How To Make Pad Thai (Vegetarian Pad Thai Recipe)


We made an enormous pot of phở over the weekend and called everyone who likes this Vietnamese beef soup. I think my eyes were a little bigger than my stomach because I soaked 6 packages of dried rice noodles (bánh phở) and ended up with a ton of leftovers. Even though all the beef broth was gone, I managed not to waste the soaked rice noodles by making Pad Thai noodles. The dish is composed of rice noodles, tofu, limes, fragrant kaffir lime leaves, tamarind, palm sugar, peanuts and cilantro.

For a meat version, you could add skinless chicken breasts, whole shelled and de-veined shrimp and shredded thin omelette along with the tofu and then finish the dish with fish sauce.

1. Info for How To Make Pad Thai (Vegetarian Pad Thai Recipe)

  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Total Time: 30 min
  • Servings: 8
  • Calories: 189 kcal

2. Ingredients for How To Make Pad Thai (Vegetarian Pad Thai Recipe)

  • 1 pound dried vermicelli rice noodles (see tips)
  • ¼ cup canola oil (or any neutral oil), as needed
  • 1 (12-ounce) package medium-firm tofu
  • 1 jicama (see tips)
  • 8 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 oyster mushrooms, cut into quarters, lengthwise
  • 1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 6 tablespoons tamarind concentrate (see tips)
  • 10 tablespoons palm sugar (or light brown sugar), freshly grated
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste (see tips)
  • 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
  • 1/3 cup dark soy sauce
  • 1 fresh kaffir lime leaf (optional), finely chopped
  • 2 red Thai bird chiles, to taste
  • ¼ cup green onions
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 1-½ cups bean sprouts, washed
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon mushroom seasoning salt (or regular salt)
  • ½ cup roasted garlic-flavored peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 3 limes, (1 for garnish)

3. Directions:

  1. Juice 2 limes. Set aside.
  2. Prepping the dried rice noodles: When uncooked, the glass noodles look grayish. Place the long noodles in a large bowl and soak them in cold water about 30 minutes. This step will help soften the noodles. Drain through a colander and discard the liquid. Set aside.
  3. Prepping the fresh chiles: Stem, seed and finely chop the chile pepper. Note: Remember not to rub your eyes after touching the chile pepper seeds.
  4. Making the Pad Thai sauce: In a small bowl, dissolve the palm sugar (or light brown sugar) in ½ cup boiling water. Let the water cool to room temperature. Add the tamarind paste, lime juice and chili garlic sauce.
  5. For the jicama: Peel and slice horizontally into ½-inch thick pieces. In a large pan, heat the oil and fry the jicama slices until golden brown. Once they are cool enough to handle, cut the pieces into small dice. Set aside.
  6. Preparing the tofu: Drain the liquid from the package of the tofu. Pat dry the tofu with a paper towel. Cut the piece of tofu in half, lengthwise. Cut each block into ½-inch slices.
  7. In a wok, heat the remaining canola oil for about 2-3 minutes. You should have about a 1-inch deep layer of oil. The key to good fried tofu is to get little bubbles when the tofu is in contact with the oil. Don’t over-heat the oil; otherwise the tofu will get too golden and chewy.
  8. Place the tofu one piece at a time in the hot oil; make sure the tofu pieces don’t touch each other. Pan-fry in batches for about 2 minutes per batch until golden on all sides. Lower the heat to medium-low for even cooking and to prevent them from browning too fast. Flip each piece and cook about a minute longer. Delicately pick up each tofu piece using a spider skimmer (I used wooden chopsticks), leaving as much oil as possible in the wok.
  9. As soon as the tofu is cooled enough to handle, cut into small dice. Set aside.
  10. In the same wok, add the ginger garlic paste and kaffir lime leaf. Cook until fragrant. Add the carrots. Stir fry until they are slightly translucent, then add the shiitake and oyster mushrooms and fresh chiles. Season with mushroom seasoning salt. Toss well. Add the tofu with the Pad Thai sauce. Stir well. Transfer to a plate.
  11. Wash, trim and cut the green onions into 1-½”-pieces. Set aside.
  12. Add more oil to the wok if necessary. Stir fry the green onions until it is golden. Add the drained rice noodles. Add soy sauce, the juice of half a lime and light brown sugar. Toss using spatulas positioned on either side of the wok to prevent the food from sticking to the bottom. Cook for another minute. Drizzle with about 1 cup water, then toss until the water evaporates. Check the doneness of the noodles. If they’re still al dente, drizzle more water until they’re the desired texture. Add the tofu, fried jicama, vegetables and onions wedges. Toss well until the onion softens. Turn off the heat. Add the bean sprouts. Cover the wok and let sit for about 2-3 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with more mushroom seasoning salt (if necessary).
  13. Add the cilantro, finish with the remaining lime juice and drizzle a dash of sesame oil.
  14. Sprinkle with black pepper and roasted peanuts.
  15. Garnish with lime.
  16. Bon appétit!

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