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Pad Mee Korat Recipe (Spicy Pad Thai)

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Pad mee korat recipe is perfect for making quick and easy spicy noodles during your busy weeknights. It’s a hot twist on the classic Pad Thai noodle dish, but you can easily control the heat level to your taste. Simple, full of authentic flavors, and downright delicious!

Pad mee korat topped with beans sprouts and green onions served in a clay dish with red chili peppers.

After making this, try some of these easy Thai rice noodle recipes: Chili garlic noodles, the Lao classic kua mee, and savory beef pad see ew. This sen mee pad see ew is another easy dish with rice vermicelli noodles.

What is pad mee korat

Pad mee korat is a classic Thai noodle dish, similar to pad Thai but spicier. It originated in the Korat region in Thailand and is made with rice noodles stir-fried in a blend of tamarind, palm sugar, and fish sauce.

Spicy rice noodle stir-fry

This is a spicy rice noodle stir-fry that’s sure to become a part of your weekly dinner rotation! It’s full of perfectly cooked rice noodles tossed in the most amazing stir-fry sauce with juicy pork, fragrant garlic, crisp veggies, and a sprinkle of Thai chili flakes.

Thai woman presenting a clay dish of pad mee korat, a spicy Thai noodle stir-fry.

This Thai dish is known for its spicy touch, but it’s not just the heat that sets this recipe apart. A well-balanced flavor combination of sweetness, saltiness, umami, and spice makes these spicy Thai noodles a total crowd-pleaser. I used a combination of tamarind paste, fish sauce, palm sugar, and black soy sauce.

This spicy rice noodle stir-fry comes all the way from Korat, a vibrant city located in the Northeast of Thailand’s Isan region. Northeastern Thailand is known for it’s bold, spicy flavors, with dishes like som tum Thai (green papaya salad) and Thai ground beef larb ruling the street food markets. Learn more about Isan and our culture in my collection of Issan Thai food recipes.

Close-up of pad mee korat noodles with bacon, with bean sprouts, chili flakes, and a lime wedge.

Why try this Thai spicy noodles stir-fry

  • This recipe is easily customizable: That’s right, you can tweak this recipe and make it your own. Use more or less chili, sub the pork for your favorite protein like chicken or beef, or toss in some of your favorite stir-fry vegetables.
  • Healthy and budget friendly: Check!
  • Make it vegetarian: Simply sub the pork for tofu, use vegan fish sauce, and add extra veggies if desired.
  • Easy to make: Whether you’re a home cook or a chef, this Thai noodle dish is simple and full of flavor!
  • Unique: Pad mee korat is one of the lesser known Thai stir-fry dishes, especially when compared to classic stir-fries like pad Thai or pad kra pao. Expand your knowledge of Thai cuisine and add this unique dish to your recipe collection.

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


Ingredients for pad mee korat labeled: fish sauce, dark soy sauce, tamarind sauce, soybean paste, palm sugar, Thai chili flakes, bean sprouts, green onions, shallots, garlic, water, rice noodles, and bacon.
  • Noodles – Rice noodles come in different sizes. For this recipe, I suggest using medium-sized rice noodles. Both fresh and dry noodles work, soak dry rice noodles in water according to package label before use.
  • Pork – Many Thai people I know swear by using bacon for pad mee korat, and believe me, it makes all the difference! There’s no need to use cooking oil when using bacon, we will be using the fat that separates from the bacon. If you use a different type of protein like chicken or beef, use an oil suited for stir-frying, like canola oil or vegetable oil.
  • Palm sugar – This staple ingredient of Thai cuisine adds a sweet, caramel-like flavor to the noodles. To replicate the exact flavors, avoid white sugar and brown sugar.
  • Fish sauce – Fish sauce adds a salty, umami flavor. It’s made from fermented fish and is commonly used in Thai stir-fries.
  • Tamarind sauce – Tamarind sauce adds a distinct sour flavor to the pad kee korat sauce.
  • Soy bean paste – A common ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisines – brings a salty and slightly nutty flavor.
  • Black soy sauce – This dark and thick sauce is used to give the noodles a darker color as well as adding a slightly sweet flavor.
  • Bean sprouts, green onions, garlic, shallots – My choice of vegetables, feel free to customize.
  • Thai chili flakes – Essential for spicy noodles.
  • Water – Creates a stir-fry sauce, so we can coat each strand of noodle with sauce.

Note: Feel free to add extra vegetables, eggs, or chilies. Using the ingredients listed above is how I have learned to make pad mee korat.

Cooking instructions

Hand lifting soaked flat rice noodles.

Step 1: Start by soaking the dry rice noodles in water following the package instructions.

Stir-frying bacon in an aluminum wok pan with a spatula.

Step 2: Cook the bacon in a pan over medium heat until it’s fully cooked, and the fat has rendered out. Remove the bacon, leaving the fat behind. If using another protein, substitute with 2 tablespoons of cooking oil.

Stir-fried garlic and shallots with an aluminum spatula in a large aluminum wok pan.

Step 3: Stir-fry the garlic and shallots for 20 seconds, or until they turn golden.

Close-up of garlic, shallots, palm sugar, dried chili flakes, fish sauce, soybean paste, and tamarind sauce in an aluminum wok.

