Tofu Pad Thai

by Maris Callahan on April 2, 2011

Ask anyone whose had Thai food what their first foray with the cuisine was like and they’ll probably mention Pad Thai.  A favorite dish among many Thai restaurant-goers, many of us have no idea as to how to recreate it at home. People are often intimidated to cook ethnic food but usually, you’re working with the same basic ingredients, but new spices and flavors.

Lately I’ve been experimenting with Asian-inspired dishes like Kung Pao Shrimp and Baked Tofu, so I had most of the ingredients on hand to create my typical take-out favorite. This dish is a lot slimmer than the Pad Thai you get from you favorite take-out joint, as I have a sneaking suspicion that most restaurants use more than three tablespoons of oil.

Cooking with tofu is easier and decidedly more appealing to me than cooking with poultry or beef. Don’t get me wrong – I’m as much of a carnivore as anyone else – but the fact that you have to sanitize your cooking surface after touching raw poultry and can get a number of deadly diseases from meat that hasn’t been cooked properly will never cease to give me the creeps.

Tofu Pad Thai
Serves 4

What You Need:

Sauce:
3 tablespoons fish sauce
Juice from one large lime
2 tablespoons sugar

Noodles:
8 ounces rice noodles (Pad Thai style)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil or canola oil (divided)
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 shallots, thinly sliced
16 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into cubes
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (as garnish, optional)
1 lime, cut into wedges (as garnish, optional)

How To:

Heat two tablespoons of oil in wok or pan over high heat. Add garlic, shallots and tofu to pan and cook until tofu is heated through and begins to caramelize around the edges. Set aside on a plate or in a large bowl.

Add remaining tablespoon of oil to pan then pour in eggs; stir until cooked, about 1 minute. Make sure to break up the egg into small pieces. Reduce heat to low, add sauce and noodles to pan and mix well.

Add cooked tofu and bean sprouts to noodles and toss. Garnish with cilantro, peanuts, scallions, and lime wedges and serve hot.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Daryl April 2, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Wow! I can’t keep up with you! This looks like perfection to me. I like tofu alot and find it hard to get it in take out the way I like it

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Autumn @ Good Eats Girl April 2, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Oh, goodness! This looks awesome! I love Pad Thai!

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Kate@Diethood.com April 2, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Pad Thai was my first Thai dish and I loved it! This looks really really good… I am not crazy about Tofu but I can see how it can work really well with the combo of flavors that you have here. Beautiful dish!

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A Plum By Any Other Name April 3, 2011 at 12:52 am

All I need is the bean sprouts and cilantro and this dish is made. Couldn’t agree more about the tofu. It’s my go-to protein during busy weeks. It’s already cooked and can be added to pretty much anything with some fish sauce, lime juice and peanuts! ;)

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Betty @ scrambled hen fruit April 3, 2011 at 3:00 am

I do love Thai food, and this looks good with the tofu. I know what you mean about the raw chicken- it’s my least favorite thing to touch. (I even wear gloves sometimes!)

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Erica April 3, 2011 at 3:24 am

This sounds awesome! I’ve actually never had pad thai, but Josh LOVES it. And I love that this is a lighter version- book marking!

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Laura April 3, 2011 at 12:15 pm

I love a good Pad Thai! And I’ve tried to recreate it in my own kitchen with varying levels of success. Most of the recipes I used has a peanut sauce but I’m intrigued by your simple fish, sugar, and lime sauce. I’m got pretty much all the ingredients on hand so I’ll have to give it a try soon. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

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Joanne April 3, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Pad thai was definitely the first thai dish that I ever ate…and since I’ve started getting more into food I’ve realized just how few thai places really do it justice. When it’s good, it’s GOOD…but most of time…it’s a greasy pool of oil. Yours looks fantastic though! And I am all about the tofu. Good stuff.

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Jessica April 3, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Amazing girl. I love the pad thai- Its funny- I just bought some noodles to do this dish this week. I will definitely be taking some pointers from your recipe. I love your use of tofu. My son who is 2 yrs old actually loves tofu but hates meats. So I am asked about this one! Xo
Jessica

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Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella April 3, 2011 at 1:24 pm

This looks really tasty Maris! A friend loves pad thai but is trying to be more healthy-I’ll point her in the direction of this recipe! :)

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Katerina April 3, 2011 at 4:43 pm

The most authentic versions I have been able to make at home always include ketchup for some reason.

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Thewonderingchef April 3, 2011 at 5:25 pm

The looks of this pad thai made me hungry..again:)

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Delishhh April 3, 2011 at 6:05 pm

YUM YUM! Huge fan of Thai food and will eat Pad Thai any day. Looks really good.

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Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) April 3, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Pad Thai is a perennial favorite in our house, and tofu or shrimp the favorite mix-ins. Nice to have a lighter-than-restaurant-take-out alternative!

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Heidi Renée April 3, 2011 at 7:47 pm

I’ve been making pad thai at home for a while now. So nice not to have to go out for it.

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Roz April 3, 2011 at 10:29 pm

LOVE pad thai, and will definitely try this recipe. Thanks for sharing!!

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Liz - Meal Makeover Mom April 3, 2011 at 11:24 pm

Hi Maris:
How are you? I was thinking about you today because I got an email from a dietitian who told me she wants to start a blog. She’s in her 20′s and wants to create content for a younger audience (younger than me)! Her name is Amanda, and I suggested she check out your blog.
In the meantime, my hubby has become a vegetarian (long story), so your noodles look like something he’d love!
Hope life’s treating you well. Let me know if you’ll be at BlogHer Food… I will

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betty April 3, 2011 at 11:58 pm

oh i LOVE pad thai! thanks for sharing this with us :D

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Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen April 4, 2011 at 11:34 am

Gosh, I haven’t had Pad Thai in ages! It used to be one of my favorite take-out meals. Thanks for lightening up the recipe too.

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Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking April 4, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Maris, this looks so delicious! I have been so curious to go outside my comfort zone and try authentic Asian cooking, and this just might give me the push in the right direction. Thanks for sharing this healthy, scrumptious looking and inspiring dish! My thighs could definitely use something like this right now! :)

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fooddreamer April 4, 2011 at 4:10 pm

I adore pad thai, and lately have been trying to work more tofu into my family’s diet. Great recipe!

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Blond Duck April 4, 2011 at 5:58 pm

This is one of my husband’s favorites! Hooray!

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Gen April 4, 2011 at 7:41 pm

I’ve actually never had Pad Thai…..it looks really, good though!!! :D Thanks for posting the recipe!

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Shannon April 4, 2011 at 8:42 pm

i really need to try this at home, looks fantastic!!

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Christina @ Sweet Pea's Kitchen April 6, 2011 at 3:49 am

Pad thai is one of my absolute favorite meals..I have never tried it with tofu though…looks like I need too! ;)

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Jenifesto April 7, 2011 at 11:28 am

We’ve been cooking your roasted veggie lasagna and chipotle black bean pizzas regularly for a while now – this is so exciting to have a new vegetarian recipe from you, and pad Thai to boot! Can’t wait to try this soon!

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Simply Life April 10, 2011 at 10:44 am

I’ve been wanting to attempt pad thai – this looks delicious!

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Amy April 14, 2011 at 2:35 am

This sounds delicious! I have never made tofu pad thai, always with seafood, but I think I would prefer the tofu! Must try this recipe :) !

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JulieD April 17, 2011 at 10:37 pm

I grew up on tofu and love it, thanks for this recipe! I’m going to bookmark this and try it…I have tried pad thai before and have had bad results!

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