Chicken and Cabbage Pad Thai is the perfect dish to whip up when you don't want to cook, don't have time to cook, but still feel like eating something delicious!
It is quick and easy to make and is all in one pan. For more easy dinners like this, I'd go for sheet pan chicken fajitas or sheet pan lemon pesto chicken, this super easy tomato soup, or vegetarian lo mein.
Why you’ll love this recipe
Chicken and cabbage pad Thai is a meal that you can get a lot of flavors and textures from, but minimal use of time and dishes. It is fresh from the lime, and crunchy from the cabbage and peanuts.
If you love Thai flavors, you will love this dish! It may not always be a looker, but it's a flavor bomb. For more Thai inspired, try these delicious grilled lemongrass chicken thighs!
You don't even have to boil the noodles in a separate casserole, it's all made in one pan! This also means it's an easy clean-up.
To make this chicken and noodles dish you will need:
- Chicken thighs - we want extra juicy chicken. It's also a common cut of meat in Thailand.
- Cabbage - provides texture and also more filling. The cabbage is (maybe weirdly) one of my favorite ingredients in a pad Thai, and I would never make it without it.
- Carrot - a pop of color and lots of healthy nutrients and vitamins.
- Egg - provides a creamy texture as it almost gets like scrambled eggs
- Water chestnuts or bean sprouts - for more texture and interest. Can be omitted but I really love to add both!
- Tamarind paste - made from the tamarind fruit, it's a dark, sweet and sticky paste that tastes sour. It replaces the vinegar or lemon juice in European cuisine, but it has a very different taste anyway. It's a common ingredient in Thailand, and if you like Thai food I highly recommend using it. If you can't find it, you could try with vinegar in a pinch, or just get store-bought pad Thai sauce for this (I use that when I'm out camping!).
- Honey or brown sugar - to sweeten the sauce.
- Fish sauce - provides a more savory and umami flavor, balancing the spices of the dish. But it's important not to overdo it, as the dish will taste fishy.
- Water - to thin the sauce to desired consistency.
- Sriracha - for more heat and kick, I highly recommend adding some as Sriracha also has a lot of other spices in it.
- Garlic and onion powder - for more umami flavors.
- Rice noodles - look for flat rice noodles, also called wide rice sticks or pad thai noodles. They will have a firm and chewy texture once cooked.
- Peanuts - on top, to serve. You don't want to miss this, it's an important part of the dish!
- Fresh cilantro - to top, if you want, of course. You can also use spring onion.
Start by cooking the chicken thighs. Cut them into bite-sized pieces and sprinkle with salt and pepper and chili flakes if desired. Heat neutral oil in a skillet and over high heat, cook the chicken. It takes a couple of minutes on each side (1). Set the chicken aside.
In the same pan, cook carrot (cut like matchsticks) until tender, about 5 minutes (2). Add in a slightly whisked egg and cook while stirring until the egg is cooked through (3).
Then add in the shredded cabbage and water chestnuts/bean sprouts (4). Add more salt, pepper, and chili flakes if desired. Cook for another 2 minutes.
Add in the chicken and sauce ingredients and roughly cut (with scissors is easiest) rice noodles (5). Stir until the noodles are done, a couple of minutes (6).
Serve each dish with a generous drizzle of lime juice, roughly chopped, salted peanuts, and fresh cilantro and chili flakes, if desired.
Chicken and cabbage pad Thai is a dish that is easy to reheat because the rice noodles don't get soggy the way regular noodles do. Add in a splash or two of water when reheating over low heat.
It keeps for 3-4 days, covered in the refrigerator, or you can freeze it for another 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat as above.
What does Pad Thai consist of?
Pad Thai is a dish originating from Thailand. It has stir-fried rice noodles, eggs, different vegetables (often cabbage), and a protein. The sauce is salty, sour, and sweet, made with tamarind paste, fish sauce, and a few other ingredients.
It's also topped with peanuts and lime juice for a complex and delicious flavor profile.
What is it supposed to taste like?
Thai cuisine is impeccable at answering the big five: Salty, sweet, bitter, sour, and umami. This dish is no different! It is for example salty and umami from the fish sauce, sour from the tamarind and lime juice, and sweet from the sugar and carrots. It's also nutty from the peanuts on top!
Do you eat pad Thai with chopsticks?
No. Thai only eat Chinese food with chopsticks. Pad Thai is eaten with a fork or spoon.
Why is it called pad Thai?
It is derived from the words Phad Thai, which means "fried Thai-style". It is not referring to the dish itself, but rather the stir-frying technique. Other dishes with this technique include Pad See Ew, Khao Pad, and Pad Krapow.
Make it vegetarian/vegan
This dish is easy to make vegetarian and even vegan, simply by omitting the chicken and instead of fish sauce, use soy sauce. To still keep it gluten-free, make sure you use a gluten-free soy sauce.
If you want to replace the chicken, instead of omitting the chicken, I'd use firm tofu or sliced white button mushroom. Easy peasy!
Did you like this recipe? Here are more easy dinners I think you’d love:
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amy liu dong
Tuesday 2nd of May 2023
I just love Thai dishes! This one looks amazingly delicious and very yummy! Looks very appealing too!
Stine Mari | Ginger with Spice
Monday 15th of May 2023
Thank you so much, my friend!