Thailand's ubiquitous fried noodle dish, phad Thai, is fast, cheap, and easy to make, and very filling. Serve with fresh bean sprouts and spring onions, plus a dash of lime juice, and finish it in true Thai style, with crushed peanuts, chilli flakes, a little sugar, and some spicy vinegar. Delicious!
Place the noodles into a large bowl, pour over enough warm water to cover, leave to soak for around 10 minutes, and then drain once softened. Don’t over-soak!
Prepare the phad Thai sauce: In a wok, over a medium-low heat, dissolve the sugar in the vegan fish sauce. Once there are no grainy bits left, add the tamarind, and mix well, so that everything is blended.
Taste the flavour balance; if it needs to be a bit more salty, sour, or sweet, add a little more 'fish' sauce, tamarind, or sugar.
Tip into a suitable container, and set aside. Turn up the heat to its highest setting, and get the wok good and hot.
Add the oil to the wok, and once it’s hot, add the tofu, and stir-fry for 60 seconds or so. Add the garlic and shallot, and fry for another 30 seconds.
Drain and add the noodles, and stir fry for around 2 minutes, until soft, then mix in enough sauce to just coat everything (you may have some left over).
Add the beansprouts, pieces of vegan omelette if using, and again, stir-fry for 30 seconds.
Turn out onto a plate or shallow dish, topped with the coriander leaves.
Serve with spring onion, a few raw bean sprouts, some tomatoes if desired, and a wedge of lime. Traditionally, crushed peanuts, chilli flakes, white sugar, and chilli vinegar are used as condiments to season phad Thai at the table.
If you don’t have, or can’t get tamarind, you could use white vinegar or lime juice instead. It won’t be exactly the same but it will do in a pinch.I don’t advise using tamarind sauce because it’s very watery. Instead, I recommend either using a ready-made paste, or get a block of tamarind, break some off, soak it in hot water for 5-10 minutes, and then squeeze out the pulp (discard the seeds and fibres). This is my preferred method because I know that I am getting pure tamarind, nothing else.Don’t over-soak the noodles! All you have to do is put them into a bowl, pour over some warm water, and leave for 10 minutes or so. Once they have softened, drain and set to one side until you’re ready to use them. Don't use boiling water - if you do, the noodles may go overly soggy, even when left for only five minutes.Nutritional information does not include the optional vegan omelette, and condiments (because I have no way of knowing how much you'll use).This post has been updated with recipe improvements and better images.