I had such a disappointing vegetarian Pad Thai last week in London – far too many noodles and not a single veg, bean shoot or coriander leaf to be seen. I was hoping for the one we used to eat in Fernie (dreams of “The Curry Bowl” restaurant).
That didn’t happen….
I had a packet of flat rice noodles in the pantry and vegetables are always in the fridge so I decided to make my own version. A jar of unopened tamarind paste has been shouting at me for so long it was about time I let it out of the cupboard. I added prawns at the last minute as they were requested, however this is a vegetarian recipe so ignore the prawns in the photo, lol, but do feel free to add them if you want.
At this point I have to tell you that if you’re hoping for a very gloopy noodle dish, this isn’t it.
This is vegetables with noodles not noodles with noodles. However it is deliciously scrummy and it still has some of that comforting stickiness (released from the rice noodles) that is an important part of the Pad Thai experience!
Ingredients (to serve two)
200g flat rice noodles, cooked (ie. soaked in boiling water; see below)
4 cm fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
4 garlic, ditto
green part of a large leek, sliced
1 large carrot, diced or sliced
handful of spinach/kale/white pointed cabbage – or any greens, shredded
10 Brussels halved, if you like them
100g butternut squash, cubed
150 g broccoli, broken into florets
2 bok choi, roughly shredded
approx 1 cup water
2-3 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp tamarind paste
2-3 tbsp tamari sauce (or more however be careful not to make it too salty!)
handful of chopped coriander
2 halves lime to decorate
First prepare the noodles:
The directions on the packet (“Thai taste”) instructed me to place noodles in a flat dish, pour over enough boiling water to cover and soak for 10 mins.
That didn’t work for me as the noodles were still quite ‘raw’. I added extra boiling water half way through (in case that was why they didn’t go limp) and needed a good 15 minutes. However see how your noodles comply. Luckily, it’s easy to check how they’re softening whilst starting all the vegetables. Remove from the water as soon as you’re happy with the desired consistency.
Heat the coconut oil; gently fry the leek until soft. Add ginger and garlic then the butternut cubes, carrots and brussel sprouts, coating them in the oil mix before adding a little water, the tamari and tamarind paste. Basically you are steaming rather than frying the vegetables – healthier – so you can just start with just a little water then add more as you add the rest of the vegetables. (I left the shredded spinach and bok choy until I was almost ready to serve so they retained some crunch).
Once the vegetables are all in the pan, add the cooked noodles and the sesame oil and stir in well. At this point you could also add cooked prawns, as in this photo. If you were adding tofu cubes or chicken I’d recommend you marinate first in a mini mixture of ginger, garlic, tamarimand oil for a couple of hours before cooking.
Serve with chopped coriander and a quarter or half lime. The fresh zing of the lime really adds to the flavour!