A new year, a new life, lots of changes. All good so far but the year is young. The house glitter is all put away and the main floor is back in its austere winter clean state,
To start the year in style, I chanced upon a recipe over the holiday season in a Martha Stewart magazine (sadly, 'tis true).
I'd been looking for an authentic Thai vegetarian version of Pad Thai. After watching a number of videos on YouTube, I realize there is a real art to making superb Pad Thai. Most use shrimp and some spices not easily acquired here in Canada.
I continued looking and found a vegetarian version with ingredients I could easily gather. There's a good vegetarian version video on Planet Green with Emeril Green who also regularly features Emeril Lagasse (Emeril is quite the popular name!)
There seems to be only two rules to making Pad Thai:
-- One, have a hot wok and add ingredients in fast. What that means is a lot of preparation before starting... measuring, chopping, organizing dishes etc. It's worth it as prep into the wok is fast.
-- Two, get the noodles done just right. It will take a lot of experience to learn a) when they're done and b) the correct art of stir frying rice noodles to perfection.
But I figured I had to start somewhere so I gave it a whirl. The recipe I liked was done by Emeril Lagasse, who was featured in the Martha Stewart magazine and also a guest on the Food Network when Emeril Green did a show called Planet Vegetarian. There's a video link on Emeril Lagasse's Facebook page. Give it a try...
6 ounces rice noodles (or Pad Thai noodles, really anything works)
2 T plus 1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable broth (I had a batch frozen and used that, low-sodium versions also exist)
3 T plus 1 tsp Asian fish sauce (I used low-sodium soy sauce instead and cut back a bit)
2 T rice vinegar
1 T chili-garlic sauce (which I own thanks to KSP and Food Basics or use Sriracha)
1 T sesame oil
1 tsp tamarind paste
1/3 cup peanut oil
2 large eggs, beaten with a pinch of sale
12 ounces shitake mushrooms
3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup cubed firm tofu (about 6 ounces)
4 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped
1 jalapeño, minced
5 scallions (use both white and green parts), 3 cut in 1/2-inch pieces, 2 chopped
1 package enoki mushrooms
1/2 cup Mung bean sprouts (optional)
1/3 cup salted roasted peanuts, chopped, plus a few for garnish
Serving suggestions: lime wedges, and Sriracha sauce or other Thai hot chill sauce
Place noodles in a medium bowl with hot water. Soak for about 30 minutes, until tender, drain and set aside.
Whisk brown sugar, vegetable broth, fish/soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili garlic sauce (or Sriracha), sesame oil and tamarind paste in a small bowl.
Heat a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add 1 T of peanut oil, eggs and tilt the skillet to make a thin, even coating of egg. Cook egg until just set, about 45 seconds, invert eggs onto a cutting board, cut in 1/2 inch strips and set aside.
Add another Tablespoon of peanut oil to skillet and turn to high heat. Add mushrooms, 1/2 tsp of pepper flakes, and salt. Stir fry until mushrooms are golden brown.
Add another Tablespoon of peanut oil and add the tofu, another 1/2 tsp of pepper flakes and salt to taste. Stir fry until tofu is golden brown on all sides.
Add garlic, jalapeño, chopped scallion and 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes and stir fry until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add bean sprouts if using.
Add the noodles and cook, tossing, until lightly coated with the garlic mixture, about 1 minute. Add the soy sauce (or fish sauce) and large scallion pieces and cook until heated through, tossing to combine.
Stir in the cooked egg, 1 cup of the enoki mushrooms and 1/3 cup peanuts and toss until hot.
Divide among plate and top with the remaining enoki mushrooms and scallions.
Serve with lime wedges and Sriracha sauce.