People who love me know that I go crazy for greasy Asian noodle dishes, so it’s no surprise that Pad Thai is one of my all-time favourites. Of course, Cari and I only attempted Pad Thai on a few unsuccessful occasions, when both of us had little clue as to what we were doing in the kitchen.
Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything Vegetarian, which Cari has posted about several times in the past few weeks, had a seemingly easy recipe for Pad Thai so I thought I’d give it a try. I didn’t feel like buying a whole lot of the specialty ingredients, so I used ketchup instead of tamarind paste and soy sauce instead of mock fish sauce, but it still turned out pretty damn good if I may say so myself. Next time I might play with the quantities of the sugar, ketchup and soy to get it a bit saltier. I also like spice, so I’d probably end up using more chiles. I also upped the quantity though, so I was doing a lot of approximating anyway.
Here’s the recipe:
Makes: 4 servings
- 12 oz. dried flat rice noodles, 1/4 inch thick
- 5 tablespoons peanut or neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 oz pressed tofu or extra-firm tofu, prepared any way you’d like it – or simply blotted dry and then sliced (I poached mine, which essentially involves dropping the full cake into boiling water and letting it simmer for 5 to 10 minutes)
- 2 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 2 tablespoons “Fish Sauce” or soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons tamarind paste or ketchup
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 chiles
- 1 lime, cut into wedges (garnish)
- Put the noodles in a bowl and pour boiling water over them to cover. Soak until softened, at least 15 minutes.
- Put two tablespoons of the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the eggs and scramble quickly for the first minute or so with a fork almost flat against the bottom of the pan; you’re aiming for a thin egg crepe of sorts. Cook just until set and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 1/4 inch strips and set aside.
- Raise the heat to high and add the remaining oil. When hot, add garlic, tofu, scallions and half the bean sprouts and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Transfer mixture onto a plate.
- Put the drained noodles, eggs, fish sauce, tamarind and sugar in the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, unit the noodles are heated through. Then add the tofu mixture. Toss once or twice and transfer to plate. Top with peanuts, cilantro, chiles and remaining bean sprouts. Serve with lime wedges on the side.