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Monday, August 21, 2006

Pad Thai

easy vegetarian pad thai

This is a dish I love, but, since i don't eat shrimp or oyster sauce or fish sauce or any of the 'traditional' ingredients, I had to sort of make up my own version of this dish, which turns out much to my liking usually:-)

I like the tanginess from the tamarind, but, experiment with this - start with a little of each ingredient - and blend the flavors till you find that the sauce is to your liking.

For Sauce
3-4 Tbsp tamarind concentrate (sold in most asian stores: plastic can with blue lid)
2 Tbsp sushi vinegar
1 tsp mirin (optional)
1-2 tsp brown sugar
2-3 Tbsp vegetarian soy sauce (adjust to taste)
1 Tbsp peanut butter
1 Tbsp red chili paste (add more or less, to taste)

For the noodles
1 pkg rice noodles (pad-thai-style noodles sold in asian grocery stores)
4-5 sliced green chilies
2 medium carrots julienned
2 cups shredded napa cabbage
1 cup bean sprouts
1/2 medium onion sliced thin
2 inch piece of ginger, julienned
1/2 pkg extra firm tofu, cut to desired size cubes
10-12 petit green beans - optional (sold in frozen foods section, thaw before using)
1 egg (optional)
1/2 cup peanuts, coarsely chopped, or pounded in mortar and pestle
2-3 Tbsp canola oil (or sesame oil)

  1. Mix all the ingredients for sauce, taste it and adjust as you like and set aside (i like it to have pronounced and identifiable tanginess, mild sweetness and adequate saltiness - adjust tamarind concentrate, brown sugar and soy sauce accordingly)
  2. cook the pad thai noodles per package instructions; drain and set aside
  3. heat oil in a pan or wok; add the tofu and sautee till browned
  4. remove tofu from pan; then, add the ginger, green chilies and sautee for about 30-40 seconds, then add the onions and sautee till translucent
  5. add the carrots and green beans to the pan and stir fry till slightly softened
  6. add the napa cabbage and stir fry some more
  7. if using the egg, push the veggies to the side in the pan, add the egg and scramble it in the pan
  8. now add the drained noodles, bean sprouts, tofu, and the sauce a little at a time to avoid ending up with a soggy dish; stir till well incorporated
  9. garnish with chopped peanuts, cilantro and sliced green chilies; serve warm with sambal oelek on the side (optional)
this usually makes enough for 2 people for dinner, plus leftovers for next day's breakfast :-)

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