Pad Prik Sod: A Thai Dish Packed With Flavor

Written by Luisa Davis on . Posted in food

One of the coolest aspects of pad prik sod is its spicy flavor and amazing textures, and as a person that loves to explore a plethora of different flavors from around the world, I can think of no single dish that represents Thailand like this one. 

This dish has all of the flavor experiences that many people value: there are savory, spicy, and sweet flavors throughout this delicacy, and it only takes about 25 minutes to prepare from start to finish. Before we start, it’s a good idea to get to know some of the flavors of Thai cooking, so I suggest taking some time to try out other unique flavors from the country like pad thai and neua pad prik on.

What is Pad Prik Sod?

To start, it’s important to understand that this dish is often called gai pad prik sod, and the dish is typically comprised of a combination of chicken, chiles, onions, and peppers. It’s become something of a tradition in Thailand for the dish to be featured on a green plate, but this doesn’t mean that you have to present your dish this way.

On a serving-by-serving basis, the dish is fairly low in calories; in fact, a dish of this Thai delicacy can be as low as 301 calories, which is very reasonable for those looking to find dishes that won’t expand the waistline.

One of the reasons that I love dishes like this so much is the fact that Thai food is so full of aromatics and various spices – it’s not uncommon to find cilantro, various nuts, chili, Thai basil, and lemongrass in many of the country’s national dishes. In this dish alone, you’ll find that the flavors explore the hotter end of the flavor spectrum, but you’ll also find savory garlic- and onion-infused flavors as well.

How You Can Serve this Dish to Your Guests

If you’re thinking of having some of your friends over to enjoy this truly unique and savory Thai dish, then you’ll have options. When I serve this to my friends, I love to place the stir-fried chicken dish atop Korean jap chae, which is a vermicelli-style noodle that is very flavorful. Typically, the soy sauce and veggie-infused variation tastes very good atop these noodles, and there’s usually enough broth produced to flavor the whole meal thoroughly.

If you’re thinking to have the dish more traditionally, you can always serve up your Thai delicacy on top of rice. You can also use the dried wide rice noodles that you use for pad thai for this dish; in fact, this is one of the more popular ways to serve up this dish.

Unique Pad Prik Sod Recipes

This dish is versatile, so you don’t have to serve it up the same way every time. I like to prepare this unique Thai stir fry in various ways to add variety. In this part of the guide, I’m going to show you two unique variations of this dish so that you can try out some of the unique options that you’d be able to find in Thailand.

The Variation for the Vegetarian

Not all of my friends eat meat, and sometimes, I like to go for a full veggie version of this dish because I sometimes find myself with extra vegetables from the garden. When this is the case, I usually will opt to use tofu as a chicken substitute and I add in extra veggies for a very hearty stir-fry. In most cases, this Thai recipe calls for chicken broth, but since we’re omitting the meat, I usually will opt to make up a veggie chicken broth that can be used in its place.

This broth can be made with some herbs from your garden, but for many, it’s essential that you dry them beforehand.

Here is how you can make up your veggie chicken broth:

  • Photo by Lou Stejskal / CC BY

    Yeast flakes

  • Two tablespoons of salt
  • One tablespoon of onion powder
  • One tablespoon of garlic powder
  • Half of a tablespoon of cumin
  • One teaspoon of dried parsley
  • One teaspoon of dried thyme
  • One teaspoon of dried and ground dill
  • One teaspoon of dried marjoram

To make your broth, simply place your ingredients in a food processor so that they are blended into a powder. Once you have your powder, simply add about two cups of water, and you’ll have a delicious vegetable-based broth that tastes just like chicken broth. While you won’t need all of your broth for this recipe, I tend to make extra for future meals. The broth should last up to two weeks in your fridge.

Here are the ingredients that you’ll need for this vegetarian version of the dish:

  • A package of cubed tofu
  • One teaspoon of sugar
  • Two tablespoons of light soy sauce
  • One tablespoon of ground pepper
  • Two full cloves of garlic sliced evenly
  • One stalk of bok choi
  • Some Thai chili peppers to taste
  • Four shiitake mushrooms, slivered
  • One tablespoon of chopped coriander
  • One tablespoon of sesame oil
  • One half of a head of cabbage, finely chopped
  • Some finely-chopped cilantro to taste
  • Three green onions that have been cut into small pieces.
  • Two tablespoons of veggie chicken broth

First, combine your tofu and one tablespoon of your soy sauce in a bowl. After it’s soaked up the flavor for about 25 minutes, take the remainder of your light soy sauce, veggie chicken broth, and sugar, and combine them into another medium-sized bowl.

In a large wok or frying pan, heat your sesame oil and add your soaked tofu. Stir fry this tofu until it starts to brown and set aside. Add your vegetables, which include your garlic, onion, bok choi, cabbage, and chili peppers, and stir-fry for about a minute. Finally, return your tofu to the pan and stir fry for another minute and combine your soy sauce, chicken broth, and sugar mixture into the pan or wok during this time. Serve piping hot.

Traditional Gai Pad Prik Sod

Here are the ingredients that you’ll need for this version of the dish:

  • About a pound of thinly-sliced and boneless chicken breast
  • One stalk bok choi
  • A quarter teaspoon of sugar
  • Two teaspoons of fish sauce
  • A teaspoon of oyster sauce
  • A tablespoon of sesame oil
  • Hot peppers
  • Two tablespoons of chicken broth
  • A clove of finely-chopped garlic
  • Two stalks of green onion, chopped small
  • Cashews

Take a wok or skillet and heat your sesame oil until it’s hot. Add in your garlic and onions, and stir fry them for about three minutes or until the onions are translucent. Next, throw in your sliced chicken, your chicken broth, and your hot peppers, and stir-fry the combination until your chicken is fully cooked through, which should take about seven or eight minutes.

Once the chicken is cooked, add your soy sauce, the sugar, fish sauce, and the oyster sauce to the skillet or wok. Stir fry this combination for a minute or so with the sliced bok choi, and serve the dish topped with your cashews.

Final Thoughts

Pad prik sok is one of my favorites from Thailand, and I hope that you enjoy the varieties that you can make. Feel free to add in your favorite spices and herbs – they’ll only enhance this stir-fry dish’s flavor. I also find that peanuts work well in place of cashews, so don’t be afraid to add them to the dish.

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Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis is a frelance writer and foodie based in Portland, California. Though raised on her mother's homestyle Italian cooking, she has spent most of the last five years traveling and immersing herself in other countries' cuisines. Her work have been published in various publications, both online and offline.

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