This post has been sponsored by Gary's QuickSteak. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Chicken pad Thai is one of those dishes that will keep you ordering from the same restaurant over and over once you find one that does it well. I've gotten takeout from plenty of Thai restaurants and this chicken pad Thai recipe is just as good, if not better than takeout. And, it can be made at a fraction of the cost!
This recipe slightly deviates from traditional pad Thai by using only five ingredients. It's simple to make and all comes together in about 30 minutes.
But don't let the simplicity of the recipe fool you. One bite and you will be wanting to make this quick and delicious dish on the regular.
What exactly is pad Thai?
Pad Thai is a dish made with rice noodles and a deliciously sweet and tangy sauce. It typically includes a scrambled egg and is garnished with bean sprouts.
One of the most common pad Thai noodle dishes is chicken pad Thai, but shrimp or tofu pad Thai is also on most menus.
I don't particularly care for eggs or bean sprouts so I've left them out of this dish. But feel free to scramble an egg into your stir fry and garnish with bean sprouts if you desire.
This recipe uses only a handful of ingredients but there's no compromise on flavor
- Gary's QuickSteak Chicken
- Rice noodles
- Pad Thai Sauce
I use Gary's QuickSteak Chicken instead of chicken breasts in this recipe for a couple of reasons.
The first is convenience.
I don't always know what's on the dinner menu and often by the time I decide, it's too late for me to defrost something. I love the convenience of Gary's QuickSteak Chicken as it can go directly from the freezer to the griddle. Once it starts cooking, it breaks down into perfectly-sized pieces without any extra chopping or slicing. The chicken stays moist and juicy and if you allow it to brown slightly on the griddle, the flavors really intensify.
The second is speed.
I love that Gary's QuickSteak Chicken can go from my freezer to my dinner plate in under 5 minutes!
Because the chicken block is only about a half-inch thick, it cooks up in a fraction of the time it would take a normal piece of boneless chicken to cook from frozen. You can literally go from hangry to happy in just a few minutes.
If you haven't heard of Gary's QuickSteak Chicken before, I find mine in the frozen meat section of my local grocery store. It's about the same price and often less expensive as fresh chicken.
What is the sauce made of?
Homemade pad Thai sauce will vary slightly from kitchen to kitchen but they all have some sauce ingredients in common.
Most pad Thai sauces include:
- Brown sugar
- Fish sauce
- Oyster sauce
- Pepper to taste
Some people get quite creative when making pad Thai sauce from scratch.
It's not uncommon to add lime juice or rice wine vinegar for some brightness and acidity, which brings out the nuances of the other ingredients.
Many people make a sauce base.
Using thinly sliced green onions and equal parts soy sauce and peanut butter, they melt ingredients together in a saucepan over medium-high heat. The heat helps sugar that gets added later to liquefy, preventing it from being granular in your dish.
Although I'm not averse to putting in the extra effort to make pad Thai sauce from scratch, this Thai dish tastes just as delicious using the jarred sauce, and the time savings is indisputable. Look for this sauce in the Asian section of your local market.
What can I substitute for fish sauce?
If you decide to make pad Thai sauce from scratch, fish sauce is basically a required ingredient. But not everyone has fish sauce on hand, or may not want to purchase a whole bottle of this unique tasting elixir when you only need a few teaspoons.
12 common fish sauce substitutes
Although not an exact swap, these items can be used to substitute for fish sauce or be combined to your liking for a similar flavor profile:
- Mushroom broth reduced with nutritional yeast and coconut aminos
- Soy sauce
- Coconut aminos
- Tamarind sauce
- Worcestershire sauce
- Dried kombu seaweed powder
- Fresh seaweed liquor
- Oyster sauce
- Tuna water from a can of tuna packed in water
- Dried mushroom powder
- Equal parts shoyu, rice wine vinegar, and water reduced
- Clam juice
Is this recipe healthy?
This recipe is healthy!
It weighs in at only a few hundred calories based on your serving size and Gary's quick chicken packs 21 grams of protein per serving.
Just because I skimp a bit on the scrambled egg, sprouts, and other veggies, doesn't mean you have to.
Adding broccoli, cabbage, carrots, and other veggies will not make the dish any more traditional but it will pack additional fiber and nutrients. I would encourage you to experiment with these types of add-ins.
Expert Tips & Tricks
Most non-stick or well-seasoned griddles should not require any fats or oils when cooking this dish. I like to reserve ¼ cup of the pasta water so if anything sticks I can deglaze the griddle to assist the food with releasing. If you forget to save some pasta water, a little cold water from the tap will work fine.
What to serve with this recipe
This dish stands on its own and I don't usually serve other things with it. But if you were looking for something to serve alongside this pad Thai, some flavorful pork shoulder or even this Alaskan salmon recipe would make a fine dinner guest.
Chicken Pad Thai Recipe
- 12 oz chicken breast Gary's QuickSteak Chicken
- 7 oz Thai rice noodles
- 4 oz pad Thai sauce
- 1 lime quartered
- ½ cup roasted peanuts
- 4 sprigs cilantro optional garnish
- Preheat your Ninja Foodi Grill, griddle, or indoor griddle to 375F
- Soak about half the box (7 oz) of pad Thai noodles (rice noodles) in warm water as recommended on the packaging until past al dente
- While the noodles are soaking, cook the Gary's QuickSteak Chicken on your griddle until done and set aside
- Drain the noodles, reserving ¼ cup of the pasta liquid
- Add the noodles to the griddle and stir fry for 1 minute
- Add the pad Thai sauce and stir fry to combine with the noodle
- Return the chicken to the griddle with the noodles and sauce and stir fry to incorporate adding water 1 tablespoon at a time if needed to prevent the noodles from sticking
- Remove the chicken pad Thai noodles from the griddle and divide into 4 portions
- Garnish with peanuts and lime wedges and cilantro (optional)
Just finished making this recipe and found it to be quite delicious and easy to prepare. I was able to purchase the pad Thai sauce and rice noodles from my local supermarket, along with the cilantro, peanuts and lime. No special running around for ingredients. I used Annie Chun's pad Thai sauce and was very pleased with it. It had a nice flavor blend with an ever so slight touch of heat at the end. The freshly chopped cilantro and peanuts added freshness and crunch to what was already an excellent dish. Next time, I plan on adding the scrambled egg and possibly bean sprouts. Will definitely make this recipe again.