“Pad Thai: A Flavorful Weeknight Favorite”

“Pad Thai: A Flavorful Weeknight Favorite”

During the week, we understand how difficult it can be to prepare a meal.

Despite our enthusiasm for the kitchen, the editors at Simply Recipes understand the stress of nightly meal preparation just as well as the rest of you. We both feel similarly rushed towards the end of the day as we try to accommodate the needs of our families.

Thus, we have a little collection of tried-and-true recipes that we always utilize. Some may be prepared in under 30 minutes, while others need just basic cupboard items or random refrigerator leftovers. Everyone at our dinner parties is a major player.

Pad Thai with Vegetables

My husband and I are big fans of Thai cuisine, but there isn’t a good Thai restaurant or takeout joint in the area. Recipe Editor Laurel Randolph exclaims, “Making your own pad thai is surprisingly simple.” The crispy tofu in this dish provides a crunch and some protein to the already salty, sweet, and acidic sauce. “I use whatever vegetables I have on hand, and I usually cut the recipe in half so I have lunch leftovers the next day.”

Pad Thai without the meat

Vegetarian pad thai may be made quickly and easily at home. Dinner is ready when the noodles are chewy, the tofu is firm, and the vegetables are crisp and there are enough of crunchy toppings to go around.

Want to surprise your family or guests with a vegetarian supper that only requires one pan? Preparing and cooking this Pad thai requires less than an hour and just a handful of unusual ingredients. It’s excellent and filling for meat eaters and vegetarians both.

No matter how many times I’ve eaten pad thai, I’m always impressed by how reassuring the noodles are. Pad thai has a reputation for appealing to many different senses, because to its sweet, sour, and salty flavors and the crunch of its fresh toppings.

The rice noodles in this pad thai recipe only need to soak for a brief period, in contrast to other recipes for the dish. Instead, they are cooked for a longer period of time in the sauce, which infuses each and every mouthful with deliciousness.

Pad thai is a dish that has a variety of textures, from the crunchy peanuts and fresh cilantro and bean sprouts to the soft tofu and chewy noodles. It will be well worth your time and work when your loved ones and visitors gush over your efforts.

If you want the real deal flavor Pad Thai use tamarind.

The acidic and sweet fruit of the tamarind is encased in a thin, hollow shell that gives the fruit the consistency of dried apricots. From the Asian mainland to the South American islands, tamarind may be found in a wide variety of dishes.

When citrus isn’t accessible, it might be used to replace its strong, tart taste. Pad thai, a dish popular across Southeast Asia, relies heavily on this ingredient.

You may get tamarind as whole fruit, pulp, or concentrate. I find that using the concentrate for this dish helps me save time and effort. You may purchase tamarind concentrate in the canned fruit or condiments department of Asian markets, in the international foods section of regular grocery shops, or even online.

Although it is highly recommended that you do your best to follow the recipe, tamarind concentrate may be replaced with many other common ingredients. Mango chutney is what I recommend most highly.

Pad Thai’s Essential Ingredients

Tofu: A firm block of tofu will serve you well while preparing vegetarian pad thai, since this stir-fry requires frequent tossing and stirring. Extra-firm or firm tofu, often sold in square tubs made of sealed plastic, is my preferred kind. Tofu retains its crisp texture and flavor when seared before being combined with additional ingredients.

Pad thai uses flat rice noodles (also referred to as “rice sticks”), which are a hallmark of the dish. These noodles are readily available at most major supermarkets since Asian staples are becoming more widely available.

You can get a wide selection of rice noodles in any Asian store, and if you don’t have access to any nearby, you can always buy some online. Flat, thin rice noodles, about a quarter to a half an inch in width, packaged in a dry bag.

Pad thai would not be nearly as popular or well-known if not for its signature sauce. Both native Thais and pad thai experts agree on the dish’s ideal taste balance: salty, sweet, and slightly sour.

After being properly stir-fried with the noodles, the coating should be on the sticky, drier side and not too saucy or gravy-like. Without actual fish sauce, I find that white pepper helps lend a distinct taste to the sauce.

The Crunchies: Peanuts and bean sprouts are essential crunchy garnishes for authentic Pad Thai. I choose vegetables that are cheap, easy to get, and work well in this recipe. Mung bean sprouts may be found in the same section of the grocery store as lemongrass or among the other sprouts and microgreens.

Change It Up

If you want your pad thai to taste as similar to the real thing as possible, stick to the components called for in the recipe. Here are some potential replacements to consider:

If you don’t have access to vegan fish sauce, use soy sauce or liquid aminos. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you may substitute ordinary fish sauce.
If you don’t eat tofu or just don’t like it, you may substitute an extra cup of vegetables for it.

