Meera Sodha's Peanut Butter and Purple Sprouting Broccoli Pad Thai
In the late 1930s, Thailand’s prime minister held a public competition to find a new national dish. The winning entry combined rice noodles, vegetables, peanuts, shrimp and egg. It was named ‘pad thai’ (pad meaning ‘stir-fry’) in a bid to promote a sense of Thai-ness. This vegan interpretation of that classic dish celebrates the brilliance of the original, while also bringing something new in the form of purple sprouting broccoli.
note / Pad thai is best eaten with as many garnishes as possible, so feel free to customize yours with fried shallots, pickled vegetables and crushed peanuts as you wish. Rice noodles are fragile, so be gentle with them.
|For the pad thai sauce:|
|6 tbsp||crunchy peanut butter|
|2 tbsp||tamarind paste|
|3 tbsp||brown rice syrup|
|4 tbsp||soy sauce|
|3 tbsp||fresh lime juice (from approx. 2 limes)|
|For the tofu and broccoli:|
|450g||purple sprouting broccoli|
|3||cloves of garlic, crushed|
|1.5cm||ginger, peeled and grated|
|2||bird’s-eye chillies, finely chopped|
|225g||firm tofu, drained and cubed|
|250g||flat folded rice noodles|
|6||spring onions, finely chopped|
|a handful||sesame seeds|
|toasted sesame oil|
|a handful||fresh Thai basil leaves, shredded|
|a handful||fresh mint leaves, shredded|
|1||lime, cut into 4 wedges|
First, make the sauce by putting the peanut butter, tamarind paste and syrup into a bowl, then slowly mixing in the soy sauce, lime juice and 4 tablespoons of water.
Next, trim the broccoli, and put the florets into a bowl. Chop the stalks and leaves into 1cm pieces. Place the garlic, ginger, chillies and tofu in little piles within easy reach of the hob. Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions, rinse under cold water, drain, then drizzle with a tablespoon of rapeseed oil and toss gently with your hands.
In a large non-stick frying pan for which you have a lid, heat 2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil on a medium-high flame, then fry the tofu for 5 minutes, turning every minute, until it’s pale gold. Add the ginger, garlic and chilli, cook for 2 minutes, then add the broccoli stalks and 4 tablespoons of water, cover the pan and steam for 2 minutes, until the broccoli is tender. Add the broccoli florets, sauce and spring onions (reserve a handful for garnish), stir to combine, then cover again and leave for 2 minutes.
Turn the heat down to a whisper, add the noodles handful by handful, gently mixing them in until coated in sauce, then turn off the heat. Distribute the noodles between four plates and sprinkle over the sesame seeds and reserved spring onions. Drizzle each portion with sesame oil, scatter over the herbs and add a generous squeeze of lime, and serve immediately.