Pad Thai

posted in: East Asian, Main Dishes, Recipes | 8
I used to make this dish years ago when I still ate seafood, way back in the 90’s. Back then, I made it with shrimp and fish sauce. When I first made a vegetarian verson I replaced the fish sauce with soy sauce, and it was good, but it was missing that something-something.So, I came up with a way to to make a vegetarian “fish” sauce using the soaking water from rehydrating hijiki, a type of seaweed.I hadn’t made this recipe in ages, and I have had trouble finding hijiki for the last couple of years here. It was even missing from the big Asian market the last time I checked. I thought it would be interesting to recreate the sauce using nori, since I nearly always have some in my pantry and it’s an ingredient available to almost everybody. It worked! The flavor is a bit more subtle than the sauce made with hijiki, but it definitely has that something-something I was looking for.

I’ve separated the recipe into three parts for clarity, but don’t let that make you think it’s complicated. It really goes together easily.

This is my entry for Presto Pasta Nights this week. There is still plenty of time to get your entries to me! See here for more information.

Pad Thai
If you don’t want to make the seaweed fish sauce, you can replace it with 1/3 cup soy sauce plus enough water to make 1/2 cup
seaweed fish sauce
1-1/2 sheets toasted nori or 2 tablespoons hijiki (about 4.5 g)
1/4 cup boiling water
1/3 cup soy sauceIf using nori, roll the sheets up as tight as you can and cut into slivers. Steep the nori or hijiki in boiling water for 10-15 minutes (you can steep for longer if you need to). Strain seaweed over a bowl, pressing out as much water as you can. Discard seaweed. Add soy sauce to the seaweed “tea.”

Makes 1/2 cup.

pad thai sauce
1/2 cup seaweed fish sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon paprika

Stir all ingredients together.

Makes about 1 cup.

the rest
6-1/2 ounces thin rice noodles (1/2 a package)
1 pound tofu
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons canola oil
6 ounces bean sprouts
1/3 cup peanuts

Steep the seaweed for the fish sauce.

In a medium bowl, cover the rice noodles in hot tap water to soften. Set aside for 20 minutes (more soaking time is fine).

Preheat oven to 350 F. Slice tofu into 1/2-inch thick slabs and then into triangles. Place on an oiled baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

Prepare pad thai sauce.

Remove tofu from oven and turn heat up to 400 F. Brush tofu with pad thai sauce, then turn over the pieces and brush the other side. Bake for 10-20 minutes until tofu reaches desired firmness.

Heat the canola oil in a skillet. Sauté the garlic for a minute and then add the drained noodles. Toss the noodles to coat in oil, and add the pad thai sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until sauce is absorbed, about 5 minutes, tossing noodles frequently to prevent sticking. Place noodles on serving platter and add bean sprouts to skillet. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes until hot.

Place bean sprouts on one side of the noodles and tofu triangles on the other. Top with peanuts.

Serves 3-4.

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8 Responses

  1. Vegetarian Pad Thai is a natural! Just seems to fit with a good mix of whatever fresh veggies you have on hand. What a clever idea, your “fish sauce” made with nori.

  2. Anonymous

    MMMM. I liked it!!!!

    Your man..

  3. I should make it more often, then, my man.

  4. Pad Thai is one of my favourite dishes ever, and it is so often disappointing in restaurants. This vegan version is a treasure, even though I am not vegan: I have tofu at home much more often than seafood and my man freaks out at the idea (and smell) of fish sauce so I usually avoid it. thanks!

  5. I love pad thai but don’t make it very often – have arrived at a version that I love but I am always curious about fish sauce – I never had it before I went veg so it is a mystery – I was once recommended to try adding a bit of umeboshi vinegar to soy sauce but I might have to try this seaweed soy sauce

    PS am curious what you sue nori for regularly – I have just tried it with sushi and salad but am not that familiar with it

  6. Johanna, I use nori mostly in sushi and salads like you, but it’s also good in spring rolls, like these.

    I can imagine umeboshi vinegar in pad thai, too, that’s a great idea.

  7. I love veggie pad thai! Thanks for a recipe I can make at home.

  8. Yum – I love Pad Thai – this is a great idea for making a vegetarian “fish sauce” – I never would have thought of that.
    Sue :-)

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