A delicious and healthy vegetable stir-fry, Pad Pak Thai is perfect for a quick and easy weeknight dinner.
Especially this version that features lean chicken tenderloins as a protein. A variety of colorful and fiber-rich vegetables—including broccoli florets, mushrooms, carrots, and snow peas—are all cooked to perfection in a savory and sweet sauce the whole family will love.
What Is Pad Pak Thai
“Pad Pak” is a popular Thai stir-fry dish that translates to “stir-fried vegetables.” In Thai cuisine, “pad” means stir-fry, and “pak” means vegetables.
Basically, this dish typically consists of a variety of fresh vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, baby corn, mushrooms, bok choy, and snow peas, among others.
These vegetables are quickly stir-fried in a wok or pan with garlic, oyster sauce, soy sauce, or other seasonings. Sometimes, protein like tofu, chicken, shrimp, or beef may also be added to enhance the dish.
Pad Pak is a healthy and delicious option for those who enjoy flavorful vegetable-centric dishes in Thai cuisine. It can be served as a side dish or as a main course when paired with steamed rice.
Although, here at the GERD Chef we’ve adapted the recipe to make it Gerd Friendly. As usual, there are no added vinegar, onions, garlic, or chilies in the sauce, but that doesn’t mean that the sauce is lacking flavor!
Instead of those trigger foods we’ve added ginger and star anise, classic Asian ingredients that pack a unique and fragrant punch to cut through the savory tamari (gluten-free soy sauce) and sweet honey.
Ingredients for Pad Pak Thai
Sesame oil- the perfect oil flavor profile for Asian cooking.
Chicken tenderloins- the lean protein your whole family gets into.
Reduced-sodium tamari soy sauce- this low sodium version has all the umami and adds just enough salt.
Broccoli florets- even your kids will get into them after they’ve soaked up the delicious sauce.
Mushrooms- dealer’s choice on what kind of mushroom you use here. Baby Bellas are fantastic, though!
Crinkle cut carrots- because Thai food without these crunchy gems? No thanks.
Snow peas- Yessss! Snappy and sweet, don’t skip these.
Water- is the base of the “to die for” sauce.
Honey- great Asian food should be sweet, salty, and complex. Here’s that sweetness.
Cornstarch- just a touch gives the sauce the perfect level of silkiness
Fresh ginger or ginger paste- spicy without being tough on the tummy
Star anise- this beautifully shaped herb is a staple of Asian cooking
How To Make Pad Pak Thai
To start, heat a little sesame oil in a very large skillet or wok. The larger the better, as there will be quite a lot of vegetables going into the dish later on.
Then, stir-fry chopped chicken tenderloins in the sesame oil until they begin to brown on all sides. Secondly, pour in a splash of reduced-sodium tamari and continue to stir-fry the chicken until the tamari has caramelized onto the meat. Next, remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside to reintroduce to the stir fry later.
With the skillet emptied, you can begin to stir-fry the vegetables in a bit more sesame oil. Since it’s best to start with the longer cooking broccoli and mushrooms and stir fry a few minutes before adding the sliced carrots and then eventually the snow peas, as they take the least amount of time to cook.
Alternatively, a little color on the vegetables will give this great flavor, but if at any point they begin to char more than you’d like you can add a splash of water to slightly steam as you fry.
Once the vegetables are nearly cooked, whisk together the sauce ingredients and pour them into the skillet. Return the browned chicken to the skillet, bring the sauce up to a simmer, and immediately reduce the heat to low. Finally, stir fry just until the sauce has thickened and the vegetables are crisp and tender.
For a complete meal, serve alongside steamed rice or rice noodles.
What is Star Anise?
Star anise is a spice typically sold in a whole seed/pod form that you add to a dish as it is cooking but then remove before serving, similar to cooking with whole cloves or cinnamon sticks.
Although, star anise has a strong licorice-like flavor, by adding them toward the end of the cooking process, the flavor is quite mild in this recipe and serves as a way to accentuate the flavor of the ginger.
Even those that may not like the flavor of licorice may be surprised to know that star anise is used to create more complex flavors in many classic Asian takeout dishes.
What Can I Substitute for Star Anise?
Chinese five spice powder is a great alternative to star anise pods, as it includes some ground anise as one of the “five” spices. 1/2 teaspoon of five-spice powder will work in this recipe. Alternatively, you could also use 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves or allspice.
A delicious and healthy vegetable stir-fry, Pad Pak Thai is perfect for a quick and easy weeknight dinner, especially this version that features lean chicken tenderloins as a protein. A variety of colorful and fiber-rich vegetables—including broccoli florets, mushrooms, carrots, and snow peas—are all cooked to perfection in a savory and sweet sauce the whole family will love.
Heat 1/2 tablespoon of the sesame oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat.
Add the chopped chicken tenderloins and cook until they begin to lightly brown on all sides.
Pour in 1 tablespoon of the tamari and stir fry the chicken in the tamari until it caramelizes onto the meat. Remove from heat and remove chicken from the skillet, setting aside.
Reduce heat to medium. In the empty skillet, heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil.
Add the broccoli and mushrooms to the skillet and stir fry 4 minutes.
Add the carrots to the skillet and continue stir frying 3 minutes.
Add the snow peas to the skillet and continue stir frying 2 minutes.
In a small mixing bowl or cup, whisk together the water, honey, cornstarch, ginger, whole anise pods or five spice powder, and remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of tamari. Pour into the skillet and bring up to a simmer.
Reduce heat to low, return chicken to the skillet, and stir fry until the sauce has thickened and vegetables are crisp-tender. Remove anise pods and serve.