Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

Um, this shit is fucking delicious. Four quick notes before I dive into the details: 1) Trader Joe’s does not carry Tamarind paste and, since that’s where I do my grocery shopping, I went with the rice wine vinegar substitute as suggested in the recipe and it was GREAT, 2) TJ’s also does not carry bean sprouts so I nixed them, 3) Fuck tofu. I bought the Just Chicken from TJ’s, and 4) I used the entire spaghetti squash. Not just half.

Ok. Dig in.

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Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai by The Kitchn

INGREDIENTS:

For Pad Thai sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste (or rice wine vinegar)

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar or brown sugar

  • 2 to 4 tablespoons water, to thin

For Pad Thai:

  • 1/2 medium spaghetti squash (from a 3-pound squash)

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil

  • 8 ounces extra-firm tofu, diced (or Chicken)

  • 2 tablespoons corn starch

  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced

  • 2 large eggs, whisked

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 4 scallions, cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces

  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts, plus more to serve

  • 2 tablespoons chopped peanuts, to serve

  • Lime wedges, to serve

  • Cilantro, to serve

  • Red pepper flakes, to serve

DIRECTIONS:

  • Whisk together the tamarind paste, fish sauce, and palm sugar for the sauce. Add 2 tablespoons of water, to thin out the sauce. Microwave on high heat for 30 seconds and whisk until everything is combined into a thin sauce. The sauce should taste very strong, but still palatable; add more water if needed to reach a good balance of tartness and pungency. Measure out about 1/4 cup to be used for this recipe; the remaining sauce will keep refrigerated for several weeks.

  • Cut the squash in half; save one half for another purpose. Prepare the other half, either in the microwave (15 minutes) or in the oven (30 to 45 minutes). When cooked, shred the inside with a fork and set aside. You should have 3 to 4 cups of spaghetti squash tendrils.

  • Toss the tofu in the cornstarch until all the cubes are evenly coated with a gummy layer of cornstarch. Set aside while you prep the rest of the ingredients; make sure all the ingredients are prepped before you begin cooking. Place a large dinner plate next to the stove to hold ingredients as they come out of the wok.

  • Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat until a flick of water dissolves almost instantly on the surface. Add a tablespoon of peanut oil and quickly swirl the pan to coat. Add the tofu and stir-fry until golden on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the cooked tofu to a plate. (Adjust the heat as needed if your pan starts smoking.)

  • Warm another half tablespoon of peanut oil in the pan and add the onions. Cook until the onions are just starting to soften and show golden color, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to the plate with the tofu. (Adjust the heat as needed if your pan starts smoking.)

  • Warm another half tablespoon of peanut oil in the pan and swirl to coat the bottom. Whisk the eggs one more time and then pour them into the bottom of the pan. Cook, tilting the pan to create a very thin omelet. When the eggs are almost set, begin nudging and cutting them with your spatula to create big curds. Transfer the cooked eggs to the plate with the tofu and onion. (Adjust the heat as needed if your pan starts smoking.)

  • Warm the last half tablespoon of peanut oil in the pan and add the garlic. Fry until the garlic is fragrant and golden, about 10 seconds. Add all of the spaghetti squash and spread into a single layer. Cook for 30 seconds or so, then stir the squash and spread it back out again. Repeat a few times until the squash is warmed and beginning to show golden, roasted color.

  • Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the pad Thai sauce around the outside edge of the pan, then stir it into the squash. Continue stirring until the sauce evenly coats all the squash. Give it a quick taste and add up to 2 tablespoons additional sauce if needed.

  • Add the scallions and bean sprouts to the pan with the squash, and stir to combine. Add the tofu, onions, and egg back to the pan and stir to combine. Taste again, adding additional sauce if needed.

  • Transfer the pad Thai to a large serving plate and top with chopped peanuts, cilantro, red pepper flakes, and lime wedges. Serve immediately while still very hot. Leftovers reheat well and will keep for up to a week in the fridge.

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