It’s hard to believe that Pad Thai is 80 years old, as its distinct flavor has taken the world by storm.
The nutty and sweet combination of flavors in this dish comes from a handful of ingredients: tamarind paste, brown sugar, and fish sauce – and the addition of peanuts gives it a crunchy texture.
Most people consider Pad Thai their favorite dish, as it’s not only tasty but easy enough that anyone can make it.
If you’re trying to impress your friends with your cooking skills, this is the perfect dish to do it.
The best part about Pad Thai is that you can customize it to your taste – order it spicy, sweet, or savory, depending on what you’re in the mood for.
It’s also a great option for those who don’t eat meat as there are many variations where tofu can be substituted for shrimp.
Although Pad Thai originated in Thailand, it has become a staple throughout the world.
With its unique taste and ease of preparation, this dish is set to remain popular for decades to come.
In this article, we will list some tasty sides that pair perfectly with Pad Thai.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes for Pad Thai?
Pad Thai is not the only super popular Thai noodle dish out there.
But it is a dish that can be enjoyed on its own.
But there are benefits to serving side dishes for pad Thai.
Most people do not consider how it could enhance the flavor of their meal when they eat the noodles by themselves.
Why? Well, because Pad Thai often has a fairly standard set of ingredients.
- For example, it includes rice noodles, eggs, bean sprouts, and tofu. Often peanuts are included in the dish as well.
- It also has a sauce commonly made of tamarind paste, fish sauce, and palm sugar.
- With this said, if you eat pad Thai on its own without any side dishes, the flavors tend to blend.
- However, when you serve side dishes with Pad Thai, each flavor profile stands out. It is then that you can truly appreciate the complexity of even simple ingredients.
Another great advantage to serving side dishes is that they can add extra nutrition to your meal.
This is especially important when eating pad Thai.
That’s because the rice noodles used in this dish are low in nutrients and not particularly filling.
That means that most people eat more of these than they intended to eat – which then adds on calories for the day.
But when you add in nutritious side dishes, this can also help increase the nutrient value of your meal.
For example, serving a green salad with pad Thai is one great idea.
That’s because the leafy greens in the salad will provide extra vitamins and minerals that you might miss out on if you were to eat pad Thai on its own.
People who are mainly vegetarian would benefit from having a salad with their pad thai the most.
So if you haven’t considered side dishes before, think about how you can make them part of your next meal.
It is an easy way to up the nutritional value of your diet and increases flavor simultaneously.
What to Serve with Pad Thai? 8 BEST Side Dishes
Once you have decided to serve side dishes for your pad Thai, the next step is considering what side dishes would work best.
Well, there are so many options out there.
But let’s narrow it down a bit and stick with eight of the most popular ideas that people think about when they decide to serve side dishes for pad Thai.
1 – Baked Thai Turkey Meatballs
These baked Thai turkey meatballs are great alongside any Asian-inspired dish, such as pad Thai.
They add a boost of flavor and protein to your meal, which will leave you satisfied.
To make these baked Thai turkey meatballs, mix ground turkey with green onion, garlic, and ginger in a medium bowl before adding panko breadcrumbs, coconut milk, and fish sauce.
Season with salt and pepper before stirring in egg.
Then, shape the mixture into meatballs and transfer to a baking sheet before baking at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes.
2 – Thai Basil Chicken
This savory dish is great because it can be served alongside any meal but will pair particularly well with pad Thai.
Plus, the flavors work so well together.
It’s a vibrant and hearty dish that is good for serving alongside meals but most notably goes great with pad Thai.
All in all, it’s a strong combination of flavors – nothing too extreme, just balanced.
You’ll need to slice the chicken breast into small, thin strips before mixing them with garlic, Thai chile pepper, fish sauce, soy sauce, and oyster sauce.
Then cook for about two minutes on each side before adding green onion and bell peppers.
Finish by cooking for about three minutes – the vegetables should still be slightly crisp.
3 – Steamed Vegetable Dumplings
These steamed vegetable dumplings are a great healthy side dish that tastes almost as good as they look.
All you need is 30 minutes to prepare and serve these alongside your pad Thai.
Although this is a simple recipe, it’s made from ingredients that pack a lot of flavor into each dumpling.
Start by combining brown rice, leeks, cabbage, and carrots in a food processor before transferring to a mixing bowl.
Then add cilantro, scallions, and ginger before seasoning with salt.
Next, you’ll want to spoon some of the mixtures into each dumpling wrapper before steaming them for about 8 minutes.
Once they’re done, serve them alongside a side of soy sauce for dipping.
4 – Carrot Ginger Soup
This light and refreshing soup is a great treat when the weather gets cold.
Plus, it will add some depth to your meal with its subtle Thai-inspired flavors.
To make this sweet and silky soup, start by roasting carrots and shallots in the oven before transferring them to a pot with vegetable broth, coconut milk, and fresh ginger—season with salt and pepper before cooking for about 30 minutes.
Finally, puree the soup until smooth and serve alongside your pad Thai dish.
5 – Green Papaya Salad
This spicy Vietnamese staple is another strong pairing with pad Thai.
It might seem a little strange, but this salad works surprisingly well with the sweetness of your dish.
To make this green papaya salad, you’ll want to peel the papaya before julienning it and cutting it into thin strips.
Then transfer to a bowl before adding carrots, garlic, salt, and sugar.
Mix rice vinegar, fish sauce, and chili garlic sauce before pouring it over the salad.
Toss until all the ingredients are evenly coated, then let marinate for a few minutes before serving alongside your pad Thai – you won’t be disappointed.
6 – Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce
This surprisingly simple dipping sauce tastes great with pretty much anything.
It’s naturally vegan and goes well with pad Thai as it adds a spicy kick to each bite.
It’s a great recipe that can be whipped up in minutes – all you need is peanut butter, soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, and chili garlic paste.
Whisk together the ingredients before serving alongside your dish.
You can also try making a bigger batch and transferring it to an airtight container.
It will keep for weeks, so feel free to make a big batch and use it throughout the week.
7 – Panang Curry with Chicken
This creamy Thai curry is ideal for pairing with chicken pad Thai because of its mild spiciness.
The flavors complement each other beautifully, and it’s super easy to make too.
Pan-fry the chicken breast before transferring to a pot with coconut milk, green beans, and Panang curry paste.
Let simmer for about 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through, then throw in some sugar snap peas and cook for an additional five minutes.
Season with fish sauce and serve alongside your pad Thai – it’s as easy as that.
8 – Chicken Satay
Another great dish that tastes amazing with pad Thai.
This satay is made from chicken thighs which are marinated overnight, skewered, and grilled to perfection.
It’s a quick recipe that doesn’t require many ingredients – you’ll want to slice the chicken into one-inch cubes before submerging them in coconut milk for an hour.
Then transfer to a shallow dish with soy sauce, red curry paste, and brown sugar before tossing to coat.
Skewer the chicken onto bamboo skewers and grill for about five minutes on each side – you’ll know they’re ready when the meat is no longer pink in the middle.
In conclusion, Pad Thai is a great dish to serve with numerous side dishes.
The recipe above gives you eight of the most delicious options, but feel free to experiment and try out whatever tastes good.
Remember that there’s no ‘one correct pairing with Pad Thai – it goes well with a variety of different dishes, which is why we recommend serving it for dinner parties when you can experiment with several side dishes.
Pick and choose what sounds best to you and enjoy your delicious feast.