May 18, 2010

Vegetarian Pad Thai

Pad Thai (spicy fried Thai noodles), serves 4

This is easily my favorite Thai dish, and I'm confident you'll enjoy my take on it. In particular, I highly recommend you find Maesri Pad Thai sauce rather than substituting another brand.

The quality and moisture content of Pad Thai sauce varies wildly, and it can make or break a dish. Also, Maesri does not use fish sauce, making the recipe vegetarian (and easily modifiable to vegan).

Note that I use non-stick spray in place of cooking oil in several steps, to save calories. You can use vegetable oil in those steps if you prefer.

  • 1 package firm tofu
  • 3/4 lb. dried rice noodles (I use Erawan Brand, Size M, Oriental Style Noodle)
  • 3 eggs (Vegan? Omit the eggs!)
  • 1.5 bottles (about 13 oz.) Maesri pad thai sauce
  • Non-stick spray for frying
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1 carrot
  • 3 cups bean sprouts
  • 4 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp prik pepper flakes
  • 3 cups fresh greens beans
  • 1 can baby corn
  • 1 package spiced tofu
  • 1/2 cup raw peanuts (or roasted peanuts to save time)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil

  1. If using raw peanuts, roast in a wok on high heat. Toss them continuously until lightly toasted, 5-10 mins.
  2. Let peanuts cool, put in a plastic sandwhich bag and smash into small pieces with a rolling pin, mallet, etc.
  3. Clean carrot, bean sprouts, and scallions under cold water.
  4. Peel then shred carrot into thin strips (to make about 1 cup).
  5. Cut scallions into 2" segments. Discard tip and root parts.
  6. Chop firm tofu into 1" cubes.
  7. Drain can of baby corn.
  8. Chop spiced tofu into small 1/4" x 1/2" pieces.

  1. Bring two pots of water to boil.
  2. Turn off heat for one pot of boiling water (this will be for noodles shortly).
  3. In the other pot, add 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp vegetable oil, and add the green beans for 10-15 seconds, then remove and drain. The salt and oil help preserve the vibrant green color.
  4. Add rice noodles to first pot of hot water and let them soak off to the side. As soon as they are done soaking (see tip below), drain.

  5. TIP: Never boil rice noodles; they will become soft and brittle, and turn to mush! Instead, put them in hot water and after 4-5 minutes check their consistency every 30 seconds. They are ready for frying when you tug at both ends of a noodle and it stretches firmly before snapping. If it doesn't snap at all it's too early, and if it easily pulls apart it's too late.

  6. Put a wok on high heat and spray with non-stick spray. Fry tofu cubes until golden brown.
  7. Push tofu to one side of wok, and add eggs to other side. Scramble eggs with a fork.
  8. Fry the eggs until cooked through.
  9. Spray wok with more non-stick spray, then toss in noodles. If you don't have a giant wok, you will need to fry the noodles in 2 batches (if too crowded, they won't cook properly).
  10. Vigorously toss and stir noodles to prevent them from sticking to wok. Fry noodles for 1-2 minutes.
  11. Add in baby corn, scallions, and spiced tofu. Continue tossing, and fry for 1 minute.
  12. Pour in Maesri Pad Thai sauce, and sprinkle prik pepper flakes on top. The pepper flakes are ultra hot, so use sparingly!
  13. Vigorously toss noodles to coat them with sauce. Fry for 30 seconds.
  14. Add in bean sprouts. Fry for 30 seconds.
  15. Turn off heat, and plate noodles.
  16. Garnish with crushed peanuts, lime juice, and shredded carrot (on side, to be mixed in by lucky guest).

May 17, 2010

Thai Vegetable Red Curry

Easy and tasty vegetarian/vegan Thai curry option. You can get most of these ingredients in a Chinese supermarket but Thai curry paste are mostly available in Chinese supermarket that carries Southeast Asian products. Some Thai curry paste has fish sauce or shrimp paste so make sure you read the ingredient list to make sure that it is vegetarian/vegan. I added kaffir lime leaves to this curry for extra flavor but you don't really need to use it if you don't have it. The red curry paste should already has it as one of the ingredient. The amount of vegetables you use doesn't really matter, you can change it according to your preference.

1/2 cup Thai red curry paste
1 cup water
2 cans coconut milk (400mL each)
4 potatoes, cut into small cubes
1 carrot, cut into small cubes
1 can straw mushrooms, drained
1 can baby corn, drained
1 cup (fresh) green beans, cut into about 3"
3 kaffir lime leaves
1 tablespoon soy sauce (or fish sauce)

In a pot, add all ingredients except straw mushrooms, baby corn and green beans. Cook until mixture starts to boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer until carrots and potatoes are tender. Add in straw mushrooms, baby corn and green beans. Cook for another 5 minutes. The curry is now ready to be served with white rice.

May 16, 2010

Soy Milk and Longan Pudding

A traditional Malaysian classic made vegan. We're hosting a dinner tonight with one vegetarian and one vegan. I figured I'll make a vegan dessert that's easy and you can say that it's semi homemade. This recipe calls for agar-agar powder but you can absolutely substitute it with agar-agar strands or even unflavored gelatin. Some vegetarians draw the line on gelatin while others don't so using agar-agar is a good substitute for vegetarian and vegan guests. This recipe is for about 6-8 people so you can just halves the recipe. I reckon this is a good potluck dish to make as well.

2 cans of longan in syrup (drain fruit and keep the syrup)
8 cups soy milk, sweetened
1/ 2 cup sugar
8 cups *liquid (You basically want 8 cups of liquid. Add in all the longan syrup you get from the cans. Then, add enough water so that you now have 8 cups of liquid.)
4 pandan leaves, tie in a knot
1 packet agar-agar powder (0.88 oz. or 25g)

In a pot, boil 8 cups of liquid with sugar and pandan leaves. Once mixture starts to boil, keep it on low heat and boil for another 10 minutes. Turn the heat to medium. Add in agar-agar powder. Mix and cook until all the powder dissolves. Stir occasionally so that the mixture doesn't boil over. Turn off the heat. Add in soy milk and longan. Stir mixture. Pour mixture equally into two 9"x13" rectangular casserole dish. Let mixture cool before you put it in the fridge. Chill overnight. Scoop chilled pudding and serve.