Want to make authentic Pad Thai at home? All you really need is a jar of this pad thai sauce in your fridge and you can have fresh, amazing Pad Thai any night for dinner at a fraction of the cost of takeout. (Besides, we think all the best takeout can be made at home.)
Have you noticed that it’s been quite saucy around here lately? First it was this sweet and sour goodness, then Thai peanut sauce (yum), and then tamarind paste which….well….isn’t technically a sauce. But you get the idea.
We couldn’t resist going a little heavy on the sauces when it comes to Thai home cooking. All of these sauces are building blocks for so many other delicious recipes. We’ve currently got a refrigerator stocked with sauces and I’m giddy about all the possibilities.
But no Thai fridge is complete unless it includes Pad Thai sauce. Just 4 ingredients and with super simple adaptations for paleo, gluten-free, and vegan / vegetarian. (See the recipe below for all the adaptations!)
This sauce’s uses aren’t limited to Pad Thai either. Use it in a stir-fry of chicken and vegetables, marinate tofu in it, whisk a spoonful with some olive oil for a ridiculously good salad dressing, dip summer rolls in it, toss it with just about anything and serve it in lettuce cups.
Endless possibilities, I tell ya!
Ingredients for Pad Thai Sauce
The ingredients list here is so simple, but the key element is tamarind paste. Read everything you need to know about making tamarind paste here. We also tested this recipe using tamarind concentrate found at our local Asian grocery store or online here.
As you can see below, the homemade tamarind paste (left) made from pressed tamarind fruit is thicker and has more texture to it than the store-bought version (right). Homemade tamarind paste has a more intense, natural flavor. However, both the homemade and store-bought made delicious pad thai sauce.
The rest of the sauce is just soy sauce (preferably low sodium), fish sauce and brown sugar.
And now that you’ve got the sauce mastered, I bet you can guess what’s coming up next…
Now you’re ready to make Pad Thai – recipe here!
- 1 cup Tamarind paste
- ¼ cup Water
- ¼ cup Fish sauce
- 1 Tbsp Soy sauce, preferably low sodium
- ⅓ cup Brown sugar
- Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until the brown sugar is dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. (Do not let it reduce any further once the sugar is dissolved or it won't be the right consistency for making pad thai.)
- IMPORTANT: At this point, you need to taste the sauce and adjust it to fit your taste. Some people like their sauce a bit more sweet, so if that's you, add a bit more sugar and simmer for another minute. If you prefer a bit more salty/umami flavor, add a bit more soy or fish sauce. You can also add a bit of lime zest if you like a more pronounced citrus flavor. With all the flavorful elements of this sauce, you'll love it the most if you adjust it suit your own unique taste preferences.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 weeks.
- Click here to get the recipe for Authentic Pad Thai using this sauce!
1 cup Tamarind paste
1/4 cup Water
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp Fish sauce
6 oz / 170 g Palm sugar, finely chopped
For gluten-free variation:
substitute tamari for soy sauce
For vegetarian / vegan variation:
1 cup Tamarind paste
1/4 cup Water
1/4 cup Soy sauce
1/3 cup Brown sugar
And while we’re cooking away, check out these two little buddies. Hanging out…watching Sesame Street.