Thursday, August 30, 2007

Vegetarian Pad Thai with Paneer or Tofu

Thai food is one of my favourite cuisines after Indian and Italian. I think most Indians connect to it as this asian cuisine is very similar to our cooking. The spices are different, but the preparation style and taste is pretty close. Veg Pad Thai and Fried Rice with Veg Panang Curry are my personal favourites! Though daunting at first look, Pad Thai is actually relatively easy to prepare. So here's how my Pad Thai recipe looks like! (adapted from thai kitchen) Hope you enjoy it too.

1 packet of thick Thai rice noodles
5-6 cloves garlic - finely chopped
1/2 cup shallots - finely chopped
1/4 cup chives or green onions - finely chopped
1/2 cup carrots - shredded
2 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tbsp lime juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp tamarind water(tamarind dissolved in warm water)
1 medium egg - beaten
1/2 cup roasted peanuts - coarsely crushed
1 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup firm tofu or paneer - diced into small pieces
3 tbsp soy sauce
salt- to taste

Soak the noodles in cold water for at least 45-50 mins. Add a pinch of salt while soaking.

Now take the tamarind water and strain it through a sieve so there is no residue. Add this to the sugar and lime juice and mix well. Separate the juice into 2 parts and keep aside. Shallow fry the tofu or paneer cubes and drain excess oil on paper.

Heat a little cooking oil in a wok and add the garlic, shallots, and the carrots and briefly stir fry until they soften a little. Add 1 tbsp soy sauce to this. Next add the tofu or paneer pieces (I prefer Paneer!), and when they are cooked, mix in the egg and let it cook. Do NOT beat or break the egg before its cooked. Meanwhile, remove the noodles from water, drain all excess water and add them to the wok and stir fry until the noodles become soft (about 5 minutes). Add half of the tamarind juice. Keep stirring and folding the noodles so they don't stick to each other. Mix the egg well with the noodles and the veggies. Now add the salt according to your taste. Add half of the crushed peanuts and bean sprouts. Splash some water if needed, then remove from flame immediately.

Now take the remaining tamarind juice and the soy sauce, and use this to marinade the bean sprouts. Set the pad thai noodles on a serving tray. Sprinkle the sprouts and some coarse peanut powder on the cooked Pad Thai. Chop some cucumber or carrots and serve them on the side with a wedge of fresh lime or orange!

Tip: You can easily convert this vegetarian pad thai recipe to suit your interest by adding cooked shrimp or chicken after stir-frying the veggies and adding fish sauce to the list of ingredients.

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