In celebration of World Fair Trade Day, we made Pad Thai (surprise!)
This year’s theme for World Fair Trade Day was “Live Fair, one product at a time.” While meandering the aisles of our local grocery store, a fair trade label caught our eye on a package of King Soba Pad Thai Noodles. We were inspired! A nourishing bowl of quickly-cooked noodles is a staple in many other cultures, and we wanted to give them a try at home. The spirit of World Fair Trade Day was in every tasty bite!
Something as simple as noodles can be a tangible contribution to sustainable development. The farmers who grow the rice are economically empowered, and their fields are maintained with respect to the Earth and in a cooperative environment.
We adapted this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, who does all the research to make sure we get it right! We found most of these ingredients at a local international food market.
Buy fair trade, one product at a time, and make a difference!
This recipe serves 2. We doubled it to feed a family with some leftovers to spare, but had to cook each batch separately so there was enough room in the pan.
- 6 oz. firm or extra-firm tofu (not silken)
- 5 oz. King Soba Fair Trade Organic Pad Thai Rice Noodles
- 2T fish sauce, plus more to taste
- 2T tamarind concentrate, plus more to taste (stir in 4T water to reconstitute)
- 2 to 4 tsp fair trade dark brown sugar, plus more to taste
- A pinch of Thai or other chile flakes or chili powder, or a shot of Sriracha
- Vegetable oil for frying (or another neutral, high-heat cooking oil)
- 1 small shallot, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 handfuls of bean sprouts, plus more for garnish (about 1 cup)
- 1 large egg
- 8 scallions (green part only) cut into 2-inch piece, or 4 garlic chives
- This recipe also calls for 2T sweet preserved radish, if you can find it!
- Dash of chili flakes or chili powder
- Remaining scallions/chives and bean sprouts
- Lime wedges
- 2 tablespoons roasted & crushed fair trade peanuts, salted or unsalted
Note: Don’t be overwhelmed by all of the steps! After you do the prep work, the process goes quickly. You’ll have noodles to share and slurp in no time.
Tofu preparation: Drain the tofu and place it between a dish towel or a few paper towels. Cover with a heavy object, like a big frying pan, to press out the excess liquid. We let it rest for 30 minutes but less time would be fine! Cut it into 1/2 to 3/4-inch cubes.
Noodle preparation: Place dry rice noodles in a large bowl; pour hot water over to cover (some noodles may break, which is ok!) Let soak for 10 minutes. They should be pliable but too “al dente” to eat, otherwise they will get mushy when they cook with the other ingredients later. Drain and set noodles aside.
Sauce preparation: Stir together fish sauce, reconstituted tamarind, brown sugar, and chili powder. Taste and adjust to your taste (we have read that the ingredient intensity varies between brands). It should be a little salty, a little sour, and a little sweet, with a kick! Set aside.
Fry the tofu: Heat a large frying pan (we used a cast iron pan) or a wok over high for a full minute. Add a tablespoon or two of oil and let this heat up for a minute, then add the tofu cubes. Reduce heat to medium-high. Cook tofu until browned underneath. Use a thin spatula to turn them and cook until all sides are golden and crisp. Drain on paper towels, and while hot, season with a dash of salt and chili powder, to taste.
Now the Pad Thai creation begins! Add another generous tablespoon of oil around the hot pan. Once it’s hot, cook garlic, shallots, and radishes (if using) until they start to turn golden in color. Add noodles and sauce. Stir together until the noodles absorb sauce and cook until the noodles are soft enough to eat. Add half of the bean sprouts and scallions and stir together (the rest will be used for garnish).
Push the noodles and veggies in the pan to the side, and crack the egg into the empty part of pan. Start scrambling it, then combine it with the rest of the ingredients. Toss in the crispy tofu, and it’s ready to serve and enjoy!
Squeeze lime over top and garnish with peanuts, extra bean sprouts, scallions, and a little spice.