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The comfort food of all comfort foods: Pad Thai. Have you ever met anyone who doesn’t like it? I can’t recall ever having. Our version isn’t very unlike all the others – hey, then it wouldn’t be as good! – but it’s plant based and doesn’t require a bunch of unusual ingredients. Really only one, and that is (drum roll) tamarind paste. Now, most regular grocery stores won’t carry it, but almost all ethnic food stores will. Paying a visit to one is hugely recommended if you never have before – we LOVE browsing these shops and feel as if we were just transported to a different part of the world (however it really mostly feels like New York!). Our favorite store back in the big apple is by far Kalustyan’s on Lexington Ave, between 28th and 29th St. However, we recently discovered our closest little town has a newly opened ethnic food store and went to check it out last week. It was awesome, and we came away with a giant tub of the best looking tahini and – of course – tamarind paste. It’ll last forever and doesn’t cost a fortune, so it’s one of those “investments” we’ll actually encourage. Well, that is if you like Pad Thai and plan on making it at home, of course 🙂
I’ve never been much of a tofu fan but Mike likes it, and he has certainly tried preparing it in different ways for me to eventually give in. Up until the first round of recipe testing for this Pad Thai, however, it’s been very little success. Now though, I’m on board – but only if the little bits are nice and crispy, and it doesn’t feel like I’m chewing on rubber. If they are indeed nice and crisp – which the recipe below will guarantee – they work as the most perfect complement to the veggies and noodles, and you’ll end up with a complete, nutritious and comforting plate of food in front of you. Hooray! I have a feeling we might see the end of that tamarind paste stash sooner than we originally expected. Give it a try and let us know what you think!
400 g firm tofu
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp chili garlic paste (sambal oelek)
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp tamarind paste
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp chili garlic paste (sambal oelek)
1 tbsp lime juice
1 dl water
180 g rice noodles
200 g carrots (~4 med), cut into matchsticks
200 g green cabbage, thinly sliced
8 scallions, chopped (~100 g)
1 tbsp sesame oil
To serve (optional)
1 dl roasted peanuts, chopped (~70 g)
Lime, cut into wedges
Red pepper flakes
- Tofu Wrap the tofu block in a kitchen towel (paper towels work too). Place it in a oven dish or on a large plate and put a heavy pan or cutting board with a heavy object on top of the tofu to squeeze out the liquid. After 30 minutes, remove the tofu and cube.
- Preheat the oven to 200° C. Add the cubed tofu to a mixing bowl with the rest of the tofu ingredients. Stir to combine and let marinate while for about 10 min. Then sauté the cubes in a pan over medium heat for 5 minutes, giving them a toss a few times so all sides are browned. Then bake the tofu for 25 minutes or until golden brown and firm. No flipping required. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Wok sauce While the tofu is baking, prepare the wok sauce. Stir all the ingredients together and set aside.
- Noodles Place the rice noodles in a pot and cover with hot water from the tap. Let rest for 10 minutes, and then drain.
- Stir-fry Meanwhile, place a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat and add sesame oil. Stir-fry the cabbage and carrots for 5 minutes. Toss the scallions in and cook for another 2 minutes. Add in the wok sauce, noodles and tofu. Stir-fry for an additional 5 minutes until the noodles are cooked through.
- Serve immediately with chopped peanuts, lime, scallions and red pepper flakes. Enjoy!
In the mood for another Asian dish? Maybe give this one a go!
A quick, no-fuss recipe for a vegan green curry stir fry with lots of ginger – full to the brim with onions, carrots, cabbage and string beans.