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Easy Vegan Pad Thai
Pad Thai is a delicious noodle dish, but it's almost impossible to find a vegan version in the real world. Even if you can get it without the scrambled egg mixed in, it is usually full of fish sauce. Still, there is something magical about the combination of sweet, tangy, salty and spicy flavours that makes me want to try my own version. With tofu for protein, broccoli for colour and beansprouts for their unique earthy flavour, you've got a complete meal in one dish. I add the peanuts, sriracha sauce and lime after the noodles are on the plate so that everything stays fresh and vibrant. This is clearly comfort food, a once-in-a-while treat, especially suited to cold nights after a long day of outdoor activity. In other words, October.
1 tsp tamarind paste mixed with 2 Tbl water
227 g (1/2 pound) rice noodles, broken in half
2+1 Tbl canola oil
175 g extra-firm tofu, in 1/2" cubes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
2 cups broccoli florets
1/4 cup tamari sauce
1-2 Tbl brown sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
150 g bean sprouts
3 green onions, greens only
sriracha sauce to taste
1/4 cup peanuts, crushed in a mortar and pestle
lime for garnish
Before starting, get everything ready for cooking. Drain and slice the tofu into 1/2" cubes. Cut the broccoli into small florets. Chop the onion. Pound the peanuts in the mortar and pestle or process them in a food processor. Wash the green onions and have them ready on the counter near a pair of scissors. Wash the beansprouts well under tap water, drain, and place in a bowl. Get the tamari sauce and brown sugar on a counter close to the stove. Add the tamarind paste to a small bowl and mix well with water. (It will take a little time to get rid of the lumps.)
In a large frying pan, heat 2 Tbl canola oil over medium-high heat.
Measure out 1/2 pound of noodles (usually half the package) and break them in half. I prefer the thinner noodles—a little less than 1/4".
Soak the noodles in very hot tap water for 10 minutes.
While the noodles are soaking, fry the tofu in the oil. Add 1/2 tsp salt.
Add onion and fry until fragrant.
After the 10 minutes has passed, drain the noodles and leave them waiting in the empty bowl.
Add the broccoli and cook well, until deep green and starting to become tender.
Add the drained noodles and stir fry a bit until everything is well combined.
Add the tamari sauce and mix well.
Add the brown sugar and mix again.
Stir fry the noodles until they start sticking to the spatula. Add up to a 1/4 cup of additional water if necessary. Cut the green onions into the pan with the scissors and mix in the beansprouts.
Add the additional 1 Tbl of oil at the end to prevent sticking. Cook until steamy. This should produce enough pad thai to fill two plates.
Once the pad thai is on the plate, mix in the peanuts and sriracha. Serve with lime.
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Posted: Saturday, October 10, 2015