Vegetable Pad Thai

Almost 30 years ago, a friend introduced me to a spicy, salty, sweet noodle dish from Thailand. The combinations of flavors made my taste buds sing. It is easy to make using ingredients I keep on hand (with the exception of bean sprouts), this common Thai dish has been a staple for my family throughout the years. Sometimes I skip the bean sprouts out of convenience, although this dish is better when they are included. Often I would just double the scrambled eggs and up the peanuts, for a great meatless meal. However, you can add any combination of pork, chicken, shrimp or tofu in small amounts. Over the years, I added more vegetables and nailed down my favorite sauce. I recently started using brown rice noodles, and I prefer the texture. The key to this dish is making the sauce and having all the ingredients ready to go before you start cooking. The tamarind and optional shrimp paste can be found at any Asian, Indian or Middle Eastern grocery stores. They last a long time in the refrigerator so you can make Pad Thai a staple too. While they aren't essential, they will make your pad Thai extra delicious. Enjoy!
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Sauce Ingredients

3 Tbsp tamarind paste (mixed with 3 Tbsp water) or 6 Tbsp rice vinegar 1 Tbsp tomato paste 4 Tbsp Thai fish sauce 3 Tbsp real maple syrup or palm sugar or brown sugar 1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes and/or Thai chiles, diced Shrimp paste (optional)

Pad Thai Ingredients

8 oz brown rice noodles 3 Tbsp Peanut or Canola oil 3 large egg, whisked 8 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined (optional) 4 garlic cloves, crushed 5 green onions, chopped with white and green parts separated 2 cup any combination of vegetables like snap peas, green beans, shredded carrots, or red peppers, 2 cup bean sprouts

Garnish Ingredients

1 cup crushed or chopped peanuts 1 bunch fresh cilantro, loosely chopped 2 -3 limes, cut into wedges

Directions

1) If using brown rice noodles, boil in water per package cooking instructions until al dente. If using white rice noodles, place in a large bowl of hot water to cover. Let soak until tender but not mushy, about 5–10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2) While noodles are cooking or soaking, prepare sauce by mixing tamarind paste with water, tomato paste, fish sauce, maple syrup, chili flakes or diced chili peppers together and mix well. Set aside.
3) Spread a tsp of oil (or nonstick cooking spray) in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add egg and scramble until just done. Set aside on foil covered plate. Add a tablespoon of oil and add shrimp (or pork, chicken or tofu) and garlic when oil is hot (optional). Cook, stirring, until shrimp is cooked through, 2–3 minutes. Set aside with eggs on foil covered plate. Add another tablespoon of oil. When the oil is hot add snap peas, green beans or any other longer cooking vegetable until just shy of completion and needing a few more minutes cooking time. Using remaining oil as needed throw in green onion whites and any medium thick vegetable, cooking for about 1 minutes. Add the quick cooking vegetable like shredded carrots and sliced red peppers and cook for another minute. Add noodles and cook for 1 minute. Stir in sprouts, scrambled eggs, and shrimp. Add sauce and stir-fry until sauce is absorbed by noodles and noodles are well coated, about 1 minute. Stir in Thai chilies (optional), about half the peanuts and toss well. Transfer to serving plates and garnish with chiles, chopped peanuts, cilantro, and lime wedges.