Substitute unsalted nuts like almonds, walnuts, or pecans for peanuts because of their buttery, toasted taste. You may use roasted, crispy garbanzo beans for the almonds if you want.

If you can’t locate mung bean sprouts, you may use thinly sliced raw cabbage instead. You can even be creative by using julienned bell peppers or snow peas. This will give your pad thai a splash of color and a comparable crunch and taste.

"Pad Thai: A Flavorful Weeknight Favorite"

“Pad Thai: A Flavorful Weeknight Favorite”
  • Pad Thai without the meat
  • Twenty minutes FOR PREPARATION
  • PREP TIME 15 minutes COOK TIME 30 minutes
    There are 6 servings in total.
    This pad thai recipe serves a lot of people, so you’ll need a huge pan.
  • Reduce the recipe in half or cook in two batches if your pan is too small.
    1 14-ounce box of narrow (between 1/4 and 1/2-inch) rice noodles
    For the condiment
  • 1/4 liter water
    One-half cup of tamarind extract
    Vegan Fish Sauce, 1/2 Cup
    14 cup of brown sugar, tightly
    Add extra kosher salt if desired, starting with 1 teaspoon.
    Red pepper flakes, optional (1/4 tsp)
    Pepper, white, 1/4 teaspoon
    When making stir-fry,
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons of vegetable or canola oil 1 (16-ounce) container of firm or extra-firm tofu, cubed
    Two big eggs
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    1 minced large shallot
    1 cup of shredded carrots from a medium-sized carrot.
    Shredded cabbage from 1/4 of a head
    Mung bean sprouts, one cup
    Three green onions, cleaned and cut into 2-inch slivers using a julienne peeler
    Peanuts, about a quarter cup, chopped
    Add salt to taste, if necessary.
    As garnishes

Chopped leaves from 1 bunch of fresh cilantro 2 limes 1/4 cup chopped peanuts 1 sliced green onion red pepper flakes to taste

Tools of a Unique Kind

Large, deep nonstick skillet (14–16 inches) or wok

Make the noodle sauce:
Put the rice noodles in a big bowl and fill it with lukewarm water until they’re submerged. If the noodles aren’t completely immersed, add extra water or use a plate to press down on them. Wait to start the stir-fry until the has soaked for at least 10 minutes.

Create the sauce by:

Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a large measuring pitcher or dish and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Try it out, and if it needs extra sugar or salt, add it. It has to have a salty, sour, and somewhat sweet flavor. Put away until you’re ready to make the noodles in a stir-fry.


The tamarind concentration you choose will determine the taste profile of your sauce. Sugar may be required if tamarind purée is used.

Drain the noodles and have the tofu ready:

Cube the tofu and spread it out in a single layer on a couple layers of paper towels on a solid platter. Place a couple more sheets of paper towels on top, and then a heavy plate, for support. Gently squeeze the tofu until a liquid emerges.

Drain the noodles in a strainer after letting them sit in water for at least 10 minutes. They ought to be pliable enough to be bent without breaking.

Crisp up the tofu:

Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a big wok, a 14 to 16-inch deep non-stick frying pan, or a large electric skillet and heat it over medium heat. When the pan is heated, throw in the tofu. Allow one side to brown for about a minute. To ensure that all sides of your tofu are cooked, use tongs or a spatula to turn it over.

Cook the egg and veggies in a stir-fry:

Crack the eggs into the skillet with the tofu and add another tablespoon of oil. Turn the heat down to medium and add the garlic and shallots to the eggs, then give everything a brief swirl. Scramble the eggs gently for about 3 minutes in a skillet.

Move the eggs out of the way and throw in the vegetables. After 2–3 minutes, raise the heat to medium-high and toss the veggies until they begin to soften.

Rice noodles, please:

Toss the veggies with the drained rice noodles. Stir the sauce and add it to the skillet.

Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and add the peanuts. Allow to cook for approximately 5 minutes, stirring the noodles regularly, until they soften.

Toss the rice noodles in a wok and cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring often, until they are al dente and the sauce has absorbed into a sticky coating. Shut off the furnace.


Try some of the pad thai before you serve it. If the sauce needs more flavor, you may add salt, sugar, or vegetarian fish sauce.

Hot pad thai should be served with garnishes such as chopped peanuts, scallions, lime wedges, fresh cilantro, and red pepper flakes.

Pad thai may be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days if stored properly. You may reheat it in the oven, microwave, or stove.



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