Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 40 min
Total tme: 50 min
12 ounces (340 g) extra-firm tofu
6 ounces (170 g) thin rice noodles
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large bundle green onion, finely chopped
2 whole carrots, ribboned with a vegetable peeler or thinly diced
2 tbsp salted creamy peanut butter
3 tbsp tamarind concentrate or paste (see note)
4 1/2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce (if gluten-free, use tamari)
3-4 tbsp maple syrup (or substitute coconut sugar)
1 1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce, plus more for serving
Chili garlic sauce
Freshly squeezed lime juice
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Wrap the tofu in a clean, absorbent towel and set something heavy on top, such as a cast-iron skillet, to aid in draining the moisture.
Once the oven is hot, cube the tofu into bite-size pieces and arrange on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 28–30 minutes. Depending on the firmness of the tofu, the cooking times will vary. The longer it bakes, the firmer and chewier it gets, which I prefer. Check for doneness at the 28-minute mark and bake longer if desired.
In the meantime, make the sauce. To a small skillet add the peanut butter, tamarind concentrate, 3 Tbsp (45ml) tamari, 3 Tbsp (45ml) maple syrup, and 1 tsp chili garlic sauce. Heat over medium heat. When the sauce begins bubbling, stir and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 5 minutes, then turn off heat and let rest. Taste and adjust the flavor as needed, adding more chili garlic sauce for heat, maple syrup for sweetness, or tamari for saltiness. The flavor should be sour-sweet.
When the tofu is almost done baking, cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions. Then drain and set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the baked tofu, 1 Tbsp (15ml) pad Thai sauce, 1 Tbsp (15ml) tamari, and the remaining 1⁄2 tsp chili garlic sauce. Stir frequently and cook until brown on all sides, about 4 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
To the same skillet, add the garlic and green onion (reserving a small amount for garnish), and 1⁄2 Tbsp (8ml) more tamari. Sauté for 2–3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the cooked noodles and the remaining Pad Thai sauce and toss with tongs to coat. Raise the heat to medium- high and cook for 2–3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the tofu during the last minute of cooking to warm through.
Remove from the heat and serve with the carrots, the reserved green onions, and additional chili garlic sauce.
Leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator for 2–3 days, though best when fresh.
Tamarind concentrate can be found online and in Asian grocery stores. It may seem like a rare ingredient, but I always have some on hand for cooking Asian dishes, especially pad Thai.
Excerpted from Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking by Dana Shultz. Copyright © 2016 by Minimalist Baker, LLC. Published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.