For my older sister's birthday a few years ago, we went to Thai 9 in the Oregon District of Dayton, Ohio. Being a somewhat adventurous orderer at restaurants, I am certain I picked some sort of moderately spicy dish like green curry. Tim likely ordered a stir fry that was so high on the 1 to 10 heat level that he probably blistered his tongue and wandered around in a tasteless world for a few days. I definitely remember (which is rare since I already told you about my memory issues) my sister, Amy, who prefers tried and true meals, ordered pad thai. Being the food snob that I am, I likely balked at her ordering such a simple noodle dish. How unimaginative! How predictable!
Amy, I would like to apologize for not trusting your tried and true food choices. It was not until this week, when I saw a recipe for Vegetable Pad Thai in Everday Food Magazine that I decided to give it a shot, and I am certainly glad I did. I even successfully convinced Tim (a man with hunterer and gatherer instincts) to have a meal with no meat (gasp)!
Thankfully when I went to the West Chester Farmer's Market there were vendors who have had much more luck in their gardens than we are having. I did make a little "wish list" before I left for a few things that I knew I needed to pick up, one being green onions.
Lucky for me green onions were in abundance. From one vendor I got a medium zucchini and this huge bunch of green onions for only $1.75. I felt like it was a small victory, and just another reason to shop there again. I'm a bit disappointed that we will be out of town this weekend and I won't get to go back and visit for a few weeks.
The recipe I was following was easy enough. As with all Asian cooking, prepping everything you need before you even fire up the stove top is key to a successful dish. You don't want to overcook because you will lose the texture of the ingredients. I found it very efficient to drop the rice noodles in hot water to soak while I prepped everything else. The only change I made to the recipe was to add a little bit of peanut butter to the sauce so that the dish would go beyond a basic soy sauce mixture into the arena of distinct peanut-ty flavor.
The resulting pad thai was salty and peanut-ty with complex textures from the soft, chewy rice noodles and crisp green onions. Next time I make this (and there will be a next time, perhaps even this week if my sister and her hubby come over for dinner on Tuesday) I might toss in some shrimp or tofu, but it's definitely not necessary. This simple pad thai stands tall on it's own.
Vegetable Pad Thai
adapted from Everyday Food Magazine
8 ounces dried, wide, and flat rice noodles
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp creamy peanut butter
2 tsp vegetable oil
3 green onions, thinly sliced (about 1/4 cup), separate white parts from green
1 garlic clove, minced
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
Soak noodles according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
In a small bowl mix together brown sugar, lime juice, soy sauce, and peanut butter. In a large non-stick skiller, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add green onion whites and garlic, cook while stirring constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add eggs and cook, scraping skillet until eggs are almost set, about 30 seconds. Remove egg mixture (including green onions and garlic) to a plate. Add noodles and soy sauce and cook while stirring constantly until noodles are soft and coated with sauce, about 1 minute. Add egg mixture and mix in with noodles, breaking the egg up gently.
Serve topped with cilantro, remaining green onions, and peanuts.