Feb 13, 2009

Pad Thai Remix

Spicy, sweet, tangy, savory rice noodles with non-traditional veggies, i.e. rainbow chard, and marinated pan fried tofu, onions, garlic, ginger, toasted cashews, and a squeeze of lime.

That time of the day never ceases to stump me- "What to make for dinner...?" Others aren't usually much help around here, with replies like, "I dunno. Whatever is fine..." (ugh!) So my usual routine is to stick my head into the fridge and/or pantry and just stare. Sometimes I stare for so long my mind wanders and I forget what I'm staring for!

Luckily, I spotted a package of rice noodles and immediately thought of pad thai. That rich, spicy, flavorful noodle- a one dish wonder. It's nice when inspiration hits you like that! So I looked around for some complimentary ingredients, and found most everything except bean sprouts, which is one of the traditional veggies. I did, however have a lovely bunch of rainbow Swiss chard. If you haven't tried chard before, please do- it's delicious and gives a great vibrant color!

8-10oz. package dry rice stick noodles
1 white onion, sliced into thin strips
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 package extra firm tofu, drained and patted with a towel
sprinkling of nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, white pepper, and salt
1/2 C. raw cashews (or roasted)
1 bunch rainbow Swiss chard, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
3 slices of ginger
soy sauce
vegetarian fish sauce
Asian sweet garlic red chili sauce (it looks like a thick clear sauce with red chili flakes and specks of garlic- not the one in oil or the one that looks completely red)
rice vinegar
lime juice
veg oil for stir frying (about 3 T.)

First, soak your rice noodles until they're pliable (about 15 minutes). Drain noodles and set aside. Next, prepare everything for quick stir frying. Drain the tofu and cut into small chunks- pat dry to remove excess water. Sprinkle with some salt, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, and white pepper (set aside). Wash and cut up the chard, onions, garlic, and ginger. The trick here is to quick fry everything separately in a hot wok. I start with a little vegetable oil, and fry the onions until slightly tender, then add the garlic for a couple more minutes- constantly tossing. Remove this into a bowl, and toast the cashews-turning constantly until toasty. Remove and add a little more oil to fry the tofu. Cook on each side until slightly crispy. Remove and add the last batch of oil and add the ginger slices and the chard. Stir fry until wilted, then remove and dispose of the ginger. Remove the chard and start making the sauce by adding about a cup and a half of the sweet garlic chili sauce. Add a splash of vinegar, splash of veg fish sauce, and splash of soy sauce. Taste and adjust. Add soaked and drained noodles, toss and cook for 5 minutes or until just tender. Add all the other ingredients. Squeeze some lime juice over the top, and serve hot.

Garnish with: lime wedges, chopped green onions, and cilantro


  1. I haven't had pad thai in ages now, but it sure does sound tempting... That photo is especially appetizing!

  2. hey i have some rice noodles. thanks for the recipe!!!

  3. What an original combination! And I already love pad thai :).

    Thanks so much for your comment on my blog--and The Girls thank you, too! Have a happy V-Day!

  4. i've definitely tried to make pad thai before on my own, but it's never as good as when you get it in the restaurant. i probably am not using the right flavors.

  5. I've found that it is crucial to stir fry each main component separately and then combine it in the end- the result is so much better!- Also, you cannot omit the lime. :)

  6. This sounds really good! One of my favorite dishes from my local Thai restaurant is curry noodle... I've been saying for ages that I need to replicate it in my kitchen, but something always seems to come up!! Grr!