My post yesterday included a screenshot from my Evernote recipe folder for pad thai. Pad thai is one of Eric’s and my absolute favorite dishes, but it can be difficult to make because of the ingredients. Inspired, I found a vegetarian recipe that didn’t call for fish sauce, tamarind, or any other hard-to-find ingredients. Thank you Veggie Belly! I added this recipe to our menu for this week, and I tried it out for lunch today.
The recipe calls for some traditional Asian ingredients that might not be in your pantry: rice noodles, tofu, and bean sprouts. I live in a rural community, with no ethnic grocery stores, but I found these at the local Meijer (our big grocer in the Midwest). According to Veggie Belly, the noodles may also be labeled “Bahn Pho” or “XL” and should only contain rice flour and water. I do wish I had better rice noodles, but these served their purpose.
I began by soaking the noodles in hot water. While I waited, I cut the tofu into 1/8 inch thick slices and used a large pan to fry them in coconut oil. (Of course, you could always use canola or vegetable oil.) After the tofu fried up, I took the slices out of the pan and combined the sauce ingredients in the same pan – brown sugar, freshly squeezed lime juice, Bragg’s aminos (or soy sauce), and water – and brought it a boil, then lowered the heat. This caramelizes the sugar a bit, deepens the flavor, and may thicken the sauce (it didn’t for me). After a few minutes, I poured it into a measuring cup to save for later.
While I waited for the sauce to thicken, I had minced the garlic and chopped the broccoli and carrots. I threw them into the same pan. (I love one-pot meals!) As they warmed, the garlic became fragrant and the broccoli became more green and vibrant.
That was the sign to add the noodles, sauce, and cooked tofu and stir it all together. After the broccoli and carrots softened up, I added bean sprouts and took the pan off the heat. (I chose not to add green onion or peanuts.)
I topped the dish with cilantro and a lime wedge. I personally like strong citrus flavors, but I understand that not everyone does – there are so many versions of pad thai! I decided to keep the sauce pretty neutral – sweet and salty with the brown sugar and Bragg’s aminos – and saved part of the lime to add more sour flavors later.
There you have it! Pad Thai for lunch today, courtesy of Veggie Belly. Plus tons of leftovers for Eric. 🙂