Pad Thai with Tamarind sauce
Vegan Pad thai before a wild night-out. We had pad thai for the first time in our honey moon in Thailand. I will never be able to get the same flavours I remember I loved. But this one is close enough to my heart and I had tons of fun buying the ingredients at the Asian market in Paris!
- 8 oz. dried rice noodles (pad Thai noodles)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 3 tbsp. onion (diced)
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1 cup soft tofu or hard deppends on the texture you are looking for
- 2 to 3 cups bean sprouts
- 2 green onions (sliced)
- 1/4 cup peanuts (or cashews, chopped unsalted dry-roasted)
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro
- 3 to 4 tbsp. oil
- 2 to 3 tbsp. vegetable stock
- 2 wedges lime
For the Pad Thai Sauce:
- 3/4 tbsp. tamarind paste
- 1/4 cup vegetable stock
- 3 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce (or wheat-free soy sauce)
- 2 red chilis
- 3 tbsp. brown sugar (or more to attend sweet-sour balance)
Bring a pot of water to boil over high heat. Dunk in rice noodles and stir with a fork to separate. Cook 4-6 minutes, just until noodles are limp but still too firm to eat (a little firmer than al dente). Drain and rinse with cold water.
Tip: Noodles should be undercooked at this stage in order to come out right when they are stir-fried.
Combine ‘pad Thai sauce’ ingredients in a cup, stirring well to dissolve sugar and tamarind. Note that this sauce should have a very STRONG-tasting flavor: sour-sweet first, followed by salty and spicy. Add more sugar if too sour. Set aside.
Warm a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1-2 tbsp. oil plus garlic and onion. Stir-fry 1 minute to release the fragrance.
Cut the red bell peppers into slices and add 5 mins after the onion and the chilis.
Push ingredients aside and add 1/2 tbsp. more oil to the center of the wok/pan.
If the pan is dry, push ingredients aside and add a little more oil to the middle. Add the drained noodles and 1/3 of the sauce. Stir-fry everything together 1-2 minutes using 2 utensils and a gently tossing motion (like tossing a salad). Keep heat between medium-high and high, reducing if noodles begin to stick or burn. Keep adding sauce and continue stir-frying 3-6 more minutes, or until all sauce is added and noodles are soft but still chewy and deliciously sticky.
Add tofu along with the last of the pad Thai sauce. It will break up into small bits and be distributed throughout the dish, just as egg would.
Switch off heat and add bean sprouts, green onion, and 3/4 of the nuts. Toss and taste-test, adding more soy sauce for more salt/flavor. If too salty or sweet for your taste, add a good squeeze of lime juice. If too sour, add a little more sugar.
To serve, scoop noodles onto a serving platter. Sprinkle with remaining ground nuts and fresh coriander. Add wedges of fresh-cut lime on the side to be squeezed over just before eating.
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