Pad Thai

A Thai noodle dish.

by John Tanner
makes about 5 servings

8 oz whole wheat linguini noodles
1/8 tsp salt
4 or 5 green onions
6 to 12 oz of lite tofu
1 small bunch of cilantro
2 limes

Pad Thai sauce

4 Tbsp brown sugar (or other sweetener)
6 Tbsp tamarind paste
12 cloves crushed garlic
4 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper powder or 3 tsp chili sauce (optional)

Start a pot of water boiling. Add the salt and the noodles. Even though the package says cook less than 15 minutes, I cook them 20 minutes to make sure they are really soft. While the noodles are cooking you can prepare the other ingredients.

Chop the green onions.

Mix the four or five sauce ingredients in a medium sized bowl.

When the noodles are done cooking, drain them and put them back into the pot. Add the sauce and the green onions. Turn the burner back on low under the pot and stir well.

Cut the tofu into little cubes and stir it gently into the noodle mixture or sprinkle on top.

Chop the cilantro and cut the limes into 8 wedges while the noodle mixture warms up. Dump the noodle mixture onto a serving platter and sprinkle the chopped cilantro on top. Garnish with lime wedges around the edge of the platter.  Enjoy.


Many different ingredients can be added to this basic recipe including bean sprouts, carrots, purple cabbage, and/or bok choy. You can add the lime juice directly into the sauce saving the eaters the effort of squeezing the limes. However, leaving the limes as a garnish adds to the visual appeal of the dish and allows each person to choose their own level of lime. If your cholesterol level is below 150 (without cholesterol-lowering medications) and you've never had a heart attack, you may want to sprinkle on some chopped roasted peanuts.

Finding the Ingredients

Pad Thai in the restaurant is generally made with rice noodles. White rice is not quite diet compliant, so I use whole wheat linguini noodles which are diet compliant. I also found a brown rice fettuccini noodle by Tinkyada at my Henry's grocery store. Its ingredients are brown rice, rice bran, and water. I guess the rice bran violates the whole grain rule, so I will stick with the whole wheat noodles, but if wheat doesn't agree with you, you might try the brown rice noodles.

Most tofu you find in the refrigerated section of the grocery store is high in fat. One typical example has fat calories/total calories of 25/60 => 42%. The company Mori-Nu makes a line of tofus that come in a cardboard box that can be stored at room temperature for more than six months. These can sometimes be found on the shelf of the grocery store near the soy sauce or other Asian foods, and nowhere near the refrigerated tofus. Most of the Mori-Nu tofus are just as fat heavy as the refrigerated ones, but one of them, Lite Tofu, has a fat ratio of 5/30 => 16%, lower in percentage, total calories, and especially fat calories.

A good tasting and easy ready-made Pad Thai sauce is made by Thai Kitchen. However, it has anchovy extract and soy oil, and so is not quite diet compliant. To make your own Pad Thai sauce, you really need tamarind. I had to search a long time until I found tamarind paste in a Thai grocery store, but for me it was worth the effort. Compared to the Thai Kitchen sauce, this home made sauce has more tamarind and no tomato. And the pepper gives this recipe just that little added nip. I found tamarind paste by A.C. Products at the Thai bulk grocery store LAX-C at 1100 N. Main St., Los Angeles, CA.