Friday, February 26, 2010

Vegetarian Pad Thai

The original version of this recipe was deemed 'vegetarian' despite the inclusion of fish sauce (!). It only took a few tweaks to make it not just officially vegetarian, but vegan as well. On the other hand, I made quite a few mistakes while cooking tonight, so you'll have to bear with me!

For the sauce, the original recipe called for 2/3 cup Heinz chili sauce. A glimpse at the ingredients - although vegan - included high fructose corn syrup, which I try to avoid. What's more, I was rather stunned to see no chilis in Heinz 'chili sauce'! So instead I bought a Thai chili sauce from Thai Kitchen, which had the added benefit of being certified vegan and organic. It is probably spicier than Heinz' variety, but that only makes it more authentic, right? However, you can buy the Heinz version if you don't mind all that corn syrup.

Combine 2/3 cup chili sauce of your choice with 1/4 cup packed organic brown sugar, 2 tablespoons water, 2 tablespoons miso tamari or soy sauce (in place of fish sauce), 1 and 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (I minced mine by accident), and 1 teaspoon chopped and seeded serrano chile. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cook 8 ounces wide rice stick noodles (also called banh pho) for 5 minutes in boiling water. Drain, and rinse with cold water. Drain again and set aside.

Now it's time for the tofu, which does double duty in this recipe. Buy a 14-ounce package of extrafirm tofu (although I bought lite firm tofu, which worked just as well). Cut 3/4 of the package into 1/2-inch cubes. Crumble the remaining 1/4 of the package. The tofu that is in cubes was actually tofu in the original recipe. The tofu that you've crumbled is taking the place of 2 egg whites and 1 egg which were scrambled in the original. Set both aside, or now.

Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable or canola oil in your largest skillet over medium heat. Add the cubed tofu, and cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add 2 teaspoons more oil to the same skillet, and increase the heat to medium-high (which I forgot to do!). Add 3 minced garlic cloves and saute 10 seconds. Add the crumbled tofu in place of the eggs, and saute for 30 seconds. Stir in the chili sauce mixture from earlier and the cooked rice noodles; cook for 2 minutes.

Add the cooked cubed tofu, 2 cups fresh bean sprouts, 3/4 cup diagonally cut green onions (I unfortunately only had closer to 1/2 a cup), and 1/4 cup minced cilantro; cook for 3 minutes.

Note: I realized I was out of fresh garlic just as I began cooking. Luckily, I have dried minced garlic in my spice cabinet, which works as a substitute in a pinch. 1/2 tsp. dried garlic is about the equivalent of 1 fresh minced garlic clove, so for this recipe I used 1 and 1/2 teaspoons dried.

Place 1 and 1/3 cups of the noodle mixture on each of 6 plates. Sprinkle each serving with an additional 2 teaspoons minced cilantro and 1 teaspoon chopped peanuts. Place a wedge of lime on the side of each dish. Each serving is 350 calories.

chili sauce $
serrano chile $0.15
wide rice stick noodles $2.99
tofu $2.69
bean sprouts $1.49
cilantro $1.69
lime $0.50

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance