One of my favorite dishes in the whole world is Pad Thai. I could eat it for days, weeks, months…. You get the point. It is disappointing when I go to a Thai restaurant that can’t make their Pad Thai without fish sauce. I decided I would start making this fairly simple dish at home. I used a combination and adaptation of a couple different recipes to come up with this one. They were: Post Punk Kitchen’s Everyday Pad Thai and this Traditional Pad Thai recipe. I knew that I definitely wanted to use tamarind for the sweet/sourness that makes Pad Thai so awesome, and I learned a couple of tricks along the way. :-)
A More Traditional-Style Pad Thai (Vegan)
1 package of flat Asian rice noodles, soaked until pliable TIP: Many recipes suggest boiling rice noodles, but I have found that this makes them gummy. The best method is to soak them for about 30 minutes first then allow them to fully soften when you cook them with your other ingredients. It works MUCH better. :-)
1/2 lb. of tofu (or use a full pound if you’d like), pressed/drained, and julienned in 1-inch pieces
1 bunch of chives/green onions, julienned in 1-inch pieces
2 cups of bean sprouts (rinsed)
2 shallots, minced
4-6 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups of broccoli (chopped)/snap peas (optional) (I used a combo of both)
Any other veggies of choice
2 t. white pepper powder (optional if you don’t like spicy- this may give your dish a bit of a kick)
Ground black pepper, to taste
Roasted peanuts (optional – for garnish)
1 more lime, cut into slices (optional – for garnish)
For the sauce:
1/2 cup of water
6 T. tamarind sauce (see this page for info about tamarind and the different forms in which you can purchase it. I found it as a ball at my local Asian market)
Juice of one lime
1 T. peanut butter (I use fresh ground)
4 t. sweetener of choice (I actually used pure maple syrup)
4 t. miso (in place of fish sauce which is in traditional Pad Thai)
Pinch of kala malak (black salt) (optional- to replace the eggs in traditional Pad Thai)
Whisk all sauce ingredients together and set aside. Note: for some heat, add chili powder or sriracha to your sauce.
To cook, start with your julienned tofu slices. Add them to a pan on medium high to high heat. Sprinkle with white or ground pepper and/or garlic salt and stir until browned. *Note: I use a non-stick skillet. If you don’t have non-stick cookware, you may need to use a bit of coconut or olive oil to prevent sticking. Then add the minced shallots and garlic, half of the chives, and half of the bean sprouts (you will save the other half for garnish). Add the other veggies you are using, too. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Sprinkle with ground pepper if desired.
Once garlic/shallots are fragrant, and the veggies have cooked for a few minutes, add your noodles, then slowly add in your sauce, stirring well to make sure noodles and veggies are coated evenly (you can sprinkle and stir in some white pepper at this point if you are using it). I added a little more tamarind sauce to mine… Taste, and adjust any flavors as desired. The noodles will probably take about 15 minutes to cook through and become soft. Add a little more water if they are still chewy, and allow them to cook a little longer.
Plate your noodles/veggies, garnish with crushed or whole roasted peanuts, bean sprouts, chives (optional), and a lime wedge. I ALWAYS add extra lime to my Pad Thai. Always.
Another note: This makes A LOT of food (probably about 6 servings). I like to make big meals, so I can prepare lunches for the week. Plus, I love leftovers! If you don’t want to make this much, just cut the recipe in half. :-)