Step 4: Add the soybean paste, dark soy sauce, tamarind sauce, fish sauce, palm sugar, and dried chili flakes to the pan. Stir thoroughly until the palm sugar dissolves completely.

A brown, watery sauce in an aluminum wok.

Step 5: Pour in water and bring the mixture to a simmer.

Rice noodles mixed with sauce in an aluminum wok.

Step 6: Add the noodles to the simmering sauce, mixing gently to ensure they don’t break. Make sure the noodles are well-coated with sauce.

Bacon with stir-fried noodles in a large aluminum wok pan.

Step 7: Reintroduce the bacon to the pan, combining it well with the noodles.

Pad mee korat in a large aluminum pan.

Step 8: Toss in the bean sprouts and green onions, give it a final stir, and serve hot.

If you love spicy food, you’ll love my collection of spicy Thai recipes with yum talay, Thai hot and spicy beef, and hot and spicy pork rinds!

Kitchen tools

  • Mixing bowl if you want to pre-mix the stir-fry sauce and for soaking noodles
  • Strainer or colander for draining the soaked rice noodles
  • Mortar and pestle for making chili flakes from scratch
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Wok or large skillet
  • Spatula

Tips for perfect noodles

  • Avoid overcrowding the wok, stir-frying in batches of 2 servings for the best result.
  • Use all flavoring ingredients to capture pad mee korat’s unique, traditional taste.
  • Soak the rice noodles until slightly soft but not mushy in lukewarm water.
  • Adjust the spice level to taste, using less chili for milder flavors.
  • Choose your protein, with pork being traditional, this pad mee korat recipe is versatile and chicken, beef, shrimp, or seafood are great too.

How to serve

Pad mee korat is great as a side and main. I love pairing it with a spicy salad like long bean salad. Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped green onions, bean sprouts, and crushed roasted peanuts for texture and nuttiness. Add a wedge of lime for an extra sour note and pair with a chilled drink like cold beer to temper the heat.

Pad mee korat pork served with Thai chili flakes, a lime wedge, and a garnishing of bean sprouts.

How to store leftover noodles

Let your pad mee korat leftovers cool to room temperature and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3–4 days.

Reheating instructions: Simply warm it up on the stove over low-medium until warm. If needed, toss in a bit of tablespoons of water.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between pad Thai and pad mee korat?

Pad mee korat is a simplified, spicier version of the classic pad Thai noodle dish. It typically includes pork tossed with a savory, spicy stir-fry sauce. Pad Thai typically includes roasted peanuts, baby shrimp, and sometimes tofu.

Is pad mee korat vegan?

You can easily turn this simple pad mee korat recipe into a vegan version by substituting the pork meat for tofu, and the fish sauce for vegan fish sauce.

How spicy is this?

The spiciness varies on the amount of chili you use. If your spice-level is low, you can add a pinch of chili powder, or none at all. But this is generally considered a spicy dish.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

It’s important to check the labeling of your store-bought sauces like soybean paste, black soy, and fish sauce. Some might be gluten-free and some not.

More Thai noodle recipes you’ll love

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Pad Mee Korat Recipe (Spicy Pad Thai)

Pad mee korat on top of a banana leaf in a clay serving tray. On top of it is some dried chili flakes with wooden chopsticks, a wedge of lime, and flowers are spread around as decoration.
This pad mee korat recipe is easy to customize and perfect for your busy weekdays.
Praew
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Main Course
Serving Size 4 people

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 3 shallots chopped
  • 1/3 cup palm sugar chop to measure
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons tamarind sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soybean paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
  • 1/2 tablespoon black soy sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 12 ounces pork bacon, fresh, unsalted
  • 7 ounces bean sprouts
  • 18 ounces dry rice noodles
  • 3 green onions chopped

Instructions

  • Start by soaking the dry rice noodles in water following the package instructions.
  • Cook the bacon in a pan over medium heat until it’s fully cooked, and the fat has rendered out. Remove the bacon, leaving the fat behind. If using another protein, substitute with 2 tablespoons of cooking oil.
  • Stir-fry the garlic and shallots for 20 seconds, or until they turn golden.
  • Add the soybean paste, dark soy sauce, tamarind sauce, fish sauce, palm sugar, and dried chili flakes to the pan. Stir thoroughly until the palm sugar dissolves completely.
  • Pour in water and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  • Add the noodles to the simmering sauce, mixing gently to ensure they don’t break. Make sure the noodles are well-coated with sauce.
  • Reintroduce the bacon to the pan, combining it well with the noodles.
  • Toss in the bean sprouts and green onions, give it a final stir, and serve hot.

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Soak the rice noodles in lukewarm water until they hang slightly soft, but not mushy.
  • Don't overcrowd your wok pan, work in batches of 2 servings at max. Stir-fry quickly and over high heat.
  • Adjust the heat to your personal spice level. For milder flavors, use less dried chili flakes or omit them altogether.
  • Pork is the most commonly used meat for pad mee korat, but feel free to use chicken, beef, shrimp, or any other type of seafood instead.
  • All flavoring ingredients used in this recipe are necessary to achieve that traditional and unique flavor which pad mee korat is known for.

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3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I think I’ve accidentally added too much water, but other than that it was really good!

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