Easy Vegetarian Pad Thai Noodles

Being an Indian, I love thai food as it uses complex flavours like indian cuisines and then some! 🙂 For me, the inclusion of flavours that are sweet, spicy, sour and tangy all-together in a dish makes it super attractive and appealing to my taste buds. Pad Thai is one such dish! It will instantly refresh & revitalize your senses! I think thats what all food should do 🙂

I only had Pad Thai for the first time about 2 years ago and so far have made it thrice, but deifnitely going to make it quite often going forward. For my recipe, I used whole wheat noodles and lots of stir fry vegetables, so I never have to feel guilty 🙂

The key to getting pad thai right is to ensure the right consistency of noodles (al-dante, just a bit chewy and not at all overcooked) and the super yummy sauce – which has all the sweet, spicy, sour and tangy things going into it. Ofcourse, Peanuts is another key ingredient and gives its taste via the sauce (through peanut butter) and also through the roasted crushed peanuts sprinkled on top of the noodles. YUM 🙂

Here’s what you’ll need:

Pad Thai Noodles – I used wholewheat (or any noodles you have) – enough for two people

4-5 spring green onions -white parts sliced and kept separate from green

4 tsp crushed garlic

4 tsp crushed ginger or galangal

1-2 fresh green or red chillies -finely sliced

1 ready bag of mixed stir-fry vegetables (can include bak-choi, sprouts, julianned carrots, cabbage, tofu, green beans, peppers, etc)

4 tbsp cup fresh chopped coriander/ cilantro

1/4 cup chopped dry roasted peanuts (or you can substitute with cashews)

1 tbsp oil for stir-frying

Lemon for finishing off and serving (Dont forget lemon, it is very essential to complete the dish)

Salt to taste

For the Pad Thai sauce:

2 to 4 tbsp Tamarind paste – stirred into 2 tbsp of warm water

4-6 tbpn soy sauce

1 tsp chilli sauce or 3/4 tsp chilli powder

4 tbsp brown sugar (or white sugar)

2 tbsp peanut butter – optional

THE METHOD

1) Bring a pan of water to boil. Add noodles and let it simmer for 2-5 minutes until they are just undercooked. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

2) Make the Pad thai sauce by mixing all the ingredients together starting with thinning the tamarind paste in warm water and then adding other sauce ingredients and mixing well until combined. Note that this sauce should have a very STRONG-tasting flavor that tastes sour-sweet first, followed by salty and spicy.

3) Warm a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1-2 Tbsp. oil plus the white parts of the green onion (reserve the rest for serving), garlic, ginger, and chili. Stir-fry 1 minute to release the fragrance.

4) Add the stir-fry veggies. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes.

5) Add the noodles and 1/3 of the pad thai sauce and stir using two spoons (like tossing a salad) until combined on medium to high flame. After 1 minute, add another 1/3rd of the sauce and combine while cooking. Finally add the rest of the sauce until the noodles are cooked by still chewy and al-dente (a bit sticky but not overcooked).

6) Taste and add more salt if required. If too sour, add more sugar. If too dry, you might need some more sauce or soy sauce. Tasting is the key to any great dish, so keep tasting every 3-5 minutes. Finally pour 1/4 to 1/2 lemon juice and mix well.

7) To serve, scoop noodles onto a serving platter. Sprinkle with reserved green onion, coriander, and ground nuts. Add wedges of fresh-cut lime on the side. Serve immediately and enjoy!

This has become one of my most favorite Thai dishes – even more than the famous thai curries. Sadly, most restaurants serve pad thai that is quite less flavourful for my liking. So I can rely on my homemade pad thai noodles for that sweet-sour-spicy-tangy craving to satisfy and revitalize! It may make your nose runny just for a bit but it just means its working :))

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