I’ve spent over five months traveling through Thailand in southeast Asia, and I often struggled to find high quality vegan food. This led to me writing my own guide to vegan Thailand, with tips and advice for anyone wanting to eat vegan while in the country. It also let to me creating a super easy vegan Pad Thai recipe, which I’d love to share with you today!
Pad Thai, for anyone new to this wonder (and you’re in for a treat), is a noodle-based dish served all over Thailand. It’s one of the most popular national dishes and you will find it in pretty much any restaurant, from the most high end Thai dining establishment to the street stalls and marketplaces.
Ordering Pad Thai from the street vendors is my favorite way to enjoy this noodle dish, not least because watching it being made is fascinating- the vendors make it look like an art! A Pad Thai sauce is thrown into a huge frying pan, followed by tofu, chicken or beef (today of course we are using tofu); then rice noodles, a handful of beansprouts and maybe some shallots or scallions.
Then it’s served up on a paper plate with chopsticks and you help yourself to a selection of lime wedges, chopped peanuts, scallions and sugar (yep! sugar!) as garnish.
It. Is. Wonderful.
The taste created by the ingredients in the Pad Thai sauce (and this is a feature of a lot of Thai cuisine), is sweet, sour and salty all at once.
This is a dish for the person whose tastebuds want to have a party!
Thai food is generally light and very fresh and healthy, so don’t bother omitting the sugar in the recipe for fear of it being unhealthy. You won’t get the result you’re after and in the overall scheme of things Thai food is great for your body and your soul- it’s probably my favorite food in the world!
When you’re making your Pad Thai, you simply fry up the tofu in oil flavoured oil, then add your noodles and Pad Thai sauce, followed by your beansprouts. It’s that easy.
You can have this dish with or without vegan fish sauce– it is awesome with or without, but I find that it does take it to the next level.
So here’s the vegan Pad Thai recipe!
- 10 oz dry rice noodles
- 8oz extra-firm tofu, pressed and cubed
- 1 heaped cup beansprouts
- 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
- 3 tbsp cornflour (optional)
- 2 tbsps sesame, peanut, coconut, olive or vegetable oil
- 1 cup chopped scallions (plus more for garnish, optional)
- 1/2 cup salted peanuts (plus more for garnish, optional)
- 1 cup chopped cilantro (for garnish, optional)
Pad Thai Sauce
- 2 tbsp tamarind paste
- 2 tbsp lime juice (plus wedges for serving)
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sriracha sauce (plus more for serving)
- 2 tbsp vegan fish sauce
- 1. Place the rice noodles in a large bowl of boiling water to soak for around 8 minutes (until soft but not mushy) while you prep the other ingredients.
- 2. Mix the Pad Thai sauce ingredients together in a separate bowl.
- 3. Cut the pressed tofu into 2cm cubes, season with salt and roll in cornflour
- 4. Heat the oil to medium-high heat in a large wok or similar pan and toss in the tofu. Cook for around 4 minutes, until the tofu has browned and is looking slightly crispy.
- 5. Drain the noodles and add them to the pan, followed by the Pad Thai sauce.
- 6. Mix the ingredients together before tossing in the beansprouts, scallions and peanuts. Stir fry for another minute or two so that all the ingredients and combined and heated right through.
- 7. Remove from heat and serve, garnished with more peanuts, chopped scallions, cilantro and a sprinkle of sugar!