Pad thai is a fixture of casual Thai eateries, and when you take a bite of these tender rice noodles stir-fried with fresh veggies and a sweet-peppery sauce, you'll see why. We up the ante with crispy tofu, a tragically under-appreciated ingredient. Don't worry, we show you how to get the most out of this delicious, protein-packed ingredient. It's crispy, packed with flavor, and you'll love how easily this one comes together.
Line a plate with two paper towels. Rinse tofu, cut into ½" thick slices across width, and cut pieces diagonally to form triangles. Arrange tofu in a single layer on plate, top with another paper towel, then another plate. Add some weight to plate (such as a canned good or two more plates) to gently press tofu. Removing moisture allows tofu to get crispy and better absorb flavors. Set aside 15 minutes.
Prepare the Ingredients
Trim and thinly slice green onions on an angle, keeping white and green portions separate. Zest and halve lime. Quarter one half and juice remaining half. Keep peanuts in bag and coarsely crush with a small pan or meat mallet.
Cook the Rice Noodles
Add rice noodles to boiling water and cook 4 minutes, stirring often, or until just tender. Drain in colander and rinse well with cold water. Rinsing with cold water stops the cooking process.
Prepare Sauce and Sear the Tofu
Combine sweet chili sauce (to taste), chili oil (to taste), soy sauce, 2 tsp. lime juice, and ½ cup water in a small bowl. Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add tofu pieces to hot pan and cook 5-6 minutes per side, or until well-browned. Remove pan from burner and add 2 Tbsp. sauce (reserve remaining for coating noodles). Stir to lightly coat tofu, then transfer tofu to a plate. Wipe pan clean.
Assemble the Pad Thai
Return pan used for tofu to medium heat and add 1 tsp. olive oil. Add white portions of green onions and matchstick carrots to hot pan. Cook 1 minute, stirring often, or until just beginning to soften. Add rice noodles (rinse with water once more if stuck together) and remaining sauce. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until combined and warmed through.
Plate the Dish
Place a serving of pad thai on a plate along with tofu. Garnish with green portions of green onions, crushed peanuts, and lime zest. Serve with lime wedges on side.