Me and pad thai, we have a love-hate relationship. There was the time I got sick from street pad thai in Bangkok and swore off it for life. The time I took a cooking class in Northern Thailand and learned how to make pad thai in under 5 minutes, became obsessed, and then made nothing but pad thai at home for a year straight. The time I got pregnant and ate pad thai every other day for the first trimester. Or the time my pregnant sister ordered pad thai at a restaurant a few blocks from our house and it was ensconced with a fried egg. That just about did it for me.
Right now, I am on a serious pad thai kick. There's a little Thai restaurant a few blocks from my house and their pad thai is spot on. For $10 you can get a spring roll, soup, pad thai and curry, and with the amount of food they serve, it is easily lunch for two, maybe three days. I have been meaning to make it there for lunch the last few weeks, but life happens, babies nap etc etc. and I just haven't been able to make it. Yesterday, instead of going out for lunch, I decided to be a responsible adult and make a trip to the grocery store instead, so I could make pad thai at home and have leftovers for 4 days instead of 2. On my way home from the grocery store, Sebastian and I got caught in a torrential downpour, but I was able to keep him and the pad thai ingredients dry - high fives for covered baby strollers that double as grocery carts. I, on the other hand, got absolutely soaked, and nothing says loving like a cold wet pair of skinny jeans and a soaked puffy jacket.
For at least half of the walk home, I was really regretting my decision to walk to the store. But then I got home, dried off, threw on my pj's, turned on the wok and started slicing veggies. All the stress from the day came melting off. I was immediately reminded why I love to cook. It's so therapeutic.
This pad thai recipe is a favorite of mine. It's a little sweet, a little salty, and a little tangy. The tofu is nice and crispy, the noodles cooked to perfection. I like to add a large serving of crunchy bean sprouts and cabbage to my plate and top it all with a sprinkle of peanuts and a squeeze of lime juice. I've made an equally delicious version with tamarind paste (which some people say is the key to a great pad thai), but I tend to lean a little more towards this one.
VEGETARIAN PAD THAI WITH TOFU
prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 20 minutes
3 tbsp oil
5 oz tofu, chopped
1 tbsp soy sauce
4 oz dry rice noodle
2 tbsp (6 cloves) garlic, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 red pepper, sliced
2 cups bean sprouts
2 green onions
sliced green onion
4 tbsp soy sauce
the juice from 1 lime
2 tbsp brown sugar
Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set to the side.
Place the oil in a wok and heat on medium. Add the tofu and 1 tbsp soy sauce. Fry until the tofu has turned golden brown and crispy on the outside, roughly 10 minutes.
Bring 2 cups water to a boil. Submerge the noodles into the water and let sit until al dente, 6-7 minutes. Rinse them with cold water, drain, and set to the side.
Add the garlic to the tofu and fry for one minute. Push the tofu to one side of the wok, and scramble the egg on the other.
Add the noodles to the wok, and toss with the tofu and egg.
Add the sauce ingredients to the wok and combine. Add the red pepper, bean sprouts, and green onion. Continue to fry for a few minutes.
Serve warm with garnishes.