Vegetarian Pad Thai

Yes, we did some traditional grilling on Memorial Day weekend, but I also like to take the time on long weekends with my family to make dishes which require more effort. Remember the last time I tried Pad Thai? It’s so much easier to tackle a complex dish when there are extra sets of hands around. When I first suggested Pad Thai, only my sister was actually familiar with the dish but she liked it and figured the others would too.

My starting point was this Vegetarian Pad Thai recipe, which I chose because it used baby bok choy to bulk up the dish with vegetables. When cooking for a group, there’s always a trade off between keeping a dish authentic and trying to make sure everyone gets a satisfying dinner. I chose a vegetarian recipe since the fish sauce used in many traditional recipes can be somewhat strong. Taking into account other individual preferences, I traded in the cilantro for basil, skipped the bean sprouts, and increased the amount of baby bok choy. I also swapped out a portion of the oil for vegetable stock.
After garnishing the noodles with ground peanuts, chopped basil, sliced scallions, and grilled marinated shrimp (this will make the dish non-vegetarian obviously), it was ready to enjoy. This was much nicer than anything I’ve eaten out of a foil take-out box! The chilies added more heat than I expected, but it wasn’t too hot. The noodles were cooked perfectly this time and the bok choy added plenty of color. In the end, the dish was a complete success, and my family has decided they like Pad Thai.

16 oz. rice noodles
4 eggs, beaten
2 T minced garlic
2 shallots, sliced thinly
10 heads baby bok choy, roughly chopped
4 scallions, sliced
1/2 c. chopped basil
1/2 c. ground peanuts
1 1/2 T tamarind paste
1/2 c. hot water
1/2 c. low sodium soy sauce
2 red chilies, minced
6 T brown sugar
2 T canola oil
1/2 c. vegetable stock
4 limes, quartered
First, make the sauce. Dissolve the tamarind paste in hot water. Add the soy sauce, minced chilies, and brown sugar, and mix well. Set aside.
Then, assemble the garnish ingredients on a plate including the scallions, basil, peanuts, and limes and set aside.
Bring a pot of water to boil, then remove from the heat and soak the rice noodles for 6-7 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
Once you have all the ingredients chopped and ready, heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add garlic and shallot, and stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the bok choy and the vegetable stock, and stir fry for 3-5 minutes. Make a well in the center of the pan, and add the beaten eggs. Cook eggs until scrambled and then distribute the eggs throughout the pan. Add the drained noodles and the prepared sauce, and stir fry everything together for 3-5 minutes.
Note: The recipe as posted is an excellent vegetarian dish. If you choose to top it with grilled shrimp, it is no longer vegetarian. I chose to include this option which may be appealing to some readers. Sorry for any confusion.

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