May 29, 2012

Pad Thai with Scrambled Tofu


Has anyone tried shirataki noodles? I've seen a few bloggers post about these "zero calorie" noodles, which are a chewy, translucent noodle made from japanese yams that can be added to soups and other dishes in place of regular noodles.  Even though I'm not on a diet, I was still curious about these noodles so I finally bought a package (the Miracle Noodle brand) so that I could try them myself.

A few weeks ago, I had a craving for pad thai.  Then I remembered the package of shirataki noodles sitting in my cupboard, and I figured they would be perfect to use instead of the usual rice noodles!

The noodles come packaged in a watery solution that can have a very strong "funky" smell, according to other people who have tried them.  I was pretty nervous when I opened mine up, but they actually didn't smell that bad, and once you rinse them off, they're quite easy to prepare since they're precooked.

To complete my pad thai, I wanted to make it as authentic as possible.  So I thought back to the amazing pad thai I ate in Thailand a couple months ago and tried to remember as best as I could exactly what was in it.  I knew it had to have a spicy component from chilies, but since I couldn't find Thai chilies, I just used a jalapeno.  I also remembered my pad thai having shallots, bean sprouts and green onions, so I included those as well.  And for presentation, the authentic dish that I had was served with lime wedges and a handful of crushed peanuts on the side, which were mixed in to the noodles as you ate, so I tried to replicate that on my own plate.


Next came the sauce.  I've seen versions of pad thai that use ketchup in the sauce, but I think the real key ingredient to get the pad thai flavour is tamarind paste, which you should be able to find for a cheap price from an Asian food mart.  I ended up using this recipe for pad thai sauce but I replaced the peanut flour with peanut butter and used sriracha sauce instead of chili powder.

The final component that I would need to create a pad thai that matched the one I had eaten in Thailand would have been to add scrambled eggs to the dish.  But since I don't usually eat eggs or have them around, I decided to just leave that part out.  But then I came up with a new idea -  why not use scrambled tofu instead?

I've actually never made scrambled tofu before, but I've seen lots of recipes for it and I knew that the texture  and consistency would be very similar to eggs. So I added some crumbled tofu to the pan and stirred it around as you would with scrambled eggs, and luckily, my little experiment turned out perfectly! The tofu had just the right texture that I wanted, and it really soaked up the extra sauce, giving it lots of flavor. The addition of the tofu also helped give the dish a bit more substance and protein, since the noodles didn't provide any calories or nutrition.

Overall, my vegan pad thai may not have been truly authentic, but I thought the mixture of flavours and textures was pretty close to the original version that I tried in Thailand! I especially loved the extra dimensions of flavour from the lime juice and peanuts, so you definitely shouldn't leave those out!

I also really liked the thick, chewy shirataki noodles, but you could easily replace them with rice noodles if you prefer - just follow the cooking instructions on the package.



Pad Thai with Scrambled Tofu

Sauce:
Adapted from The Wannabe Chef

2 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp tamarind paste
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2-1 tsp sriracha (to taste)

Pad Thai:

1 package (7 oz) shirataki noodles (can substitute rice noodles)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 shallot, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 a jalapeno pepper, minced
~4 oz firm tofu, crumbled
2 green onions, minced
1/2 cup bean sprouts
Lime wedges and crushed peanuts for serving

To make the sauce, whisk or stir all ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Drain the shirataki noodles from their package and rinse under cold water.  Let the noodles soak in a bowl of water for about 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the shallots and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Add the garlic and jalapeno and cook for another 30 seconds.  Add the crumbled tofu and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the tofu is softened and lightly browned. (You can leave the tofu in larger chunks, or break it up into smaller pieces using a wooden spoon as you cook).

Drain the noodles and add to the skillet.  Add the sauce and a splash of water and stir the sauce into the noodles. Once the sauce and noodles are hot, add the green onions and bean sprouts.  Stir for about 1 minute, until everything is heated through and coated in the sauce.

Transfer the contents to two plates. Garnish each plate with a handful of crushed peanuts and additional bean sprouts if desired.  Serve with lime wedges.

Makes 2 servings. 


This was submitted to Wellness Weekend at Diet, Dessert and Dogs

12 comments:

  1. I'd like to face plant into this dish. Noms.

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    1. Hahaha...not the type of compliment you hear every day, but I'll take it! That's actually not a bad idea, considering I didn't even bother attempting to use those chopsticks..

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  2. Ba ha ha! Love Caitlin's comment! And I fully agree! :) This looks delicious! I love your idea of using scrambled tofu. I've been looking for a good, solid pad thai recipe and this sounds perfect. Thanks so much for sharing this! Cannot wait to test it out. Yum!!!!

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    1. I'm glad you agree! I hope you like it if you get a chance to try the recipe! If you like spicy food, then I would recommend trying it with hotter chilies, since my jalapeno didn't seem to have much heat.

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  3. I couldn't agree anymore with Caitlin and Court - this looks so so good, I really like the peanuts on the side and I bet the lime juice brings this to an entire new level of goodness!

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    1. Thanks! With other noodle dishes, I always just sprinkle some peanuts over top, but I really liked the side presentation! Although I guess everything does get mixed together eventually...

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  4. This looks so good! I love pad thai and have barely made since I went vegan, but the addition of tofu as a sub for eggs is brilliant! I love the shiritaki noodles...not something I eat all the time, but good way to bulk up a stir fry without a lot of added calories and fat. I'm loving all your dishes inspired by your trip to Thailand!

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    1. I'm glad you're not sick of my Thailand posts! I agree - I'm not sure how often I would want to eat the shirataki noodles, but they were perfect for this dish. This was the first time I've made pad thai in a long time too, and I think the first time I've made my own sauce for it - I admit to using the packaged kind in the past!

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  5. YUM. Pad Thai is one of my favorite foods ever, but I can never find a recipe that really captures the flavor of it. And I'm not a fan of scrambled eggs, so adding tofu instead is perfect!

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    1. Thanks so much - I'm glad I could give you a bit of inspiration! I find that pad thai is always a bit different everywhere you go, so it can be tough to find one that you really like!

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  6. I prefer kelp noodles to the shirataki noodles, although shirataki noodles are ok in miso soup. Kelp noodles a re bit more versatile. In any case, your pad thai looks great! Rob took a cooking class in Thailand and makes the best pad thai. The secret is definitely tamarind... and love. ;) We usually make ti with tofu cubes but scrambled tofu sounds like a great idea.

    This is our recipe although I should really post a veganized version on my blog.. next time we make it I'll try to photograph it. :)
    http://www.freepantsonline.com/?p=97

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    1. I actually did want to try this with kelp noodles initially, but since I had bought the shirataki noodles I figured I would try it with those. I will keep my eye out for kelp next time! That's funny that Rob went to Chiang Mai too and learned to make pad thai there (that's where I was in Thailand). I'd love to see your revised recipe!

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