Pad Thai (Vegetarian)
The hashtag for these uncertain times is #flattenthecurve and we are doing our part to keep this pandemic from spreading by keeping a low profile and practicing social distancing.
Being at home does not have to mean true isolation. We can schedule a coffee call with the kids, a video chat to see the baby, “online” lunch date with a girlfriend in front of the iPad, a glass of wine in the evening with a couple of friends or just “hang out” with someone you care about, all with the help of a laptop, an iPad or a smartphone. In absence of these you can also use the phone more frequently to stay connected with family and friends. I spend a lot of time anyway on the phone, keeping up with my Calgary friends since we moved here to Kelowna. Even texting is a way of staying connected and kept up to date on family and friends activities.
While spending more time at home it is an opportunity to get things done that we never have time for (we emptied and cleaned all the kitchen drawers, organized my pantry, sorted the table linen and found beautiful pieces that I forgot about.
There are fun things to do as well. Reading is high on my list and with the gym closed I can linger in bed in the morning and read that book on the stack by my bed. I am an early riser and reading in bed in the morning is a luxury I have cherished ever since I was a young child. Reading in bed at night has never worked for me. At night I am asleep in two minutes.
Music and opera is another passion and with access to the Metropolitan opera and Medici.tv (an app) I have access to operas and concerts from all major music halls of the world. Now is the time to catch up on all the conductors I wanted to see, orchestra performances on my list and operas to take my mind off things for a couple of beautiful hours.
But of course for me the number one fun and relaxing thing to do is cook and photograph the food. Cooking and baking can occupy me the entire day and I get annoyed when the sun goes down and I cannot photograph those last dishes in daylight. Time flies when you are having fun.
So last night, to change things up a bit and instead of going out for Thai food I thought I’d make something more exotic at home. Pad Thai is a vegetarian friendly dish that is not too hard to make. Basically it is a bit of a stir fry that you add cooked rice noodles to and drizzle with pad Thai sauce made with a few simple ingredients. The only exotic ingredients you may not be familiar with is tamarind paste but any Asian store carries it and if you can’t get to one just add 1/4 cup rice vinegar mixed with 1/4 cup sugar to replace the tamarind.
Traditional pad Thai has a couple of eggs scrambles in the wok and mixed with the noodles. I didn’t use eggs, only a couple of vegetables and the noodles. It was good (if you like pad Thai) and perfectly acceptable substitute to going out for Thai food. Of course you can adapt the recipe to whatever you like to have in it.
Pad Thai (Vegetarian)Course: Main
- Pad Thai Sauce
3 tablespoons vegetarian fish sauce (or regular)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon sriracha hot sauce
1 tablespoon Thai sweet red chili sauce
- Pad Thai Rice Noodles
8 oz pad
Thai rice noodles
2 teaspoons sesame oil
- Vegetables for pad Thai
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (try grape seed)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
1 teaspoon ginger, grated
Hot pepper if you wish
2 cups Broccoli florets
1 Carrot cut in ribbons with vegetable peeler or cut into slices diagonally.
2 cups bean sprouts
Roasted peanuts, chopped
Extra hot sauce
- Pad Thai Sauce
- Combine all the pad Thai sauce in a dish and whisk to combine until sugar dissolves.
- Pad Thai Noodles
- Soften noodles in warm water according to package directions. Drain and toss with a bit of sesame oil to keep them from sticking.
- Cooking the Vegetables
- Heat oil in a wok until very hot.
- Add the garlic, ginger and hot pepper if using and stir fry for a minute.
- Add the broccoli and stir fry for s minute or so until bright green and cooked but still maintaining a crunch. Remove to a plate.
- Add carrots to the wok and cook, stirring, for one minute. Remove to the plate with the broccoli.
- Add the noodles and half a cup water and stir for a few seconds.
- Add the pad Thai sauce and stir the noodles to mix them with the sauce.
- Add the vegetables and briefly mix everything together.
Remove from heat and using tongs divide the pad Thai between two plates.
- Garnish with the peanuts, bean sprouts, cilantro and Thai basil.
- Serve with extra hot sauce on the side.