Thai At Home

I used to be timid about making a lot of ethnic cuisine. Then I started incorporating stir fries into my routine and slowly added other dishes to my repertoire that played around a bit with different flavors, techniques, and ingredients. When exploring new cuisine, I'd try to start with something familiar in at least a couple of ways. Does it use known ingredients? Can I make it using familiar techniques? That's part of why I really love Pad Thai. It really consists of blending a sauce, boiling noodles, and stir frying vegetables.

If you want to try your hand at Thai cuisine, Pad Thai is a great place to start. In the version below, you can whip up the sauce in a blender, boil the noodles, and stir-fry the vegetables nearly all at the same time. Then combine the three elements in a way that leaves everything well-mixed and serve it hot with as many or as few garnishes as you want. I love squeezing a bit of fresh lime juice onto it and then sprinkling it with sliced green onions and chopped cilantro and peanuts. Yum!

With Spring promising to arrive one of these days, the spicy cuisine of Thailand, complete with its focus on fresh vegetables, is perfect for your table. And you need not worry about being overwhelmed by a simple dish like Pad Thai. This version takes advantage of some of my favorite vegetables, but you can mix and match them according to your tastes and what's in season in your part of the world. You can also opt to add chicken or shrimp to this dish, but I find it stands on its own quite well without them. Don't let the long list of ingredients scare you -- this is one super simple, step-by-step recipe that can quickly become a quick weekday go-to recipe for you and your family.

Vegetable Pad Thai

  • 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1-2 teaspoons Sriracha (depends on your spiciness level)
  • 2 teaspoons thai red curry paste
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce (make sure you use a wheat free version if you want to make this gluten free or replace it with fish sauce to make it gluten and soy free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2-4 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 c. lime juice
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 16 oz. flat rice noodles
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 head of broccoli, chopped
  • 4 small sweet peppers, sliced
  • 1 large red onion, sliced into thin wedges
  • Thai spice (optional)
  • 2 green onions, sliced (for garnish)
  • 1 whole lime, cut into wedges (for garnish)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, stems removed, roughly chopped (for garnish)
  • Chopped peanuts (for garnish)

Combine the first eight ingredients (peanut butter through water) in a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.

Prepare the noodles according to the package directions. Once the noodles are cooked, drain them and return them to the pot used to boil them in. Keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat the sesame oil over medium high heat and stir-fry the broccoli, peppers, and red onion, adding the Thai spice, if desired. When the vegetables are crisp-tender, remove them from the heat. Add the stir-fried vegetables and the prepared sauce to the noodles toss well to coat. Serve hot with sliced green onions, fresh lime juice, chopped cilantro, and chopped peanuts for garnishing.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes

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