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While this isn’t an authentic pad thai recipe, it definitely has that balanced combination of sweet, salty and sour flavors of original pad thai. The secret is in the sauce!

Authentic pad thai recipes call for bean sprouts, but how many of us usually have it on hand on a regular Wednesday? Right, not I!

This dish comes together super quick, so it’s crucial to prepare and gather all the ingredients around the stove before you start cooking.

So instead of bean sprouts, add whatever vegetables you have on hand. Here I have carrots and sweet peppers. Vegetables are important to lighten up this otherwise heavy noodle dish.


Rice noodles as the name implies made with rice flour, a common ingredient in East and Southeastern Asia. Rice noodles come in variety of shapes, but in today’s recipe, we’ll need flat rice noodles, similar to fettuccine. I love these extra wide pad thai rice noodles, but these narrower ones are good too.

Make sure to soak rice noodles in warm tap water until nice and soft, and opaque.

As mentioned before, the secret to this fantastic pad thai is the sauce. Its beautifully balanced flavors make this dish so addicting, but you can also easily adjust and customize it to your taste too.

Let’s discuss the ingredients of this authentic pad thai sauce.


FISH SAUCE – I know, I know, that stinky fish sauce. BUT it’s a must for any good pad thai. I actually use it in many recipes, not only Asian. And when I feel like a dish is missing something, I add a dash or two of fish sauce, and voila. Instead perk of flavor! So get yourself a bottle (I love Red Boat fish sauce!). FYI, it doesn’t add fishy flavor at all, just a nice round umami flavor. After the initial funky smell, you will immediately forget that you even put it in your food.

SOY SAUCE – Instead of using regular salt, we use soy sauce for salt in this dish. 

BROWN SUGAR – Ok, authentic pad thai calls for palm sugar. But brown sugar is a fine substitute! Yay, no more weird ingredients. 😉

TAMARIND CONCENTRATE – Alright, this might be a new ingredient to your pantry, but I highly, highly recommend getting one. You’ll make SO many pad thai’s with one jar! And it’s the secret to authentic pad thai recipe that tastes better than your favorite takeout. What is tamarind, you ask? Tamarind is a mildly sweet, very tangy fruit. And tamarind concentrate is made with tamarind pulp, and it’s where the sour flavor in pad thai sauce comes from. If you google, what is a good substitute for tamarind concentrate, you’ll be advised to use lime juice. But here’s the thing. Yes, you can use lime juice to add that sour flavor, but sadly, the dish won’t be the same. So, get a jar of tamarind concentrate. Just check the ingredient list, it should only have tamarind with no added sugar or other ingredients! This is the one I use

Make sure to prepare all the ingredients around the stove before you start cooking!!


Leftover Steak Pad Thai

Semi-authentic, this leftover steak pad thai is quick and easy dinner that you can easily customize for your family with ingredients you have!


For stir-fry:

  • 4 oz dried flat rice noodles
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 large carrot
  • 6-7 sweet peppers
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 6-8 oz leftover steak
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, or canola oil

For sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons hot water
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate

For garnish:

  • Lime wedges
  • Chives, or green onions
  • Chopped peanuts
  • Chopped cilantro


  • To prepare all the ingredients, in a large bowl, soak rice noodles in warm tap water until softened and opaque.
  • Meanwhile, cut shallots into thin slices.
  • Cut carrots into thin ribbons using a vegetable peeler. (It cooks the carrots much faster, but you can simply cut into long thin strips too.)
  • Chop sweet peppers into long thin strips.
  • Thinly slice leftover steaks.
  • To make the pad thai sauce, in a small bowl, mix sugar and hot water and stir until sugar is mostly dissolved. Stir in the remaining sauce ingredients.
  • Arrange everything by the stove before starting to cook.
  • To cook pad thai, heat a large skillet, or wok, over medium high heat. When skillet is hot, add oil.
  • When oil is shimmering, add shallots and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  • Add carrots, sweet peppers and garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until carrots are softened.
  • Pour in pad thai sauce and cook for 1 minutes.
  • Add soaked rice noodles and steak slices and continue to cook until meat is heated through.
  • To serve, stir in chopped cilantro, chopped peanuts and green onions. Serve immediately with lime wedges on the side.
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