Pad Thai is one incredible dish! Especially when it's homemade! It's certainly one of my favourite dishes, and there's really no excuse to not be making it in my own kitchen! Not being too time-intensive nor prep-intensive, I'm excited to share my approach with you!
My advice? Prepare the dressing FIRST. I'd prepare a double batch; you can save half for the same or another recipe it would be fitting for in the near future, or freeze the second portion to save you prep time the next time around! Never hurts!
Then, prep all the ingredients for the vegetable medley. You want the noodles to be ready as the vegetables are finishing up, so prep and start cooking the vegetable medley (with the noodle water and the noodles handy and ready to go), so that the completion of these two components can coincide with one another as much as possible.
Given how much I love nut and seed butters, fresh ginger and lime, my recipe of inspiration for the dressing completely fit the bill! The delectable recipe can be found here.
The recipe includes the following ingredients and is intended to yield approx. 1/2 cup of dressing:
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup almond butter (or nut/seed butter of your choice)
2 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. tamari (I used "Coconut Aminos" - a tamari-like, soy-free alternative)
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
2.5 tbsp. pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp. freshly grated ginger (*or more, if you want extra "kick"!)
*A high-speed blender is required.
*Double batch pictured above.
I chose to use "Asian Family" brand "Rice Stick Noodles" that I picked up from my local health food store (250 g package). The great thing about rice noodles is that they cook within 3-4 minutes. Once they are cooked and drained, they are rinsed with cold water prior to adding them to the rest of the mix. These noodles are of a width comparable to linguini pasta.
The Vegetable Medley:
As I follow a plant-based diet, this mixture doesn't contain meat, but it certainly could, as per your desires! It could certainly be complimented with shrimp and/or scallops, too!
My Ingredients/Starting Point (final product serves about 6-8):
*When stir-frying ingredients I tend to loosely measure each ingredient, relying more on eye-balling the mixture's proportions based on the size of the cookware I'm using and the appearance of the ingredients in combination with one another. The following are guidelines; please feel free to tweak as needed!
3 tbsp. organic coconut oil
1 - 350 g package organic firm tofu, chopped into small cubes (*source of calcium & iron, in place of meat, as well as probiotics via its fermentation)
2 cups green onion, sliced
1 heaping cup carrots, sliced in coins
1 heaping cup celery, sliced
1 heaping cup broccoli, cut into florets
1 heaping cup cauliflower, cut into florets
1 bunch Cilantro, for garnish (see note below)
1 wedge of lime for each serving, for garnish (see note below)
Sea salt and pepper, to taste, as needed
*Other possible medley ingredients? Leek, different type of onion, bean spouts, snap peas, zucchini...the list goes on and on!
*Other possible garnishes? Cashew pieces, gomashio (sea salt and sesame seed condiment), sesame seeds, raw sunflower seeds...
In a large saucepan (or electric frying pan), melt 2 tbsp. coconut oil. Add tofu and saute until golden brown.
In a separate, small saucepan, melt 1 tbsp. coconut oil and saute green onion for a couple of minutes.
Add the green onion to tofu in large saucepan. Add carrots, celery, broccoli and cauliflower and saute until cooked (tender with the poke of a fork), unless you'd like them slightly crunchy! Add additional coconut oil, if needed, to lightly coat the medley.
Once the noodles are cooked, drained and rinsed with cold water, the noodles may be added to the vegetable medley, either in the large saucepan or in a separate container if needed, and the dressing mixed in with both components following.
*Garnish: Top with a handful of chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime! Add salt and pepper, to taste, as needed.