Classic stir-fried rice noodles – reminiscent of the street-side Pad Thai counters in Bangkok – dunked in creamy, sweet and spicy peanut sauce. Deceptively easy and quick to prepare, (as long as you get the cook on the noodles right :P), top marks in the nutrition department if you take care to balance the macros and micros in the dish.
I love noodles. Pad Thai noodles are my new-found obsession, as contrary to their wheat-noodle counterparts they’re much easier and quicker to prepare, and in contrast to their street-side Indo Chinese Chowmein variant, Pad Thai can be made using healthier ingredients.
I can hear the objections in your mind already – “But they’re made of rice, and you know, rice is carbs! How could you eat that!” I have oft tried to fight this stigma – rice (or any other starchy food) is not the enemy; it’s more how you pair it and the quantity you consume. It’s okay to consume simple carbs if you pair them with foods rich in fiber, add protein to the mix along with healthy fats – it’s all in the balance, people! Having said that, rice noodles might not be the right pick for you if you’re in midst of a specific diet regime like Paleo or Keto – all the carbs in this scenario (scant as they may be) should be complex for that duration.
Adding greens to your stir-fry dish, along with a good protein source is a great idea to keep it balanced and nutritious. I added water amaranth greens (known as ponnaganti locally; rich in folic acid and vitamins B, K and C), bell peppers, spring onions and garlic, along with fried tofu. You could add your unique spin to it – add slices of boiled egg/ shrimp/ or even a different sauce to keep it interesting!
When it comes to Pad Thai, it’s essential to get the cook on the rice noodles right. Do pay attention to the size and shape of the rice noodles – these thin, flat noodles are typically available in size variants – 1mm, 3mm, 5mm, 10mm. Leela of SheSimmers.com recommends that 3-5mm noodles are ideal for achieving that chewy-yet-soft texture we all love so much at the authentic Thai restaurants. Do follow the instructions on the pack to get the right cook on the noodles, else they could turn gummy and mushy. I choose to but 3mm flat noodles and soak them in lukewarm water for 5 minutes, stirring them once in a while to loosen them up. Blanching is a strict no-no – it’s the easiest way to getting gummy noodles.
RECIPE: PAD THAI NOODLES & FRIED TOFU IN PEANUT SAUCE
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
- 110g (approx. 2 cakes) rice noodles (3mm; I used ones from Pantai Norasingh brand)
- 150g tofu slices
- 1-2 stalks spring onions, chopped
- 5-6 garlic pods, minced
- 2 bell peppers, green/ yellow/ red, thinly sliced in strips
- 2 cups water amaranth greens, washed
- 4-5 sprigs of coriander/ cilantro
- 1 cup thai peanut sauce (see recipe here)
- 1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp paprika flakes
- Salt, to taste
- 1.5 tbsp peanut oil, divided
Soak rice noodle cakes in lukewarm water for instructed duration of time. Drain and leave aside. Check the consistency of the noodles and correct.
Prepare the tofu slices by pressing beneath a heavy pan or chopping board to release the retained water. Cut into small cubes. Marinate in salt, paprika and apple cide vinegar for 10 minutes.
Heat some of the oil in a shallow pan and shallow-fry the marinated tofu cubes until golden brown. Set aside on paper napkins.
Heat remaining oil in a wok and add chopped spring onions, minced garlic, bell peppers and amaranth greens. Sauté for 3 minutes. Add the drained rice noodles and fried tofu cubes. Mix well.
Serve the noodles in bowls. Pour the Thai peanut sauce (recipe here) over noodles generously.
I’d love to hear how this recipe turned out for you, if you tried it. Do post a pic on Instagram and tag #fitfoodiediary in the picture!
NUTRITION INFORMATION (per serving)*
|Of which, Fiber||9 g|
*Recipe is for 2 servings; all values in grams.