garlic in a small bowl.

      2. Step 2

        Stir until the sugar dissolves. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.