Crispy Tofu Pad Thai

Pad thai is a favorite of mine. I am sure at some point I’ve told the story about the old YMCA on the University of Illinois campus (right by the quad & Chi Omega house, for those familiar) and the Thai food they served there for lunch. Sometimes around noon I’ll get a text from my sister-in-law (a senior at U of I) that she just had YMCA pad thai. I get so jealous every time…it is so good.

Of course I’ve come up with nothing near as good, but my quest continues.

When I saw this recipe from Cooking Light, I gave it serious consideration before adding it to our menu. Ketchup in pad thai? Reeeally? How non-authentic can one recipe get?

But then I thought back to previous pad thai attempts and reader comments on rare or hard-to-fine ingredients. Admittedly, I drove miles to find tamarind paste for the last pad thai recipe I tried. So being the practical reader-pleaser that I am, I gave this recipe a whirl. Ends up, it was really good!

Fish sauce and Sriracha can be found in any grocer – just check out the Asian/ethnic foods aisle. Flat rice noodles are also easy to find. A Taste of Thai is a popular brand I’ve found a lot of luck with. All of the other ingredients are simple, cheap, and can be found anywhere. If you’ve never had pad thai or made pad thai, this would be a great beginner recipe.

I do plan to tweak the recipe some (now that I have tamarind paste, I think I should probably use it!) to make it more authentic, but we thoroughly enjoyed this recipe. I even lightened it up a bit more by baking the tofu and omitting all of the oil. I then declared this recipe for for 3 versus 4. Portion control is tough with something like pad thai…you’ll see!

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Crispy Tofu Pad Thai adapted from Cooking Light

1 (14 oz) package extra firm tofu, drained
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
6 ounces flat rice noodles, uncooked
1/3 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp Sriracha (hot chile sauce, such as Huy Fong)
2 large eggs + 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
2 green onions, chopped
3 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
3 Tbsp unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts, chopped
1 cup coleslaw mix or cabbage, shredded
3 lime wedges

Directions:

Preheat oven to 475 F.

Place tofu on several layers of paper towels; cover with additional paper towels. Press down firmly to remove water. Cut tofu into 1/2-inch cubes, and layer on a baking sheet or 9 x 13 pan, coated in cooking spray. Spray tofu cubes lightly with cooking spray and season with salt and pepper. Bake tofu for 30-35 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Prepare noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain well; set aside.

Combine ketchup, sugar, fish sauce, and Sriracha; set aside.

Spray a fry pan with non-stick spray. Add eggs and egg white; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from pan. Add noodles to fry pan; cook 1-2 minutes. Stir in ketchup mixture; cook 30 seconds. Add egg mixture and tofu; cook 1 minute, stirring often. Remove from heat; stir in onions and cilantro. Top each of three servings with 1 tablespoon peanuts. Serve with lime wedges. Yield: 3 servings (about 1 1/3 cup each)

Nutrition Information (per serving): 487 calories; 12.7 g. fat; 143 mg. cholesterol; 885 mg. sodium; 68.7 g. carbohydrate; 5.3 g. fiber; 22.7 g. protein

Result: We really enjoyed this! It certainly wasn’t “traditional” but I appreciated the simplicity and sweeter flavor. Like I mentioned before, if you’re a newcomer to pad thai, I think this would be the perfect first taste. Enjoy!

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Weigh-in last night went as expected — +0.4 lbs. 🙁 I deserve it. There was a few too many of these (there’s only 4 left and Mr. P can account for none of them…oops) and over the duration of the weekend I enjoyed a nice bottle of 2003 Banfi Chianti that may or may not have been accounted for calorically. Imagine that!

On a completely unrelated note, Mr. Prevention asked me to be his wife 4 years ago today. Aww 🙂 We had a long, 2 year and 2 month engagement while he finished his expat assignment in Italy, and our 2nd wedding anniversary is coming up in May. It’s hard to believe how quickly time passes by! Love you, babe.

Question: Have you had pad thai? And do you celebrate fun “anniversaries” in time, too?

Gettin’ closer to the weekend!!

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24 Comments

  1. March 30, 2011 / 6:51 am

    Nicole, your homemade pad thai looks great & so much healthier than anything we could ever get in a restaurant. xo

  2. March 30, 2011 / 6:57 am

    I LOVE Pad Thai (and Drunken Noodles) so I NEED to make this!

