Pad Thai is considered the national dish of Thailand. It is also my husband’s favorite meal. If given the chance, he will eat it for dinner, cold for breakfast, and again for a snack. He orders it every time we go to a Thai restaurant and requests that I make it at home regularly. The recipe I make is not authentic, as this is a vegetarian version (no fish sauce) which uses everyday ingredients (no tamarind). It’s still really good, though, and makes a huge batch of food.
The downside is that it takes a pretty solid 45-60 minutes of prep work and cooking. Like a stir-fry, the end result is better if you have everything prepared and chopped before you turn on the stove. Once you start cooking, you need to keep stirring and don’t have time to catch up on the prep. Instead of tofu, you could also use sauteed chicken or shrimp. I make the recipe without bean sprouts as my husband refuses to eat the leading source of E. coli bacteria in the U.S. He did say he would eat sprouts if I sprouted them myself. Any tips?
Until then, here is the recipe (pictured without sprouts).
adapted from Mollie Katzen’s Still Life With Menu
Serves 4-6, takes 45-60 minutes
6 oz. uncooked rice noodles, about 3 cups cooked (I used half a package)
5 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp peanut butter
1 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp corn or peanut oil
3 eggs, beaten (I used 2)
6 scallions in 1-inch chunks, white and green
1 lb. fresh mung bean sprouts (didn’t use since Hubby won’t eat them)
3 cloves garlic
up to 1.5 tsp crushed red pepper (I used minced dried chiles)
1 lb. firm tofu cut in small cubes
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 cup chopped, toasted peanuts (toast carefully in the toaster oven as they burn quickly)
1.) Cook the noodles 3-5 minutes in boiling water. They should be slightly undercooked. Drain, rinse in cold water, and drain again. Set aside.
2.) Combine soy sauce, peanut butter, and brown sugar in a small bowl and stir until uniform. Set aside.
3.) Heat a large wok or skillet. Add 1 T oil and then beaten eggs. Stir until dry. Remove from heat and set aside.
4.) Heat wok again, add 2 T oil, scallions, sprouts, garlic, and red pepper. Stir fry for a minute or so. Add tofu and stir fry a few more minutes.
5.) Add the cooked, drained, noodles and stir fry for about 5 minutes. I use a spoon and a spaghetti fork to help toss everything together.
6.) Add the peanut butter paste along with the vinegar. Stir and cook several more minutes.
7.) Stir in cooked egg.
Serve topped with peanuts and lime.
Often times I will do much of the prep work ahead of time, then just toss dinner together when we get home. I was impressed by how accurate the timing was – it just takes that long to wash, drain, chop, and cook everything.
Our local “high-end” grocery store sometimes carries rice noodles, but I like to get them at the Asian grocery so I can also pick up cheap spices, 50-cent bunches of scallions, and tofu for 99 cents/pound. Next time I go I will pick up fish sauce and look for a more authentic recipe to try. I’m sure my husband is willing to suffer through some taste-testing for me…