Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Incidental Glutenarian: Bad Thai

This is one of my classics. It's easy, delicious, a crowd-pleaser, and you can improvise quite a bit until you find the version you like best. It can be vegan if you omit the Cock Sauce (which, come on, who wants to do that?). You can also add in chunks of meat if you want to up the carnivorous quotient. It's not like the pad thai you find at restaurants, but it's a good deal healthier and you can vary the ratio of noodles to vegetables.

Thick Thai rice noodles
sesame oil
olive oil
fresh ginger
firm tofu
bell pepper
broccoli (or whatever other veggies you have lying around)
green onions
an egg

chopped, toasted peanuts or crunchy peanut butter
3-4 tbsp ketchup/tomato sauce
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
tbsp Cock Sauce aka Fish Sauce
sambal oelek/chili garlic sauce/chili peppers
fresh lime to squeeze on top

Soak the noodles until they are al dente. It's important they be not too done, because they'll cook more with the rest of the ingredients and you don't want them to get too soggy. Watch this, because it only takes about 10 minutes for them to loosen up.

Chop onion and garlic, and grate or chop fresh ginger. Heat sesame oil with olive oil--about 1-2 tbsp--and throw in chopped veggies. Saute for a couple of minutes until onions get translucent.

Cut tofu into cubes. Salt it a bit and throw it in the wok/large pan. (I'm actually crap with woks, so I just use a large pan). Let these cook together for a bit so the tofu absorbs the flavour.

Stir together cider vinegar, peanut butter, tomato sauce/ketchup, sambal oelek, Cock sauce, and some of the cilantro. Pour some of this on the tofu mixture so it gets all tasty. Save most of it though.

Cut bell peppers and other veggies into strips or cubes, depending on your preference, and add them in. Add more of the sauce mixture. When veggies are cooked almost to your liking, add the noodles and the rest of the sauce. Mix them together quickly so the noodles don't get soggy.

If you are using an egg, scramble it with a fork. Push aside the noodles and veggies, and scramble cook it in the pan. When it's solid, mix it in with the rest of the food. If you are making a lot, 2 eggs might work better.

Put in on plates and, on the table, have cute little dishes with chopped fresh cilantro, fresh limes, and toasted chopped peanuts. Voila! Bad Thai that tastes great.

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