In this cabbage pad thai, sugar and lime juice in the stir-fry sauce stand in for tamarind, whose fruity, tart flavor lends that sweet-and-sourness characteristic of traditional pad Thai. This dish comes together quickly, and while the vegetables and seasonings may be unorthodox, the combination is tasty and satisfying. // alexandracooks.com

I’ve been making this cabbage pad Thai-ish in some form or another since the late fall, when I spotted the recipe in Andie Mitchell’s Eating in the Middle, and the contents of my CSA miraculously included all of the key ingredients: cabbage, peppers, cilantro, and onions.

With peppers now out of season, I’ve been using shiitake mushrooms, whose meaty texture and woodsy flavor nicely complement the cabbage, and I imagine a number of other vegetables—julienned carrots, shredded Brussels sprouts or broccoli, for example—could also be used. In place of the traditional scrambled egg, the texture of which I never seem to get right, I’ve been baking cubes of tofu, dressed simply with soy sauce and oil, and folding those in at the end.

Two notes: There are no noodles! And no tamarind! So no, this is not authentic pad Thai. Here, sugar and lime juice in the stir-fry sauce stand in for tamarind, whose fruity, tart flavor lends that sweet-and-sourness characteristic of traditional pad Thai. This dish comes together quickly, and while the vegetables and seasonings may be unorthodox, the combination is tasty and satisfying.

PS: Other favorite cabbage recipes.

In this cabbage pad thai, sugar and lime juice in the stir-fry sauce stand in for tamarind, whose fruity, tart flavor lends that sweet-and-sourness characteristic of traditional pad Thai. This dish comes together quickly, and while the vegetables and seasonings may be unorthodox, the combination is tasty and satisfying. // alexandracooks.com

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cabbage pad thai

Cabbage Pad Thai-ish


Description

Adapted from Andie Mitchell’s Eating in the Middle


Ingredients

  • tablespoons soy sauce, divided
  • tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil, divided
  • 14-oz block extra-firm tofu, patted dry, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • tablespoon fresh lime juice, plus more for serving
  • tablespoons fish sauce
  • tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons cornstarch
  • cup thinly sliced onion (1 small onion)
  • 7 to 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • jalapeño, seeds removed, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • cups thinly sliced cabbage (about half a small head)
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped peanuts

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Whisk together 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 1 tablespoon oil in a medium bowl. Add tofu cubes and gently toss to coat. Let cubes marinate while oven preheats—at least 5 minutes. Lightly rub a rimmed sheetpan with neutral oil. Place tofu cubes on pan, discarding the remaining marinade. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove pan from oven and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the remaining tablespoon of soy sauce with the lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, cornstarch, and 1/4 cup water. Stir together and set aside.
  3. In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over high heat. Add the onions, mushrooms and jalapeño. Turn heat down to medium. Let cook undisturbed for 1 minute, then stir every so often until onions and mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and a pinch of salt and cook for 30 seconds more. Transfer vegetables to a plate. Add remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add cabbage and let cook undisturbed for 1 minutes, then stir every so often until cabbage is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes more.
  4. Turn the heat to high, add the soy sauce mixture, stir to combine, bring the mixture to a boil, and cook until the cabbage is coated in a thick, glossy sauce. Stir in the onions and mushrooms. Remove pan from the heat and stir in the fresh cilantro and baked tofu. Sprinkle the peanuts over top and serve.