I just made the most epic Pad Thai! I’ve been working on perfecting a recipe before sharing, and tonight I totally nailed it. It’s an addictive balance of sweet, salty, and fresh with just a bit of heat and a wonderful combination of textures, with chewy noodles and lots fresh, crunchy toppings. I like to take my time with my chopsticks and construct the perfect bite every time. It’s a dish I often make for my sister-from-another-mister who is gluten-free – it’s really easy to adapt for her, and she loves it. This one’s for you, S-Bear!
I bolstered the veggies, piling it high with crisp snap peas, julienned carrot and cucumber, bean sprouts, green onion and cilantro – adding texture, freshness and nutrients to a typically carb-centric dish. There’s a sampling of proteins in there, with egg, tofu and shrimp – but feel free to omit the shrimp and make it vegetarian (or swap in chicken!).
My version uses Thai sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, garlic and fish sauce as the flavour base. A truly authentic pad Thai uses tamarind in lieu of sweet chili, but I modelled this one after the beloved westernized takeout fave.
I used my julienne peeler to prep the carrot and cucumber – it’s a tool that I bought guiltily, thinking I’d only use it twice a year, but I totally love it and use it all the time for salads and more.
My mom commented the other day that she’s noticed I haven’t been telling many funny or personal stories lately. And she’s right! I am very occupied with this side project I keep mentioning and that I promise to share with you soon. So occupied in fact that when I sit down to write, stories about the secret project are all I can think about… but I can’t talk about it yet… so you’ll just have to bear with me focusing on the food for the time being…
Veggie, Tofu + Shrimp Pad Thai
- 1 cup sweet chili sauce
- 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari, for gluten free
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp minced garlic about 6 medium cloves
- 1 lb package medium rice stick noodles
- 5 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil divided use
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 block tofu cubed and blotted dry with paper towel
- 12 large shrimp
- 1/2 medium onion minced
- 7 oz/200 gram package snow peas
- 1 large carrot julienned or grated
- 4 oz bean sprouts
- 6 " length cucumber 1/2 of a medium sized, julienned or grated
- Roasted peanuts chopped
- 3 green onions chopped
- 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
- 2 limes cut in wedges
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, whisk together ingredients for sauce.
- When water is boiling, add noodles and cook for 4-5 minutes, until noodles are just al dente (set a timer, you don't want soggy noodles - they'll continue cooking a bit later). Drain in a colander and run cold water over top to stop cooking. Reserve the pot.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk eggs with a good pinch of salt. When oil is shimmering hot, add eggs, tilting pan to evenly coat bottom. When eggs are set, fold over onto itself and transfer to a plate. Slice thinly crosswise.
- Add another tablespoon oil to skillet. Season tofu cubes with a good sprinkle of salt, tossing to season on all sides. Add to skillet and cook, turning until golden brown on all sides. Transfer to plate with eggs.
- Add shrimp to pan and cook until opaque. Transfer to plate with eggs and tofu.
- Add 2 tbsp oil to the empty noodle pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Add snow peas, season with salt, and cook until bright green, about 2 minutes more. Add carrot, noodles, sauce, tofu, egg and shrimp to pot. Cook, tossing with tongs, until everything is evenly coated with sauce and noodles are heated through.
- Serve topped with sprouts, cucumber, peanuts, green onions, cilantro and lime wedges for squeezing.