If you have never eaten Pad Thai it may seem intimidating to try, but at it’s heart Pad Thai is a comfort food in the league with mac and cheese. Pad Thai is a rice noodle dish lightly coated with a mildly spicy sweet sauce, primarily made from the fruit of the tamarind tree with a touch of soy sauce. A variety of meats can be used for the protein such as chicken, beef or shrimp along with tofu and an egg scrambled. Bean sprouts and scallions are added at the last minute of cooking then garnished with crushed peanuts, lime juice and a few dollops of Asian chili sauce if desired.
This particular recipe and instructions, using only tofu and excluding the traditional egg, is a vegetarian / vegan version of the traditional Pad Thai dish. If you would like to use meat such as chicken, beef or shrimp cook the meat at the same time or instead of the tofu. Extra firm tofu and meat are typically used together in a dish.
Yield: 1 entree sized dish
|Thai rice noodles, small||75g||1/6 of 1 lbs pkg|
|Pad Thai sauce||85g||3 tablespoons|
|Tofu, extra firm||75g||1/6 of 1 lbs block|
|Sesame seed oil||15g||1 tablespoon|
|Green onions, tops||1-2|
|Bean sprouts||small handful|
|Peanuts, ground||1-2 tablespoons|
|Ground chili sauce||0-2 teaspoons|
- Stainless steel skillet / wok
- 3 quart pot
- Large mixing bowl
- Measuring spoons / Scales
- Wooden spoon
- Mortar and pestle
- Chefs knife
- Gather all of your ingredients. Chop green tops of scallions to 1 inch lengths. Rinse bean sprouts under cold water and drain. Crush peanuts. Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil.
- Break up / separate rice noodles into a large mixing bowl. Pour the boiling water over noodles to just fully cover. Stir the noodles with a spoon. Soak the noodles in the hot water for 8 minutes exactly. (or 80% of the package specified cook time). Drain and run cool water over. While the noodles are soaking start step 3.
- Preheat stainless steel skillet for about 2 minutes over medium high heat. Cut a slice of tofu from the block, about 1/6 of a pound. Drizzle a tablespoon of sesame oil over preheated pan, tilt pan to coat. Add tofu slice to the pan and keep the tofu moving either with a utensil or by sliding the pan back and forth until a slight golden color starts to form on the cooking side. The movement prevents the tofu from sticking to the pan, thus losing that cooked edge when removed. Cook for approximately 3 minutes then flip. Again keep the tofu moving in the pan until the other side forms a golden color or crust. Cook for approximately three minutes on that side. Cook both sides more until you have a nice golden color if needed. Allow to cool for a minutes and slice into thin strips or cubes.
- Add pad thai sauce to the hot skillet and sliced tofu. Toss to coat and add noodles.
- Cook with noodles for two minutes over medium high heat tossing / sturing dish a few times.
- Add scallions and bean sprouts. Toss and cook for another minute.
- Transfer cooked ingredients to a plate.
- Sprinkle ground peanuts and a spoon of ground chili sauce on top. Place a wedge of lime on the side for squeezing along the top.
Tips on cooking rice noodles
In The Making Photos
Pad thai uses medium-high heat and quick cooking to make well. Have all your ingredients out, prepped and ready to use before starting anything. Once you start to cook the whole process is about 12 minutes. Once the noodles are added to the fry pan there is no time to be prepping ingredients.
Once oil is added to the preheated skillet it is important to add the tofu right away and keep the pan/tofu moving back and forth continuously. Tofu will easily stick to the pan until a slight golden color starts forming on the side if it sits still in the pan for a few seconds. Once you get a good color on both sides remove from pan.
Allow the tofu to cool for a minute and cut as desired, either strips or cubes.
This is a fail proof method for cooking rice noodles. In a large mixing bowl break up the noodles at the curve and separate.
Pour in boiling water. Mix occasionally with a spoon and allow to sit for exactly 8 minutes. Drain in a colander and run cold water over.
Preheat the same skillet (wok if you have one) over medium-high heat and add the pad thai sauce and cooked tofu. Toss to coat and cook for one minute.
Add the cooked rice noodles and toss/stir to coat. Cook while tossing occasionally for 2-3 minutes over medium-high heat.
Add rinsed bean sprouts and scallions to the pan, toss and cook for one more minute. The idea is to just warm them so you don’t overcook loosing the texture / structure of the scallions and sprouts. The medium-high heat is key for this.
Plate and serve topped with crushed peanuts, lime wedge and chili sauce if desired.