Sunday, September 27, 2009

Making (Vegetarian) Pad Thai

Pad Thai is a very popular noodle dish and one of the few Thai recipes that can be adjusted nicely to suit those who favor less spicy flavoring. It also has the added benefit of providing a means of offering all kinds of vegetables that kids might not otherwise be likely to eat on their own! You might like to try it with your own kids, or other picky non-veggie eaters. Besides the veggie aspect, the fact that it is a noodle dish makes it a great standard, and one we often turn to in our kitchen. It's quite easy to prepare at home.

First, start with the noodles. You will use rice sticks, the kind which are wide and broad. Soak them first in hot water until they soften, about 20 minutes, and then boil them for 5 more minutes or so until they are just done, but not mushy. You may have to keep watch on them, and taste for done-ness. When they are done, drain and rinse. Let rest in a colander. In the meantime, you can prepare the vegetables: I used bean sprouts, julienned carrots, chopped bok choy, green onion. I don't stick to traditional recipes; it's okay to use whatever vegetables you like. Also, you should use fried tofu, which can be purchased in the refrigerated section of your local Asian grocery.

Chop the tofu into small cubes. Heat the wok or skillet, and saute some chopped garlic in olive oil for a few minutes. Add 3 lightly beaten eggs, and scramble. Then, throw in your chopped veggies, noodles and tofu. Stir fry until everything is heated through. Add a mixture of 1/4C fish sauce (note: there is a vegetarian fish sauce, available at Vietnamese groceries. It does not have the anchovy, but it contains a mixture of soy beans, salt, sugar, water, chili, and citric acid as a preservative since this type isn't fermented), 1/4C lime juice, and 2T sugar (double if necessary). If you like it spicy, you may add crushed red pepper, chili sauce or sriracha -- but in our house we add it after serving, to suit individual varying tastes. Toss in chopped peanuts and green onion.

Now doesn't it look good? You may also serve it with a slice of lime to garnish, and cilantro on the side. Enjoy! Don't forget, pad thai is excellent the next day, and makes a great bento lunch :)


  1. tofu *shudders* :0)
    We've already discussed the merits of tofu over on Not Exactly Bento:

    I don't think this would change my mind, but I DO like the sound of the pad thai, just not the tofu bit. Extra veggies or perhaps chicken for me I think!

  2. Hi arkonite_babe... tofu is not for everyone, but as you say, it's entirely optional in this case, and still yummy without it!

  3. fish sauce is not exactly vegetarian...

  4. You're right, thank you for pointing that out. The fish sauce should be omitted, or substituted with a vegetarian option, available in Vietnamese groceries.

  5. I LOVE your site, but the light on black page is incredible hard to read for certain types of folks, older ones for sure. Could you eliminate the black background??? I would dearly love to read all of the recipes more often

  6. I never realized... thanks for pointing this out.
    I'll try to make some changes in the coming weeks! I appreciate your visits, and would love for you to be able to read it more easily!