The Washington Post

Pad Thai With Crispy Tofu

Pad Thai With Crispy Tofu 3.000

(Justin Tsucalas for the Washington Post; food styling by Nichole Bryant for the Washington Post)

Plant-Powered Newsletter Jun 21, 2019

In this plant-based take on the Thai favorite, crispy pan-fried tofu takes on a meaty texture, and scrambled tofu makes a brilliant stand-in for traditional scrambled egg. Fresh and veggie-forward, the dish is filled with vibrant watermelon radish, bean sprouts and crunchy peanuts.

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Make Ahead: Slice the veggies and mix the sauce, then refrigerate in separate containers. Assemble the remaining ingredients the day you cook. Refrigerate leftovers for up to 2 days; reheat the noodles in a skillet with a splash of soy sauce.

Where to Buy: Most pad thai recipes use sweet-sour tamarind paste, which is made from the pods of the tropical tamarind tree. Find it in jars on the international aisle at your grocer, and through online purveyors.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 3 servings

  • 4 ounces dried rice noodles
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons tamarind paste
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons regular soy sauce, or more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 14 ounces extra-firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons pure sesame oil
  • 1 medium orange bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 watermelon radish, thinly sliced and cut into quarters
  • 4 scallions (white and light-green parts), thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 handful fresh bean sprouts, for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons crushed roasted unsalted peanuts, for garnish


Prepare the rice noodles according to the package directions, then drain them. Most rice noodles simply require a quick soak in boiling water for a few minutes until they’re tender.

Whisk together the tamarind paste, water, maple syrup, soy sauce, Sriracha and garlic in a medium bowl until smooth; this your sauce.

Ready for the tofu two ways? Remove the block of tofu from its package and drain any liquid. Stand it on a short side and slice it in half lengthwise, then grab one half and crumble it into a bowl; this will be your scrambled-egg stand-in.

Cut the remaining slab of tofu into rectangles about 1 1/2 inches long and 1/2-inch thick. Place them on a clean dish towel or paper towel, and place another towel over the slices. Let them sit for 5 minutes.

Mix the cornstarch and kosher salt in a medium bowl. Toss each tofu slice in the cornstarch mixture until it’s well coated, then give each one a tap to shake off any excess coating. Place them on a plate as you work. Most of the cornstarch mixture will be leftover when you’re done; you can discard it (working with an extra-large quantity makes it easier to get an even coating on your tofu).

Heat the oil until shimmering over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add the coated tofu slices in a single layer -- don’t let them touch each other -- and cook each side until browned and crisped, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the pan-fried tofu slices to a wire rack to cool while you cook the rest of the veggies.

Add the bell pepper, radish and three-quarters of the scallions to the skillet. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the vegetables are softened. Reduce the heat to medium-low, then add the cooked noodles, pan-fried tofu, crumbled tofu and the sauce mixture. Gently toss until the sauce coats everything and it is heated through, about a minute or two, then remove from the heat. Taste, and add a shake of soy sauce as needed.

Divide the pad thai among bowls and top with the remaining scallions, bean sprouts and crushed peanuts.

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Recipe Source

From Sonja Overhiser and Alex Overhiser, of

Tested by Sonja Overhiser and Alex Overhiser.

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Avg. Rating (10)

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 530

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 24g 37%

Saturated Fat: 4g 20%

Cholesterol: 0mg 0%

Sodium: 1070mg 45%

Total Carbohydrates: 54g 18%

Dietary Fiber: 5g 20%

Sugar: 13g

Protein: 24g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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