You might be tempted to just order thai food from your local joint, but you can make a fresh and fragrant version of pad thai at home with the help of a little unexpected ingredient. Dates are a staple in our pantry; we use them for lots of raw desserts and in our morning green smoothies, but when blended with savoury flavours like miso, sesame, and lime, it tastes very similar to tamarind paste, which is the traditional base of pad thai sauce... not ketchup, as some restaurants would have you believe! Try this vegan pad thai and you’ll be convinced that healthy home style cooking is far better than soggy takeout.
** serves 4
pad thai sauce ingredients:
10 medjool dates, pitted
1 cup water
2 tbsp vegan oyster sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp siracha
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp miso paste
1 tbsp sesame oil
pad thai ingredients:
200 G brown rice fettucine noodles (or flat rice noodles)
350 G medium firm tofu
2 tbsp coconut oil (for frying)
½ cup thinly sliced onion
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 cup finely chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups broccoli florets
3 cups bean sprouts
2 tbsp finely chopped green onion
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
2 tbsp finely chopped roasted cashews (or peanuts)
Let dates soak in water for 15 minutes.
Drain the water from the tofu and let it sit in paper towel for 10-15 minutes to get rid of excess moisture. Then cut into cubes.
Drain and rinse dates from soaking water. Then place them in a high-powered blender with the rest of the sauce ingredients. Blend until smooth and set aside.
Bring a pot of water to a boil for the noodles. Once the water is at a rolling boil, toss in the noodles and stir occasionally while they cook for approx. 10 minutes. Cook to al dente, drain, and set aside in a colander.
Meanwhile heat a large pan to medium heat and add 1 tbsp of coconut oil and cubes of tofu. After 4-5 minutes flip the cubes to another side to crisp. Flip the cubes every 2 minutes to get the rest of the sides golden brown.
When the tofu cubes are golden brown all around add ¼ cup of the sauce to the pan and coat the pieces evenly cooking over the heat for another minute. Remove tofu from the pan and set aside. You’ll toss tofu into the vegetables and noodles near end of cooking time.
In the same pan over medium heat add another 1 tbsp of oil and the onions, carrots, and celery. Cook for 2-3 minutes stirring frequently. Then add in minced garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Then add in broccoli and sprouts (you might want to leave a small amount of raw sprouts aside as a garnish on top of the finished pad thai), and cook for another 4-5 minutes stirring frequently. Then add in half the amount of sauce remaining, toss to coat all the veggies and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Add in the cooked noodles and remaining sauce, turn the heat down to low, toss to coat everything in sauce, and cook for another 3-4 minutes. At this stage you can adjust the spice level if you desire by adding another 1-2 tsp of sriracha. Serve immediately and top with green onion, cilantro, raw sprouts, and chopped cashews (or peanuts)