Pad Thai, one of Thailand’s national dishes, is a wonderful concoction of stir-fried rice noodles with eggs, fish sauce, tamarind, bean sprouts, tofu, shrimp or chicken, topped with crushed peanuts, cilantro and lime. And there are few things I crave more than it. Here I’ve created a recipe for Vegetable Pad Thai lovers, or for those who want a lighter noodle dish without the meat. While it may seem intimidating to prepare on your own, it truly is a snap to make. Not to mention the added advantage of ensuring only high-quality, nutritious ingredients go into it. This Pad Thai recipe offers loads of protein in the form of eggs, tofu and peanuts, plus antioxidant packed peppers and vitamin A packed carrots. And because it’s made with rice noodles, Pad Thai can also be made gluten-free.
Recipe: Vegetable Pad Thai
- 8 ounces extra-firm tofu
- 8 ounces dried flat rice noodles (I used ¼ thick ones)
- 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce (use low-sodium soy sauce if vegetarian)
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium tamari
- 3 tablespoons tamarind paste (use ketchup if you can’t find tamarind)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 scallions, sliced
- ½ cup shredded carrots
- 1 medium red pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 cup snow peas
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup bean sprouts, rinsed and trimmed
- ¼ cup chopped unsalted peanuts
- ½ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 limes cut into wedges
Cut tofu horizontally in half. Place four layers of paper towel on plate or cutting board. Place tofu on towels and top with four more layers of paper towel. Top with a dinner plate; place heavy can on top to weigh tofu down and extract excess moisture. Set aside to drain about 15 minutes. Once drained, pat tofu dry and cut into ½ inch cubes.
Meanwhile, put the noodles in a bowl and pour boiling water over them to cover. Soak until softened like al dente pasta, about 10 minutes and drain.
In small bowl, whisk together fish sauce, tamari, tamarind, maple syrup and lime juice. Set aside.
Put 1 tablespoon of the oil into a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the eggs and scramble quickly, while flattening them against the bottom of the pan to form almost a crepe of sorts. Once eggs are set (about 1 minute), transfer the crepe to a cutting board. Cut into thin strips and set aside.
Bring the heat to medium-high in the skillet and add the remaining oil. Add the tofu cubes and cook 5 minutes or until golden, turning occasionally. Add the scallions, carrots, peppers, snow peas, garlic, and half the bean sprouts to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for an additional 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Put the drained noodles, eggs and fish sauce mixture in the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until warmed through. Add the tofu and vegetables, tossing well. Transfer to serving plates and top with peanuts, cilantro, crushed red pepper and remaining bean sprouts. Serve with lime wedges.
*Rice noodles, tamarind paste and fish sauce can be found in most Asian specialty markets and large scale grocery stores.