Pad Thai For Kids

Sometimes I watch my kids eating mac and cheese for the gazillionth time and I think, is this how a brain glitch presents? How come they never get sick of it? When is the scurvy going to kick in?

On Facebook, my cousins in Thailand post pics of the food they feed their kids—Pad Thai_1

Each dish is more exotic than the next…

Pad Thai_2

And with cuter forks…Pad Thai_3

Come on!Pad Thai_4

Check it out!  Many different kinds of food all mixed together. Yes, egg touching noodles touching vegetables— imagine!

So I asked my mom how I could make Thai food more palatable for my cheesy American daughters and the woman let me in on an ancient Chinese secret.  I’m about to share it with you right now.  Are you ready?


Aw, yeah.  I just said ketchup while discussing Thai food. Aloy Mak!  (Don’t be scared, that means “yummy”.)

This is not my grandmother’s Pad Thai.  It’s not even my mother’s Pad Thai. This is my children’s Pad Thai.  But the great thing is that when you eat their leftovers (as I usually do), you will enjoy it.  Not only will your children receive nourishment from this Pad Thai, you’ll also get to gloat about little Suzy’s cultured palate to anyone who’ll listen.Pad Thai_5



  • ½ package brown rice noodles (pre-soaked in hot water about 30 minutes, rinsed and drained)
  • 1 tbs peanut oil
  • 1 small shallot minced
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 1 tbs ketchup (I use Annie’s organic)
  • 1 tsp agave
  • a few drops rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 scallion chopped
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • ¼ cup unsalted peanuts
  • ¼ cubed tofu
  • handful of carrots and broccoli

What to do:

Pre-cook carrots and broccoli.  Steam, boil, stir-fry, your choice.  Set aside.

In a wok or pan, brown the tofu over medium heat.  Remove when done and use the oil to brown the garlic and shallot. Do not burn.  Add noodles with about 2 tbs water, cook for about 10 minutes. Add sauce: agave, fish sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, and that secret ingredient—ketchup. Push noodles aside and cook the egg (or cook egg separately).  Mix together, then add bean sprouts, scallion, and sprinkle the peanuts. Whether or not you mix the vegetables in with the noodles is up to you.  Mine don’t roll like that so I leave it on the side.

Ready to upgrade to the grown-up version? Add dried pepper flakes (the kind that come with your Italian takeout) when you’re browning the garlic and shallots, and use palm sugar instead of agave and tamarind instead of ketchup. If I lived closer to an Asian market I would have tamarind in my fridge, but I don’t.  Now ketchup, that I always have.

For the record, I have never used measuring spoons when cooking Thai food. The measurements here are meant to serve as a guide.


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