Monday, September 30, 2013

Vegetarian Pad Thai

I am a pad thai lover, but most vegetarian versions are pretty gross (I have tried quite a few!) and I have been scouring the blogs for something I will want to make more than once. Well, the other day I ran across this recipe, promising a yummy veg pad thai that took only 30 minutes to prepare.

"No way," I thought.

I decided to take on the challenge and timed myself preparing it. From start to finish, it took me about 45 minutes including all the chopping, which is not bad for my first time making it. I think I can get it down to 30 minutes with practice. Plus, some pretty darn good pad thai. So this dish is a surprising winner in more ways than one.

Vegetarian Pad Thai

modified from Post Punk Kitchen

Serves 4 (or 2.5 in our house)

8 oz pad thai rice noodles (sometimes called rice stick noodles) , cooked according to package directions (or directions below)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
14 oz (one package) tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
4 cups brocolli florettes and thinly sliced stems
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups scallion, chopped into 1 inch pieces (I used one bunch of green onions for this)
1 cup lightly packed cilantro, chopped
4 oz mung bean sprouts

For the sauce:
1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
4 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce (use gluten-free tamari to make this gluten-free)
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 tablespoon Sriracha
1 heaping tablespoon mellow white miso

To serve:
1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
Extra lime wedges

1. Put a pot of water on to boil. When the water boils, boil broccoli florets for 5 minutes, or until sort of soft. Turn off the heat and scoop the broccoli out with a slotted spoon and put on a plate. Add the pad thai noodles to the hot water. After 8 minutes, drain noodles and rinse in cool water to stop cooking. 

2. While the water is boiling, make the tofu. You’ll need a large cast iron pan, or something non-stick that can take very high heat. Preheat pan over high heat. Once pan is good and hot, drizzle in 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the cubed tofu and sprinkle with about 1/4 teaspoon salt. The tofu should immediately sizzle when it hits the hot the pan, otherwise, turn the heat up. Cook for about 7 minutes, tossing often, until it’s nicely browned.

3. In the meantime, mix together all of the ingredients for the sauce and set aside. The miso may not completely dissolve, but that’s okay, just get it as smooth as possible.

4. When tofu is browned, transfer it to a plate and cover gently with tin foil to keep warm.

5. Now we’ll cook the sauce. Lower heat to medium. Cook the garlic in the remaining oil very briefly, about 15 seconds. Add the scallion and cilantro and toss just to get it wilted. Add in brocolli and cook for 4 minutes or until cooked through. Now pour in about half the sauce and get it heated through.

6. Add the noodles and toss to coat. Then add back the tofu and broccoli, the mung beans and the remaining sauce, and toss to coat.

7. Serve immediately, topped with peanuts and lime wedges, plus extra cilantro if desired.

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