When kids participate in any Sylvia Center program, our staff makes sure that every participant walks away having tried something new. Some days this goal is harder to reach than others, but the day we made Vegetable Pad Thai with seventh grade students from Knickerbacker Middle School, this was no challenge. One student fell so hard for this dish that she had to text her Mom a picture of it immediately to make sure it would make its way to her family’s dinner lineup. Whatever your exposure to pad thai may be, we encourage you to try this version.
In this recipe, the sauce is the heart of the dish. The flavors of tamarind juice, soy sauce and fish sauce vary by brand, so now more than ever is the time to adjust to taste. Our version has a well-balanced tangy, sweet and salty flavor. Since we cook with young people whose tastebuds don’t always welcome spiciness, we added it on the side. Feel free to add it to your own sauce until it tastes right to you. (If you don’t have tamarind sauce on hand, you can make a mixture of equal parts lime juice and brown sugar to taste. If you do this, you may need to adjust the amount of sugar that the recipe already calls for. You’re looking for a balanced sweet and sour flavor.)
Many of our crops this time of year only need a quick sauté in oil to enhance their freshly harvested qualities, and that’s what we do here with the cabbage and asparagus. We’ve found our garden’s cabbage is irresistibly sweet, crunchy and tender. I admit that I would rarely describe cabbage as irresistible, but I’m telling you, my love for cabbage this time of year has no bounds. If you are looking for a sidekick to your bowl of pad thai, our recipe for Asian coleslaw is just the candidate. The two must have met in sweet, salty, crunchy heaven.
Top your creation with pea shoots, lime juice, peanuts, a heap of chopped herbs and, before you dig in, send us a picture so we know it made it to your dinner table.
Vegetable Pad Thai
10 ounces dried rice noodles
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons tamarind juice (or substitute)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1½ cups green cabbage, thinly sliced
¼ cup water
3 eggs, whisked
1 bunch chives, minced
1 bunch asparagus, chopped
1 cup pea shoots, roughly chopped
2 limes, cut into wedge
Sriracha or other hot sauce
¼ cup peanuts, crushed
1. Soak noodles in hot water for 10-15 minutes, or until softened.
2. Combine fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar and tamarind in small bowl, set aside.
3. Heat oil over medium heat in large sauté pan and cook garlic for about 2 minutes. Add cabbage and asparagus and cook for another 2 minutes. Add rice noodles and water, cook until noodles are completely tender.
4. Reduce heat and add the fish sauce mixture, stir well.
5. Add eggs, and sauté until eggs fully cooked and well combined with noodles.
6. Add peanuts, chives and pea shoots. Serve with lime wedges.
1 small head cabbage (1½ pounds), cored and cut crosswise into ½-inch slices
1 bunch chives, minced
1 bunch radishes, julienned
½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1 fresh serrano chile, finely chopped (optional)
¼ cup rice vinegar
2 teaspoons brown sugar or honey
2 teaspoons grated peeled ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
1. Whisk together the vinegar, brown sugar, ginger, oil, optional chile, and ½ teaspoon salt.
2. Add remaining ingredients and toss well.
3. Let stand, tossing occasionally, for at least 10 minutes.