When I lived in New York my friend Emily and I would have date night and cook vegetarian dinners. Prior to cooking with Emily, I really had no idea what a vegetarian dinner looked like. I thought maybe, salad? But that can’t be dinner all the time. Anyway we got to be pretty good that one day I got MORE ambitious and while browsing in a bookstore I bought a vegan cookbook. I’ll be honest, veganism seems foreign and impossible to me. I love, love, love cheese.
But this recipe is awesome.
Seriously. It’s vegan and it’s awesome. And not only awesome, it’s quick and easy to make. It’s the kind of thing you can make when all you have is condiments and a few vegetables. This recipe comes from The Happy Herbivore by Lindsay Nixon. She calls is “Cheater Pad Thai” because it’s so easy to make. As a warning, this recipe although delicious, doesn’t really taste like Pad Thai in a restaurant. It has Pad Thai flavors in it, but there’s something a little different about it. But, if you want a taste of Thai at home, this is a good recipe.
Also this is a recipe you can fool around with depending on what you have at home. You can alter the proportions of the sauce to your taste, and you can use whatever vegetables you think will taste best. I usually use carrots, onions, garlic, and bell pepper. I’ve also done peas, leafy greens, bean sprouts, and squash. If you need your meat, you can cook up pieces of chicken, shrimp, or beef and throw it in with the rest of the ingredients.
When it comes to stir fry, I like to use a wok. Now, prior to having a wok I thought it was something scary to use. That might be because I saw an episode of Top Chef once where the contestants had to cook Asian street food using a wok and some of them freaked out because they had never used one before. So I thought, if those professionals are scared of a wok, how can I use a wok? Ryan and I got it as a wedding present and we were really excited. I unpacked it and then did a whole lot of research. I watched YouTube videos and read a bunch of articles online.
Now I may be using the wok wrong, but I totally love it. What I learned (I think) was you’re supposed to use a wok at very high heat, which then sears the vegetables, and then because of the shape of the pan it keeps the vegetables from getting too soft – so they are cooked but crunchy. Also you’re supposed to use your “aromatics” first to give the pan flavor. That means you saute things like onions, garlic, and ginger first – and then you add the vegetables based on crunchiness (so carrots before bell peppers). Also you’re supposed to stir constantly and move the vegetables around and up the sides of the pan. This helps cook them, make them crunchy, and give them good flavor. If you have a wok, try it out! A regular pan works well too. I like the wok because it’s spacious and I can swirl the veggies around without flinging anything out of the pan.
Ingredients for 2-3 servings:
1/3 to 1/2 box of rice noodles.
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp sweet red chili sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp hot sauce
1 cup (or as much or as little as you want) of chopped vegetables
1. Cook rice noodles according to package instructions.
2. Stir fry vegetables until they are softened but still a bit crunchy.
3. Mix soy sauce, peanut butter, chili sauce, garlic powder, ginger, and hot sauce. Alter ingredients to taste. I like a little more peanut butter because it makes the sauce thicker
4. Once the vegetables are almost done, add the sauce to the wok. Mix the sauce and veggies together.
5. Add the noodles to the sauce and veggies. Mix until you’re satisfied. Serve and eat!