Simple pad thai, a van life recipe

Camping Pad Thai in 30-Minutes, a Van Life Cooking Staple

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Restaurant quality food Straight to your van with this Camping pad thai recipe!

Only recently did we realized we could whip up our own pad thai in less time than it would take to boil pasta and heat a jar of sauce.

It makes sense, a street food that’s quick and easy by design is perfectly adaptable for the van life kitchen.

What’s more, restaurant-quality pad thai is attainable with a handful of easily sourced ingredients.

Not the healthiest meal in our repertoire with a fair bit of sugar and oil, we usually save this for a weekend evening when we are craving takeout but find ourselves somewhere far from any restaurants.

Pad thai is shockingly simple. Before you begin you’ll need to prepare some protein like crispy tofu, grilled chicken, or shrimp. Soak the pad thai noodles in boiling water for 7 or 8 minutes and drain well. Finally, knock up a quick and delicious pad thai sauce of soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar.

Once you have the dish elements ready to go it’s time to put it together. In a hot wok or large frying pan add some peanut oil, shallots, garlic, and ginger and stir until fragrant. Next, make a well in the middle of the pan and add two eggs, and scramble gently before combing with the other ingredients in the pan. Next, add in the softened noodles and gently stir-fry the noodles, eggs, and veggies for a few minutes. Add Pad Thai sauce made from soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar rice vinegar, and then the pre-cooked protein.

  • Serving Size: 2
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cooking Time: 25 mins
Diced vegetables for van life recipes
Simple pad thai calls for simple ingredients!

Simple Pad Thai Ingredients

  • 200g of firm tofu cut into 3cm (1 in) cubes
  • Cornflour (optional)
  • 2 tsps of ginger, minced
  • 1 large shallot, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 chili, thinly sliced (remove seeds to reduce heat)
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g of pad thai noodles
  • 1 lime (or lemon)
  • Cooking oil (we prefer vegetable oil)

For the pad thai sauce:

  • 3 tbsp of sugar
  • 3 tbsp of fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp of rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of soy sauce

Optional toppings:

  • 2 tbsp of unsalted peanuts
  • Handful of cilantro (coriander)
Simple pad thai, a van life recipe
This simple pad thai recipe will sure to become a staple in your van life kitchen!

Simple Pad Thai Method

Step 1: In a cast-iron frying pan, heat the cooking oil on high heat. Coat the 3cm cubes of tofu in cornflour. Once the oil is sizzling, place each cube of tofu on the pan. Fry until golden on all sides. Set the tofu aside once done.

Step 2: Prepare the pad thai sauce by combining the 3 tbsp of fish sauce, 3 tbsp of rice vinegar (or white wine vinegar), 3 tbsp of sugar, and 1 tbsp of soy sauce into a bowl.

Step 3: Set the water to boil for the pad thai noodles. You want to time the cooking of the noodles as close as you can for these to be done when you are ready to add the noodles to the pan.

Step 4: In a cast iron fry pan, heat the vegetable oil until hot. Fry up the sliced shallot, two cloves of minced garlic, 2 tsp of minced ginger, and 1 thinly sliced chili until tender.

Step 5: Make a hole in the mixture in the cast iron fry pan. Add the two whisked eggs to the pan until cooked, constantly stirring the eggs to break them up.

Step 6: When the egg has completely cooked add the cooked pad thai noodles to the pan. Continue to toss and fry the noodles for a few minutes.

Step 7: Once the noodles are lightly fried, add the tofu and the pad thai sauce to the pan. Stir the sauce through so that it evenly coats the noodles.

Step 8: Squeeze the 1/2 lime on the dish. Top with your simple pad thai with cilantro and crushed peanuts!

This simple pad thai recipe has quickly gone up the ranks and is proving itself to be a weekend staple. In just thirty minutes, you can have restaurant-quality Thai food from the comfort of your own van.

Let us know in the comments below if you love this simple pad thai recipe as much as we do!

Looking for More Simple Van Life Recipes?

If cooking is a passion of yours just like it is ours, check out more of our simple and easy van life recipes! Cooking from your van does NOT mean that you cannot create some truly magical moments in your van life kitchen!


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This recipe has been inspired by Feasting at Home.



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