Fastest Pad Thai Ever

I made some Faux Pho for dinner last night and made way too many noodles. So today when I was rummaging in the refrigerator for something to make for lunch, it was obvious I should base it around the leftover rice noodles, and maybe it was the peanut butter sriracha cookie I was nibbling while I thought, but the first thing that came to mind was pad thai. Now, pad thai is really not a very time consuming dish to make to begin with, so there is little need to try to speed it up. And traditionally there is no peanut butter in pad thai. But for a nearly-instant lunch, this was really very tasty. If, like me, most of your at-work lunches are leftovers, this is something you can whip together in three minutes before you leave the house and warm gently in the microwave at the office. I’m afraid my measurements – loose at the best of times – are non-existent here. It’s really up to you to balance out the sweet, salty, and sour flavors the way you like it.

Fastest Pad Thai Ever

cooked rice noodles (this is a great way to use up leftovers, which I tossed very lightly with sesame oil before storing)
peanut butter (smooth or crunchy is okay)
tamarind pulp or concentrate
soy sauce
jaggery (my favorite sugar, available in Indian groceries, and Wegmans is now carrying this product) or brown sugar
protein, such as cubed tofu or shredded seitan (optional)
shredded or thinly sliced veggies (optional) – my Quick Pickled Carrots are perfect

Put the peanut butter, tamarind, soy sauce, jaggery or sugar, and sriracha in a blender in proportions that are pleasing to your palate and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust flavors. Thin with water and blend again. Heat for a minute or two in the microwave (or on the stovetop in a small saucepan), and then whisk. If your noodles are cold, warm them in the microwave for a minute or two. Toss everything together.

The pickled carrots are particularly brilliant here because the provide the extra tang that you usually get by squeezing a lime over your noodles, so if you don’t happen to have a lime on hand, you’re covered. For my protein, I used a handful of the shredded seitan chicken from Nature’s Soy, which I get at Super H. Top this with crushed peanuts, cilantro, and/or bean sprouts if you have them on hand, but if you don’t and you’re just going for super fast, this was quite tasty as is.

And today is a Torticia day. Torticia is a silly little animal. I think she’s getting a little pudgy, and although she and Gomez spend hours racing around the house all day, she’s been a bit lazy when I’m playing with her. Whereas Gomez leaps around like an Olympic gymnast trying to catch dangling toys, Torticia often rolls on her back and waits for the toy to come to her. She’s roly poly.

She’s lazy.

She takes naps to recover from naps.

She’s also an extremely cuddly, affectionate, friendly, tolerant, fuzzy, little ball of wonderfulness. This morning when I woke to her sleeping between my legs, as soon as she realized I awake, she snuggled up on my chest and purred and purred and purred and begged to be petted, and snuggled some more, and was basically so incredibly cute it brought tears to my eyes. She’s so loving and warm, and extremely soft and silky. It’s just a joy to touch her.

And then she goes and does something classy like this:

Although really she’s probably the most beautiful cat in the universe.


  1. Josiane Said,

    January 29, 2011 @ 11:12 pm

    For a dish cobbled together around leftover noodles, it looks absolutely delicious! And yes, Torticia is really really cute, and your pictures give us a clear glimpse of how lovely she must be.

  2. lilia Said,

    January 30, 2011 @ 1:42 am

    she really is one of the most beautiful torties i’ve seen. I work for a rescue group fostering kitties and there was this tortie that would always remind me of your torticia and how adorable and unique looking they both are.

    you can see images at these links if you’d like.

  3. renae Said,

    January 30, 2011 @ 6:48 am

    lilia, that tortie is beautiful! (She’s also paired with an all-black cat in that one photo; just like Gomez and Torticia!) I hope she finds a home soon. I want to try fostering, and I think these two cats would actually tolerate it (my last two would not have), but I’m not sure our landlord would. But thank you for doing that – Gomez and Torticia had wonderful foster parents and I think it’s part of the reason they are so sweet and loving; it made me really appreciate people who foster.

  4. Jes Said,

    January 30, 2011 @ 3:45 pm

    Awwwww Tortica is the best! I love the stretched out arms while on her back with the belly up shot the best, I think.

    I’m also loving the pickled carrots on the pad thai. Been awhile since I made pad thai, but the next time I do, it’s definitely going to have pickled carrots!

    Also, I’m going to be in DC Wed-Sun for the annual writers conference AWP. Any suggestions for radtastic places to eat? G & I have Ethiopian on the list, but we’re looking for anything delicious to nosh on.

  5. renae Said,

    January 30, 2011 @ 5:34 pm

    Jes, it’s been seven years since I lived in DC and I will only go there if I have to for work, or for shows at the 9:30 Club. (If I need to go to a city, I go back home to Baltimore!) So, unfortunately, I don’t have many recommendations. If you hadn’t said you were already planning on Ethiopian, that’s what I would have said; it’s what I always get if I absolutely must be in DC. You should go to Sticky Fingers, though. It’s famous and I can’t believe I’ve never been (it was closed the one time I walked by it). It’s only a block or two from a metro station. I also really want to go to Java Green but haven’t had the opportunity. If you will have a car and want to go out to the suburbs, Sunflower is our favorite place. The Vienna location is closer to us, but the Falls Church location is closer to DC.

    I would say we should meet up, but they’re calling for a bunch of snow again Tuesday night and I have a sinking feeling we’re going to be trapped again. Are you driving up here? If so, good luck. I hope we don’t get anything, but it’ll be almost exactly a year to the day of last year’s first wave of Snowmageddon, so I’m not feeling very good about it. I hope the weather doesn’t ruin your trip. If it doesn’t snow, email me – maybe I can be convinced to trek into the city to meet up with you guys!

  6. renae Said,

    January 31, 2011 @ 11:33 am

    Maybe I spoke too soon. The forecast doesn’t look so threatening today!

  7. Becky Said,

    January 30, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

    Aww. I know exactly how you feel about that precious little kitty! Thanks for sharing all the sweetness it brightened my day.

  8. Jenny Said,

    January 31, 2011 @ 6:47 pm


    My Moonshine looks similar:

  9. cassaundra Said,

    February 1, 2011 @ 5:15 pm

    love the photo of her sitting! so cutee!

  10. mangocheeks Said,

    February 7, 2011 @ 3:28 pm

    I’ve never ever had pad thai in my life, but the fact that you have included one of my favourite ingredients – sriarcha – has now prompted me to make it soon.

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