Tofu Pad Thai
Everybody loves a good Pad Thai and this fragrant tofu version will not disappoint!
First, soak your noodles. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, then take it off the heat. Add the noodles and leave to soak, completely submerged, for 4-7 minutes, until they go from translucent to white. You want them to be pliable, but not soft. Tip the noodles into a colander and rinse under cold running water until they are cool – this removes excess starch. Drain thoroughly and set aside.
Whisk together the chickpea flour, black salt and ½ cup (125 ml) water until no lumps remain. Pour a little oil into a wok or a deep non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat and pour in the batter. Leave to set for about 2 minutes, then use a spatula to stir and scramble. Keep cooking until the batter starts to stick together, about 5-6 minutes.
Break up any large clumps as best you can, so it resembles scrambled eggs, then remove from the wok and set aside, breaking up into smaller clumps if necessary.
Whisk together the tamarind, soy sauce, sugar, lime juice and Sriracha sauce to make your Pad Thai sauce.
Wipe out the wok, then set over medium heat, pour in the rest of the oil and fry the garlic and shallots until fragrant and the shallots have softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add the shredded vegetables, Pad Thai sauce and tofu, then stir to combine. Add the noodles and stir to coat well; if they still seem too crunchy, add about ¼ cup (60 ml) water to steam and soften them further. Toss and fry everything for 3-4 minutes until the noodles are soft but chewy, and the vegetables are tender. Garnish with peanuts, lime wedges, a handful of beansprouts and some chopped coriander.
Note: If you have more time, prepare the noodles beforehand the way the Thais do: soak them in cold water for 40-60 minutes until they turn white, and are soft and pliable but still slightly crunchy. Drain well. You can either cook the noodles immediately or store them in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Tip for pressing tofu: Wrap your block of tofu in a clean, lint-free tea towel and place a chopping board on top of it. Weigh the board down with something heavy, like a big tin of beans, to apply pressure to it. Leave for at least 30 minutes, to press out as much liquid as possible.
Tip for gluten-free version: Use tamari instead of soy sauce.
Recipe taken from Jackfruit and Blue Ginger by Sasha Gill (Murdoch Books, £18.99). Photography by Sasha Gill (except author photo, back cover by Steve Brown).
“Everybody loves a good Pad Thai. When soaking the noodles for this dish, be careful not to let them soak for too long. You want them to retain some of their crunch before you fry them. Remember, you can always add more water to the wok to soften the noodles, but you can’t rescue over-cooked noodles!”