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Your Pad Thai or Mine

Cookbook

Vegetarian Planet

Published by Harvard Common Press

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

One of my favorite meals, Pad Thai is a brilliant combination of ingredients and flavors. I love the chewy, almost sticky texture of the sautéed rice noodles. In this version, I’ve omitted the traditional dried shrimp, but I’ve retained the fish sauce. Those who want 100-percent vegetarian Pad Thai can use salt instead. (Don’t use soy sauce; its flavor and color would overwhelm this delicate noodle dish.)

NotesDo not try to reheat this dish in the microwave. A friend of mine did, and it became a large and scary gelatinous glob of noodles that was absolutely inedible.

Serves4

Cooking Methodsauteeing

CostModerate

Total Timeunder 1 hour

One Pot MealYes

OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course, side dish

Dietary Considerationgluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, soy free, tree nut free

Equipmentwok

Mealdinner

Moodadventurous

Taste and Texturecrunchy, nutty, salty, savory, spiced, sweet, tangy, umami

Ingredients

  • ¾ pound dried rice noodles (the width of fettuccine or linguine)
  • ¼ cup lime juice, or more, to taste (from 2 to 3 limes)
  • 3 tablespoons Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce, or 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons hot chile sauce
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil corn oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger (optional)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into thin julienne strips
  • 8 to 10 scallions, halved lengthwise, then cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts
  • ¼ cup chopped dry-roasted, unsalted peanuts
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime, sliced into 1/8-inch rounds (optional)

Instructions

  1. Soak the noodles in 3 quarts hot water for 30 minutes, then drain them. (At this point you can store them, covered, for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.)

  2. In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, fish sauce or salt, sugar, chile sauce, and 1 tablespoon water.

  3. Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil into a large non-stick skillet, and cook the eggs over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. Once the eggs are barely cooked, transfer them to a plate.

  4. In the same skillet (rinsed if necessary), add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Over medium heat, add the garlic and ginger. Sauté for about 30 seconds, then add the carrot and scallions. Sauté for 1 minute more, stirring frequently. Add the lime juice mixture, then the drained noodles. Cook the noodles, stirring constantly, until they are tender but still chewy, about 1 minute. Add a bit more lime juice if you’d like a perkier Pad Thai, and add the sprouts and the scrambled eggs, stirring well. Quickly divide the mixture among plates, sprinkle with the peanuts and cilantro, garnish with the lime slices, if you like, and serve.

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