Monday, April 6, 2009

Spring Vegetable Pad Thai

What could be better than a big bowl of vegetable packed Pad Thai. Pad Thai is a classic Thai rice noodle dish tossed with a sweet and sour sauce, scrambled egg, bean sprouts, scallions, and served with lime wedges. Usually, it is made with some kind of meat, such as pork or shrimp. Being a vegetarian, I omitted these two items, and instead used an array of fresh, gorgeous spring vegetables. Of course, tofu cubes could be used as well.

My husband and I love Thai food, and especially Pad Thai, but are to frequently disappointed when we are served rice noodles swimming in that hideous, fluorescent pink sweet and sour sauce that you find in cheap Chinese food places. That is not Pad Thai. Pad Thai sauce is sweet and sour in flavor, but is brown in color, and the final dish is usually quite dry. The sour component comes from tamarind, a tropical pod like fruit that is processed into a paste. Tamarind paste can be found at any Asian grocery store. There is a great Asian grocery on the corner of Monterey and Johnson streets in San Luis Obispo. Tamarind can be bought as a paste, or as a big block of dried fruit with the seeds. If you buy the big block, just cut off pieces, soak in a couple tablespoons of hot water, and then press through a small sieve to get all the pulp but no seeds. The seeds are large, you won’t miss them. The sweet component of the sauce typically comes from palm sugar, but I just used brown sugar in mine. Fish sauce is the salty element of the sauce, but again, being vegetarian I omitted this part and replaced it with an equal mixture of lime juice and soy sauce.

I packed this Pad Thai full of beautiful spring veggies I picked up on Saturday. The asparagus still looks and tastes great, but is getting thicker by the week. The snap peas are wonderful and I had to use them here. Red scallions are showing up at the market, as well as green garlic. I also used carrots to add some color. I used the best eggs you could ever buy; Farmer Jim’s eggs from Park Organics. His hens are laying generous amounts of eggs right now, so buy them while you can. They have the orangest yolks you will ever see (yolk color is a reflection of nutrient content and of what the hens are eating; greens, bugs, and all that good stuff hens are suppose to eat), and the cleanest egg flavor you will ever taste. These are the kind of eggs I feel are worth eating. Anyways, enough with my ranting, on to the recipe! Once everything is prepped, this dish goes quite quickly, so don't be intimidated by the list of ingredients.
Spring Vegetable Pad Thai
Serves 2-4 as an entree
-2 tablespoons tamarind pulp
-2 tablespoons brown sugar
-2 tablespoons lime juice
-2 tablespoons shoyu or low sodium soy sauce
Chili-Vinegar Sauce
-1/4 cup brown rice or rice wine vinegar
-1/2-1 teaspoons sambal olek or chili flakes
-1/2-1 teaspoon sugar, or other sweetener like agave nectar

Pad Thai
-10 ounces dry Thai rice noodles
-2 tablespoons peanut oil or other high heat oil
-1 bunch thin asparagus, trimmed and
cut into ½ inch pieces
-15 snap peas cut into ½ inch pieces
-2 thin carrots, cut in half and thinly sliced
-2 eggs, whisked
-5 red scallions, sliced
-1 cup fresh mung bean sprouts
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

Cook the rice noodles according to the package directions. Set aside.

Whisk sauce ingredients together and set aside. Whisk chili-vinegar sauce ingredients together and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil, or other chosen oil, in a large wok set over high heat. When a whisper of smoke shows, add in the asparagus and snap peas. Toss constantly with a large spatula for 1-2 minutes. Add in the carrots and toss 1 minute more. Push the vegetables up the side of the wok and pour the whisked egg into the bottom. Stir the egg constantly for 1 minute, or until scrambled. Toss the cooked vegetables back in with the egg. Add in the mung bean sprouts, scallions, ginger, and garlic. Toss constantly for 1 minute more. Remove the vegetables from the pan and set aside.

Immediately re-heat the wok with the remaining tablespoon of oil. When hot, add in the rice noodles and toss constantly, pressing the noodles to the side of the wok to slightly brown and sear. Toss for about 1-2 minutes, add the vegetables back in along with the sauce, and toss 1 minute more to combine. Serve hot with lime wedges and the chili-vinegar sauce.

Phad Thai on Foodista


Jen said...

This is one of our favorite dishes, but I have to admit I've never made it from scratch! This will be a great new challenge, yum!! said...

This is delicious!Hope you wont mind but I'd love to guide Foodista readers to your site, just add this little widget here to this post and it's all set to go, Thanks!

Correne Quigley-Faysal said...

Thanks Foodista!!

Sophie said...

This is a yummy dish, I like how you used traditional ingredients and added a ton of veggies.

christine said...

Hello Correne! I found this blog in foodista and followed it here. This is a lovely blog and awesome Spring Vegetable Pad Thai recipe. The photos looks good but I bet it taste even better. By the way you can place more foodista widget in your past and future blogs so that other foodista readers can follow and see your blog too. Just search for a related recipe or food and use its widget. I hope to read more from you. Cheers!