Vegetarian Pad Thai

Have you ever tried finding a recipe for a decent vegetarian pad thai? The results are dismal at best.  Several recipes call for the traditional fish sauce.  Fish is not a vegetable, it is not vegetarian, nor is their sauce.  I saw a recipe that was considered veg but had shrimp in it.  There we go again.  Another recipe called for 1.5 cups of peanut butter!  I don’t think I use that much when making cold sesame noodles and peanut butter is the main ingredient for that!  Another called for the juice of several limes and got great reviews.  I tried a similar version awhile ago thinking it odd but figuring my family enjoys lime so how bad could it be?  We all dumped our plates down the disposal and ordered pizza that night.

With all that failure I pretty much gave up on pad thai but recently found myself really craving it.  I googled it and reviewed several recipes and as always came up with my own version.  This one had quite a bit of heat and good overall flavor.  It is certainly the first recipe I’ve made that I would share with anyone.  My one mistake I knew in advance.  I couldn’t get the appropriate rice noodles for pad thai and used rice spaghetti instead.  I haven’t cooked that particular pasta in a while and realized too late that it tends to be either too chewy or overcooked with no happy medium.  The right pasta does make all the difference.

I cooked the pasta in advance, made a bowl of wet ingredients and a bowl of chopped ingredients.  This way I was able to have everything at hand and toss them into the pan quickly as needed.  Once again I messed up my attempts at being gluten-free.  I used gf tamari instead of soy sauce but the hoisin sauce contains wheat products.  Oh well, I do the best I can.   My version was vegan but feel free to scramble an egg or 2 and cook it in the pan flat like a pancake.    Once removed from heat slice the egg and add it to the finished recipe.  For my husband I grilled a piece of tilapia in an Asian sauce.

Don’t let the amount of ingredients scare you away.  This was pretty simple to cook and took no time at all.  I bought sliced mushrooms and julienned carrots to make it go quickly.  This recipe is pretty true to how I cooked it and found the heat level to be just right for me.  My only descriptive is to say that it was the hot enough to affect my sinuses and almost gave me a runny nose but not quite.  Please adjust the heat to your personal taste.

Ingredients

8 oz thin flat rice pasta often called pad thai pasta

1 vegetable bouillon in 1/2 cup hot water

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon sriracha or other hot chili sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1-2 tablespoons brown sugar

up to 1/3 cup peanut oil

1 block extra firm tofu cubed and blotted to remove water

8 oz sliced mushrooms

4 scallions sliced, greens separated from whites

1/2 cup julienned carrots

1/2 cup julienned pepper jalapeno for more heat (I used small sweet peppers, it’s what I had)

2-3 minced garlic cloves

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)

1/2 cup chopped peanuts

Directions

Cook pasta according to directions, drain and put aside,

Mix all wet ingredients  except peanut oil in a bowl adding the brown sugar

Place peanuts and scallion greens in a bowl and set aside for garnish

In a large pan heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil and add tofu and vegetables except garlic and scallion whites, saute for several minutes letting the tofu start to brown a little but don’t over cook the veggies, when they look almost done add garlic and scallion whites, saute another minute

Add the wet ingredients and then the pasta, mix until everything is well coated, top with peanuts and scallion greens.

Have a peacful day, Lin

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