Pad Thai Backpacking Recipe Plant-based backpacking meals Recipes for Winter Backpacking

Sweet and Tangy Pad Thai

Chewy, crunchy, sweet and tangy, all in one quick meal. Pad Thai is one of the most popular dishes in Thailand and everywhere it is found. Works best in temperatures above 30ºF.


  • Suatéd tofu (2–3 oz., optional)
  • Small carrot
  • Red onion (1/4, or 1 spring onion)
  • Chinese chives (1.2–1.5 oz., 35 gm)
  • Thin rice noodles (2–4 oz)
  • Sesame oil or Olive oil (2 tbsp)
  • Bean sprouts (50 gm, optional)
  • Roasted peanuts (3 tbsp)
  • Cilantro
Pad Thai ingredients
This image shows a large portion of ingredients. The Tofu is enough for 2–3 meals.


  • Tamarind paste (2 tbsp, ready made is fine)
  • Maple syrup, 1 tbsp
  • Soy sauce (2 tbsp, there is sweeter Thai version)
  • Gochugaru (1 tbsp, Korean Chili powder or 1 red Thai chili pepper)
pad thai ingredients
Left: You can prepare your own Tamarind or simply buy ready-made concentrate, which is just water and Tamarind. Middle left: Chili Crisp are not hard to find, but I prefer this version because it has the essential ingredients with no other additives. Chili Crisp are amazing and can enhance many types of dishes. Middle right: Most recipes will use a finely chopped Thai chili pepper, but I use Gochugaru (Korean Chili powder) because I have it on hand for many recipes. Right: Soy sauce.

Prepare at home

  1. Slice and Sauté tofu (2–3 minutes each side).
  2. Chop small carrot, red onion, and chives into small pieces.
  3. Make sauce: Combine tamarind paste, maple syrup, soy sauce, and Gochugaru (Korean Chili powder)
cooking tofu
This is extra firm Tofu sautéd in a skillet with a small about of Sesame Oil. About 2–3 minutes each side. This is enough for 2–3 meals.

Directions at camp (two methods):

(1) Skillet or sauté method

  1. Boil rice noodles (2–3 minutes).
  2. Heat sesame oil in skillet. Sauté the onions for a couple of minutes. Add tofu and sauté for another few minutes
  3. Add in the noodles, Chives and vegetables, sauce, and sauté for another few minutes
  4. Add crushed roasted peanuts and freshly chopped cilantro.

(2) Boil in pot method (easier and faster, but less authentic)

  1. Boil rice noodles (2 minute).
  2. Add in chives, vegetables, and tofu to noodles and continue boiling for 2–3 minutes (or divide times similarly based on cook time for type of noodle selected)
  3. Drain water from noodles and vegetables (can be used as a soup)
  4. Add sauce and mix
  5. Add crushed roasted peanuts and freshly chopped cilantro.
pad thai rice noodles
There are many types and brands of rice noodles or rice sticks. They all work fine. Cook times vary for soups and stir-fry. Some recommend soaking, but can be boiled instead.


Probably enough for 2 people.

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