Tofu Pad Thai
We’ve been doing Meatless Mondays in our home for over a year now, and I’m actually stunned that we have been able to keep it up for as long as we have because it's such a struggle to come up with a meatfree dish that is satisfying enough to have for dinner.
One of my absolute favorite go-to dishes has to be Tofu Pad Thai. Mr. misterbelly and I have been making it for years and this recipe trumps anything you can get from a restaurant in my opinion. It’s the perfect balance of sweet, savory, salty and sour. Over the years I’ve tweaked it until it’s what I consider just right and I'm totally happy with it. The bonus is the entire dish is gluten-free and can easily be made nut-free by omitting the peanuts and substituting peanut oil with another oil. You can also make this vegan by omitting the eggs.
The flavor comes from the two sauces, so make sure you taste the sauces to ensure they are spiced according to what your palate prefers. I like my Pad Thai on the sweeter side, and use less fish sauce because I’m not particularly fond of that flavor, but you can go lighter on the sugar and heavier on the fish sauce depending on what you prefer.
I almost always make this dish with tofu, but you can add any meat or seafood that you enjoy, just keep the amount to about a cup to a cup and a half of protein or it overwhelms the dish.
There are a lot of steps and it looks overwhelming, but don't let that scare you. It actually doesn't take that long to prepare and the end result is so worth the prep time.
Tofu Pad Thai adapted from Wolfgang Puck
- 6 tablespoons lime juice (roughly 1 to 1 1/2 juicy limes)
- 6 tablespoons tamarind paste
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 cup palm sugar (6 pieces of small palm sugar rounds or 2 large pieces of palm sugar rounds)
- 1 teaspoon salt
To make Sauce 1: In a small saucepan, combine all the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce slightly and set aside to cool. Reserve.
- 4 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 4 teaspoons minced garlic
- 3 teaspoons minced Thai green chiles (you can add more if you like it spicy)
- 2 tablespoons minced cilantro leaves
Directions: In a small non-reactive bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir until well blended. Reserve.
- 1 package of pad thai rice noodles (I like Erawan noodles in large size - found here)
- 1 pot filled with water
- Oil, for deep-frying tofu
- 1 package of extra firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 eggs, beaten with 2 teaspoons milk plus salt, to taste
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 1 lemongrass stalk, minced
- 2 teaspoons minced green chiles
- 2 teaspoons chopped shallots
- 2 teaspoons minced ginger
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
- 1/2 cup bean sprouts
- 1/2 cup scallions, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped roasted, unsalted peanuts
- 1 tablespoon, chopped Thai basil
- wedges of lime
To prepare noodles:
Heat a large pot of water until boiling. Add rice noodles and cook for a few minutes according to package directions. Your goal is to slightly undercook them as you'll be adding them into the wok later on. Once cooked, strain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Set drained noodles aside until ready to use. Note that you will NOT use the entire package of noodles. I found about half of the cooked noodles gives a nice sauce to noodle ratio in the dish.
To prepare tofu:
Heat oil in a medium pan. Deep-fry the diced tofu until crisp and golden. Drain tofu pieces on a paper towel and set aside to cool until ready to use.
To prepare eggs:
In your wok, heat a tablespoon of butter. Cook your beaten eggs to a soft scramble. Set aisde in a plate and allow to cool.
To prepare pad thai:
Add 2 tablespoons of peanut oil to a wok over high heat. When almost smoking, stir-fry the lemongrass, green chiles, shallots, ginger, and cilantro for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the softened noodles, half of the bean sprouts, fried tofu, scrambled eggs, Sauce 1 and Sauce 2. Stir-fry until the noodles flatten out and are throughly incorporated with the sauce, about 2-5 minutes.
Serve pad thai with garnish of bean sprouts, cilantro, scallions, chopped peanuts, a squeeze of lime and a healthy dollop of Sriracha.
Stir fry aromatics until fragrant
Add in eggs, tofu and bean sprouts and cook for a few minutes
Add in sauce 1 and cook for 1 minute
Add in sauce 1 and cook for 1 minute
Add in noodles and cook until combined
Your noodles should look like this when you are ready to serve
Serve noodles into bowls and add garnish. Enjoy!