Pad Thai is supposedly the national dish of Thailand, but those of us who grew up in Northern Virginia know: this is the dish of our people, too. Nova has an overflow of excellent Thai restaurants, and every Friday night without fail, government bureaucrats return home to their Lake Barcroft mini-mansions from a week of thanklessly pushing papers and sitting in traffic in our nation's capitol, to turn to their spouse and sigh: "Lets just order Thai."
This prevalence among the cosmopolitan upper-class has leaked into every nook of NOVA society, to the extent that my Art Teacher in high school would let us leave mid-class to go get takeout, as long as we brought back a shrimp Pad Thai for her, too. As kids, we went our for Thai before Prom and Homecoming, we went after victorious swim meets, we went our for Thai when we didn't have dates on Friday night. And now, when I come home to the US the first thing we do when we get off the plane is swing by Rabieng's to pick up a takeout order.
My point is: I love this dish. So when my
So I wondered... can you make it with rice? It turns out, you can! Kind of! So this is my very tweaked take on the classic dish- minus noodles, fish sauce, and shrimp. Its vegan, and more of a Thai-style fried rice I guess, but its still absolutely delish.
Pad Thai Style Fried Rice
1 c. rice
3 Tbsp. Tamarind Paste
2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
3 Tbsp. Agave Nectar
2 Tbsp. Rice Vinegar
Chile Sauce or Chile Flakes, to taste
3 cloves garlic, diced
The white part of one leek, sliced (OR half a head napa cabbage, sliced into thin strips)
4-5 green onions, sliced
2 handfuls Mung Bean Sprouts
1 package firm Tofu, pressed and sliced into small rectangles
Any other veggies you want to use up (e.g., sliced mushrooms, strips of peppers, broccoli, ect.)
2 Limes, sliced
Plenty of roasted peanuts for garnish
1.) Cook the rice. When its finished, remove to a bowl and drizzle with peanut oil, tossing a bit to coat. Set aside. (You want it as cool as possible so this would be great to do in advance~ or use leftover rice.)
2.) Next, in a small saucepan, combine tamarind paste, soy sauce, agave nectar, and vinegar. Bring to a simmer then lower heat and add chili flakes or sauce to taste. (Note: I used really thick tamarind that doesn't break down entirely, requiring me to add the mixture over a sieve. There are various types of tamarind paste out there so this may or may not be necessary.)
3.) In a wok heat the peanut oil to medium (but not to smoking.) Add tofu and fry for about five minutes or until lightly browned. Add in garlic, leeks and onions and cook a bit longer. Then add the rest of your veggies and sprouts and cook a little longer. Finally, add in your cooled rice and the tamarind mixture, tossing to coat. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until rice is fried and sauce is evenly distributed.
4.) Serve with limes for squeezing and topped with roasted peanuts.
Song of the Day: Anita Ward- Ring My Bell