Pad Thai is a favourite with many I know. It is something I absolutely love too. If I were to make a list of my most beloved Asian foods, Pad Thai would rank right on top. It is one dish I frequently order while dining out, and make it often at home as well.
Today, I’m going to share with you all my recipe for Vegetarian Pad Thai.
What is Pad Thai?
Pad Thai, also called Phad Thai, is a noodle dish that’s bursting with flavours. It is a heritage Thai food, typically made using flat rice noodles, with a few vegetables and a protein source like tofu or a fried egg.
Pad Thai is sweet and sour and spicy, sure to titillate one’s tastebuds. It is a complete meal in itself. It’s not the healthiest of foods, considering the use of different sauces but I would say a home-made version is better because you have control over the quality and quantity of the ingredients going in. Using wheat- or millet-based noodles would make the Pad Thai more healthy, as opposed the regular refined flour noodles I have used here.
My love for Thai cuisine
I have had the pleasure of getting acquainted with Pad Thai in its country of origin itself, Thailand. While holidaying in Thailand, I fell in love with the country’s cuisine, especially Pad Thai, and learnt to make some of it too.
My love for Thai food is legendary in my family, and I have prepared several dishes over the years, adapting them to suit local Indian ingredients. You might want to check out my recipes for Thai Tom Yum Vegetable Soup, Vegetarian Thai Panang Curry, Tom Kha soup, Thai Green Curry, Thai Yellow Curry and Sticky Rice With Mango.
I am sharing this recipe for Pad Thai in association with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. This is a group of passionate food bloggers, who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme every Monday. When Preethi suggested that we share recipes for Asian-style noodles this Monday, my decision was made from the word go – I knew I had to write about Pad Thai. 🙂
Preethi is a passionate traveller and talented cook. On her blog Preethi’s Cuisine, she has showcased several unique recipes from her homeland, Karnataka, and from Malaysia and Singapore, where she has lived. For this week’s theme, #NoodlesDoodles, she has prepared some fiery Sambal Mushroom Noodles – can’t wait to try the recipe out!
How to make Vegetarian Pad Thai Noodles
Good Pad Thai is not very difficult to make at home, provided you are able to source the right ingredients. This is a vegetarian version of the dish, as close to the authentic version as possible, made using ingredients easily available in India. I have tried and tested this recipe several times over, and perfected it gradually. It does make a delicious Pad Thai, I must say!
Here is how I make it.
Ingredients (serves 2-3):
To cook the noodles:
- 150 grams noodles
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1 medium-sized onion
- A small piece of cabbage
- 1 small cucumber
- 1 small carrot
- 6-7 cloves of garlic
- A 1-inch piece of ginger
- A small piece of tamarind
- 1/4 cup peanuts
- 1/2 tablespoon oil
- Salt to taste
- 2-3 teaspoons of soya sauce or to taste
- 2 tablespoon Sriracha sauce or red chilli sauce
- 1 tablespoon jaggery powder or as per taste
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander
- Lemon wedges for garnishing, as needed (optional)
1. Cook the noodles with 1 teaspoon oil and 1/2 tablespoon salt, as per instructions provided on the package. Do not make them overly mushy.
2. While the noodles are cooking, dry roast the peanuts in a heavy-bottomed pan on medium flame, till they turn crisp. Take care to ensure that they do not burn. Transfer the roasted peanuts to a plate and allow them to cool down completely.
3. Soak the tamarind in a little boiling water for 15-20 minutes, for it to soften. Allow it to cool down enough to handle.
4. Next, we will prep all the veggies that will go into the Pad Thai. Peel the ginger and garlic and chop finely. Peel the carrot and chop into cubes. Chop the cucumber into cubes and the cabbage length-wise. Peel the onion and chop length-wise. Keep the chopped veggies ready.
5. When the noodles are done cooking, transfer them to a colander. Immediately run some cold water over them. Place the colander in the sink and let all the water drain out.
6. When the roasted peanuts have completely cooled down, crush them coarsely in a mixer. Do not make a fine powder. There is no need to remove the skin from the peanuts. Also, extract a thick paste out of the soaked tamarind. Keep ready.
7. Now, we will start preparing the Pad Thai. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the garlic and saute for a few seconds.
8. Now add in the ginger, onion and carrot, along with a bit of salt. Turn the flame down to medium. Saute on medium flame for about 2 minutes.
9. Add in the cabbage and cucumber at this stage. Saute on medium flame for about 2 minutes more or till all the veggies are cooked through, not overly mushy but retaining a crunch.
10. Add in the cooked and drained noodles at this stage. Keep the flame at low-medium.
11. Also add in soya sauce, Sriracha or red chilli sauce, salt to taste and the tamarind paste we prepared earlier.
12. Add in the jaggery powder too.
13. Mix everything well, but gently, still keeping the flame at low-medium. Ensure that the ingredients are well combined together but that the noodles do not break. You could use a pair of tongs for the same. Cook on low-medium flame for 3-4 minutes, tossing occasionally. Switch off gas at this stage. The Vegetable Pad Thai Noodles are ready.
14. Transfer the Vegetable Pad Thai Noodles to serving plates. Serve immediately, garnished with finely chopped coriander and coarsely crushed peanuts, with lemon wedges on the side (if using).
Tips & Tricks
1. Adjust the quantity of soya sauce, Sriracha or red chilli sauce and jaggery powder as per personal taste preferences.
2. You can use any type of noodles you prefer. Traditionally, flat rice noodles are used to make this dish. I have used Hakka noodles from Ching’s, here.
3. Make sure the tamarind extract is thick and not too watery. Use as much as needed, as per personal taste preferences. I have used Indian tamarind from the Double Horse brand.
4. Do not cook the noodles overly. They should not turn too mushy.
5. Do not crush the roasted peanuts to a fine powder. Just crush them coarsely.
6. Lemon juice can be used in place of the tamarind extract. However, I would personally recommend using tamarind paste for the authentic taste of Pad Thai. Many online recipes suggest using vinegar instead, but that’s not something I would recommend.
7. You can use any veggies that you prefer in this Vegetarian Pad Thai. Here, I have used the vegetables I had at home. Some traditional Thai versions include pickled radish, in the place of which I have used cucumber – it works well. Typically, a protein like tofu or a fried egg is also used in Pad Thai, but I have not used any here. In Thailand, bean sprouts are also commonly used in Pad Thai, but I have skipped this since I didn’t have them.
8. Make sure the vegetables are not overly cooked. They should retain a bit of a crunch.
9. Be careful while adding the salt. We are using Sriracha (or red chilli sauce) and soya sauce in these noodles, which contain salt already. Moreover, we also add salt while cooking the noodles.
10. I have used home-made red chilli sauce here. Please head to this post for the recipe. I have used soya sauce by Ching’s. When using store-bought sauce, please do read the ingredient list carefully to make sure it fits your dietary requirements.
11. Traditional Thai recipes use fish sauce and/or dried shrimp, both of which I have avoided in this vegetarian version of Pad Thai. I have used regular jaggery powder in place of the coconut sugar or palm jaggery that is traditionally used.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!