One of my all-time favorite dishes from living in Houston was the small but prolific local Thai joint near work. The spicy pad thai was my favorite, and it is really an anytime kind of dish. Ideally you should replace the celery in this dish with scallions, but I was lacking ingredients.
Pad thai is a stir-fry rice noodle dish with tofu and optionally eggs. Traditionally served with roasted peanuts and bean sprouts. The spice factor can be turned up with different types of chili powder. Garlic and onions round out this dish.
The sauce is a mixture of tomato paste, sugar, tamari, wine vinegar, and srirachi. It is okay for the sauce to form some clumps before being added to the dish. The sauce will be added at around the same time as the noodles and should be mixed in well for maximum flavor.
- 14oz extra-firm tofu
- 1 package rice noodles
- 1 red onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
- 1/4 fresh cilantro
- 1 tbs ancho chili powder
- 2 stalks of celery
- 6 tbs tamari
- 6 tbs sugar
- 2 tbs tomato paste
- 2 tbs sriracha
- 1/4 cup rice wine vingegar
- Dry and press the tofu
- Roast peanuts if necessary for 15 minutes at 350°F
- Mince the garlic
- Slice the onion into half moons
- Chop up the bunch of cilantro
- Chop the celery
- Start to boil water on the stove
- Mix the sauce ingredients
Stir-fry the tofu for about 6-7 minutes at medium-high heat. Go for even heating with an outer crisp to all sides. Once finished remove from heat and put to the side.
While the tofu is cooking, the water you started heating earlier should come to a boil on the stove. Make sure it is fully boiling and not just bottom-surface bubbles. At that point remove from heat source and add the rice noodles to soak in the hot water. Soak between 8-11 minutes. When done soaking strain the noodles out and set aside.
Saute the onion slices in peanut oil for 4 minutes. Then add the garlic and stir consistently for 30 more seconds. It is okay to reduce the heat and/or deglaze halfway through this process.
Once the vegetables have been heated you can add the sauce mix and stir quickly (and carefully!). It should begin to bubble rapidly on the pan surface. Within about 5-10 seconds of adding the sauce, add the rice noodles. Continue stirring consistently at this part.
Cook with the added noodles for 2 more minutes. Then add the tofu.
Add in the cilantro, and roasted peanuts. Then carefully mix in the ancho chili powder distributing evenly. Cook the total mix now for another 1 minute, reducing the heat if necessary.
Then remove from heat source and serve.