Starting off our Asian “Overlapping Meals”, we have one of my favorite comfort foods, Pad Thai… As with the goal of this series, many of the ingredients used in this dish will also be used later in the week, for less waste and more cost effectiveness!
This version was inspired by the Easy Pad Thai we featured a week or so ago on Foodwhirl, from Brownies for Dinner (told ya I was going to try it!). The original recipe was vegetarian with no added meats, but I wanted something more substantial. But when I order Pad Thai in restaurants, I usually get it with tofu, whereas my husband prefers chicken (as I mentioned yesterday in the Tofu post, he’ll eat tofu, but he’s usually not impressed with it). I decided that I was going to make it with tofu anyway–and make it good enough that he would enjoy it! Looking at the lovely finished platter, his first comment was “There’s *just* tofu in here?” But after he finished off seconds, with plenty of tofu, he was convinced!
So trust me, skeptical carnivores, it’s good… but of course you can always sub other meats if you prefer.
Tasty Pad Thai with Tofu
Prep Notes: The tofu doesn’t take a lot of cook time to prepare, but you have to wait for an hour at several stages. So for busy people, you may want to prep the tofu the day before, when you’re cooking dinner, then leave it marinating in the fridge over night. Then the rest of the meal can be whipped up quickly–less than 30 minutes– at dinner time the next evening!
- 1 block (1 lb) of Firm Tofu (the kind from the refrigerated section)
- 4 Tbsp Soy Sauce
- 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
- Juice of 1 lime
- Minced garlic clove
- (Optional – a few shakes of Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce if you like spicy)
I wrote up a very detailed post on how to prepare the tofu yesterday, so follow those instructions, up to the point of marinating. In summary, you’re going to slice the tofu block thin, and press it under some heavy cans for at least an hour to remove excess water. Then you’re going to cook it in a skillet at low heat until it is nicely tan on the outside, and most of the water is gone from the inside (there’s a little more to it, so be sure to read: How to prepare Really GOOD Tofu, I swear! ). You’re then ready to marinate.
In a bowl, combine and your marinade ingredients and mix well. Add the tofu and let sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour. You can also do this in a ziptop bag to increase the amount of liquid that touches the tofu.
For more info, go read the original recipe, with photos, at Brownies for Dinner, but here’s my version!
Note: Several of these ingredients, like the lime, green onions, and cilantro, show up later in this series!
- 1 pound tofu, dry fried and marinated using process above
- 8 ounces dried, wide and flat rice noodles (I used the Rice Sticks from Trader Joe’s – save the other 4 oz of noodles from the 12 oz package for the Asparagus Shrimp Salad later in this series!)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime), plus wedges for serving
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- a few dashes fish sauce (optional, if you have on hand)
- 1 squirt (about 1/8 teaspoon) Sriracha (optional)
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 3 scallions (green onions), white and green parts, separated and thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 large eggs, light beaten
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup roasted, salted peanuts (crush to chunkiness with a mortar and pestal, or chop)
- Noodles: Soak noodles according to package instructions (about 20 minutes). Drain. Noodles should still be a little under done.
- Sauce: Mix together brown sugar, lime juice, soy sauce, fish sauce and Sriracha.
- Eggs: Heat oil over medium hi heat in a large skillet. Add scallion whites and garlic. Cook about 30 seconds to 1 min, until softened. Add eggs and cook, scraping skillet with spatula until eggs are almost set (about 30 seconds). Remove and set aside.
- Combine: Add noodles, scallion greens, sauce and marinated tofu to skillet. Cook, tossing constantly, until noodles are soft (about 1-2 minute). If the noodles still aren’t soft, add a little of the reserved marinade liquid and cook for another minute.
- Add reserved eggs and toss to coat eggs with sauce.
- Spoon on to platter, and top with cilantro and peanuts.
- Serve with lime wedges.
Optional: If you have some shrimp on hand (for our next Overlapping Meal!) you can throw in a few at step 3, but remove before adding the eggs. Set aside, and add as garnish on top, with the cilantro and peanuts.