  3. March 30, 2011 / 7:03 am

    I just had pad thai last weekend… I can’t believe I only had thai maybe once or twice before this year! Now I get regular cravings for it…

  4. March 30, 2011 / 7:41 am

    This recipe looks OUTSTANDING!! I haven’t had pad thai in so long, and of course I’ve never made it myself… I’m impressed.

    Nick and I celebrate random anniversaries too (not that an engagement is random…) It.s an excuse to be extra romantic and good to one another! Congrats to both of you!!

  5. March 30, 2011 / 8:18 am

    Ooooh, I love this recipe!!! Yum!

    Happy engagement anniversary!!! Do you know that I don’t remember the date of when Ryan proposed? Yikes!! I have such a bad memory!

  6. March 30, 2011 / 9:20 am

    I love Pad Thai but have never made it myself. Your version looks and sounds good!

    Happy engagement anniversary!!!

  7. March 30, 2011 / 9:46 am

    I love pad thai also but it’s really hard to find a really good version. And once you have a a really good version…you can’t go back.

    Happy engagement anniversary love!

  8. March 30, 2011 / 10:34 am

    Pad Thai is quite literally my favorite food in the world. And these pictures made my mouth water. Now I need Pad Thai for lunch today. Thanks. 🙂

  9. March 30, 2011 / 10:45 am

    I am big fan of Thai foods..and this truly looks and sounds awesome..can you pass me that plate please..looks so yumm!

  10. March 30, 2011 / 10:47 am

    Oops, forgot to wish you..Happy engagement anniversay dear!

  11. March 30, 2011 / 11:02 am

    I need to renew my Cooking Light!! This looks delicious – and I like that you baked yoru tofu too – although I have been known to toss my tofu into corn starch and fry it in my wok with a tsp. of peanut oil – it gets crispy on the outside, and fluffy on the inside – yum!

    Congrats on your engagement anniversary! I tend to remember the important dates – um, the husband? not so much – he just remembers we got married “around” Christmas! 😀

    p.s. I buy my 00 flour on the Italian aisle of our ethnic grocery store, but it might be sold with the Bob’s Red Mill flours?

  12. March 30, 2011 / 11:30 am

    No one ever wants to see a gain in a weigh in. It’s disheartening. But I think you know that .4lbs is barely anything. I bet you sweat more that .4lbs during hockey.

  13. March 30, 2011 / 12:23 pm

    I love pad thai, but Im always afraid to make it because I know it wont be the same. This actually sounds good though, so maybe I’ll give it a shot? 🙂

    Congrats on the engagement anniversary – I would totally celebrate something like that.

  14. March 30, 2011 / 3:48 pm

    no, I have never had pad thai…I want to order it…but then I go back to this wonderful curry dish at the local Thai restaurant I frequent!

    Awe…congrats to you on your anniversaries. The years go by so fast. It will be 20 years for my hubby and I this June. 20 years? I can’t believe it.

  15. March 30, 2011 / 4:19 pm

    AWww Happy Anniversary of your engagement!! Isn’t it so much fun remembering back to that day? I’m such a romantic 🙂

    I have never had Pad Thai but my friend adores it! DEfinitely passing along this recipe to her !

  16. March 30, 2011 / 7:28 pm

    LOVE pad thai. I haven’t had it in ages because it’s so hard to find gluten-free and I’m just too lazy to make my own. But now I really want to.

  17. March 30, 2011 / 9:06 pm

    what a great idea- this looks so good!

  18. March 30, 2011 / 10:21 pm

    Pad thai is a favorite here too! I would love to come up with a version that didn’t require portion control 😉 Wishful thinking!

  19. March 30, 2011 / 10:34 pm

    Don’t worry about that .4lb (that’s like two glasses of water). Congratulations on your upcoming 2nd year anniversary and 4 year engagement anniversary 🙂

  20. March 31, 2011 / 12:45 am

    Happy engage-iversary!!! We celebrate random days too. Thanks for yet another stellar looking recipe. I want thai food now!!! Have a great day.

  21. March 31, 2011 / 8:52 am

    YUM! I love Pad Thai (and thai food in general).

    Your hubby did a expat assignment in Italy? Sign me up! 🙂

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