Vegetarian Pad Thai

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Vegetarian Pad Thai

This is a Thai classic. Fresh, colourful and crisp vegetables tossed quickly in a hot pan and then de glazed with a super quick and easy sauce. If you have been to Thailand you will know that Fish Sauce is like our Salt here, it’s used to season almost everything! Thankfully some organic producers over here now have a ‘No Fish Sauce’ which is a light Soya Sauce mixed with Algae and it’s delicious and worth getting hold of. Other wise you could use a mild Soya Sauce, but halve the amount stated in the recipe and rather add more Salt to season your dish. Soya Sauce isn’t really used in classical Thai Cuisine. The Mushroom Sauce will be available from most Asian food specialists, and probably most large supermarkets. Do check that there is no monosodium glutamate in the sauce. Tamarind and Rice Noodles will also be easily available from any good Asian Food Specialist.

You can mix up the vegetables with what you have to hand and what is in season. If you don’t have Cauliflower, use Broccoli, if you don’t have Carrots, finely slice a Sweet Potato instead, if you don’t have Pak Choi add in White Cabbage. It’s a very versatile dish. And the sauces you will need keep for months in the fridge, so you can make again and again as a quick evening meal or lunch. In Bangkok I had it served in a sort of Omelette, the cook used a whisked Egg and coated the entire wok with it, he then added the freshly cooked Pad Thai back into wok and wrapped the Omelette around it before serving it on a plate. I’ve opted for a slightly easier version with a fried Egg on top, it’s a great addition but the Pad Thai is just as good without it. On every street table in Bangkok, you’ll find Fish Sauce and Chili to season your dish to your liking. Obviously we are not using Fish Sauce here, but make sure you season your dish afterwards with Chili, Lime and Salt (or No Fish Sauce) to your taste and for that authentic feel!

Serves 6


For the Wok

400 g Rice Noodles, (10 mm thick)

600 g Pak Choi

200 g Carrots

150 g Paprika

350 g Cauliflower

3 Spring Onions

2 large Garlic Cloves

6 Eggs, Optional

3 Tbsp Sesame or Sunflower Oil, plus extra to fry the Eggs in

100 g Peanuts

1 Tbsp Sunflower Oil

Salt, Chili Flakes

Fresh Coriander Leaves and Lime Slices to serve.

For the Sauce

3 Tbsp Tamarind Puree

4 Tbsp ‘No Fish Sauce’ (or 2 Tbsp Soya Sauce)

8 Tbsp Mushroom Sauce


Crunchy, Fresh, Quick and Colourful


Start by heating the oven to 150 °C. Mix the Peanuts with 1 Tbsp Sunflower Oil, a good sprinkling of Salt and Chili Flakes to taste. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Put to one side to cool.

Boil a full kettle. Put the Rice Noodles into a bowl and cover with the boiling Water. Stir the Noodles so that they don’t stick together and are totally emersed. Soak for 10 minutes, then drain, and add a good splash of Sunflower or Sesame Oil to stop them from sticking together.

Peel and finely chop the Garlic and put to one side. Peel your Carrot, cut lengthways in half and then cut thin slices on the diagonal. Prepare the Cauliflower into bite size florets. Roughly chop the Pak Choi into bite size pieces. Remove the core from the Paprika and cut into 1 cm by 2 cm thick slices. Remove the outer layer from the Spring Onion and then cut into thin slices on the diagonal.

In a separate bowl mix together the Tamarind, No Fish Sauce, Mushroom Sauce with 4 Tbsp Water. Heat a large wok or frying pan and put the oven on to 100 °C. It’s best to do this dish in 2 or 3 rounds so that the vegetables are all touching the pan. When the wok or pan is really hot add 1 Tbsp Sunflower or Sesame Oil, and then start by adding a handful of the hardest vegetables first, which in this case would be the Carrots, (if you are using White Cabbage, add it in here too). Keep the heat high, toss the Carrots, and then add a handful of the Peppers and Cauliflower. Toss regularly, and refrain from turning the heat down, we are cooking fast and furious here! Add in a third of the Garlic, Pak Choi, Noodles, and Spring Onion, mix well and then de-glaze with a third of the sauce. Let it simmer for 10 seconds, mixing it well together and then tip the Pad Thai on to a baking tray and place in the oven to keep warm. Rinse the wok or frying pan out with a little water and then start again with the next batch. Once you are finished, mix all of the Pad Thai together, and season well with Salt and Pepper, and if you want, a little more No Fish Sauce.

If you are serving with a Fried Egg, clean the wok or frying pan and add enough Oil to give it a thin coat along the bottom. Heat the Oil and then crack the Eggs in carefully, you will need to do this in 2 batches. If you like the Egg to be runny, I use a spoon to just baste the top of the Egg with a little hot fat, so that it seals but doesn’t cook, if you like the Egg to be cooked through, then flip over to fry from the other side once the Egg white has set and got a little crispy on the edges. Once the Eggs are ready, sprinkle with a little Salt and Chili Flakes. Serve the Pad Thai with Fresh Coriander Leaves, a Lime Slice, sprinkle with the Roasted Peanuts, top with a fried Egg and sprinkle more Chili on if you desire. Enjoy! And in case you are wondering it’s also great the next day reheated!

If you made this recipe do share photos with me on Instagram or let me know what you think in the comments below.

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