This vegan Pad Thai is as good as the non-vegan version. It only takes 15 minutes max to make, including the ten minutes necessary to soak the noodles. Using soft tofu to replace the egg really works well, giving a similar texture and consistency, I actually prefer it to the eggy version.
My hack for replacing the fish sauce is to use miso.
I've given both versions of the recipe here, vegan and non vegan so you can mix it up if you like.
Clearspring are that unusual thing, a vegan company. Many of their products are Asian, all of them are animal-free and ethically sourced. Here is a recipe using some of those products which they sent me to try out.
As it's also wild garlic season I used that but when wild garlic is out of season, use chives or garlic chives.
Tip: if your palm sugar was rigid in a block like mine was, put it in the microwave with a small bowl of water. A minute or two should soften it. Same trick works for brown sugar.
Vegan Gluten-free Pad Thai recipe
Serves 2 to 3 as a main course
2 or 3 tbsp White miso or 100ml fish sauce
100g palm sugar
100ml Tamarind paste
1 finely chopped red chilli (optional)
200g Brown or white rice noodles ( I used wide brown ones from Clearspring but you can use white or narrow ones)
a tsp of sea salt
100ml groundnut oil or rapeseed oil
300g Soft tofu or 2 eggs whisked together
a bunch of spring onions, finely sliced
a bunch of Wild garlic or a bunch of garlic chives (available in Chinese supermarkets or use plain chives), torn up or chopped up
100g of peanuts (you can use a mix of raw and salted), roughly chopped
Sriracha or sweet chilli sauce or Lingham's sauce
Wedges of lime
Make the sauce by mixing the ingredients together and warming on a low heat.
Soak the rice noodles in a heat proof bowl for ten minutes by covering with boiling water and a tsp of salt then drain.
Chop up the tofu (do it Japanese style by cutting it up on your palm), the spring onions, the wild garlic, the peanuts.
Prepare a wok or non-stick frying pan by warming it up on a medium high heat with the groundnut oil.
Add the soft tofu and let it fry for a couple of minutes, then add the softened noodles (make sure they aren't stuck together). Let this fry for a couple of minutes then add some of the pad thai sauce. (If using the egg rather than the soft tofu, push the noodles aside, add the egg and gradually stir in).
Carefully stir the noodles, tofu and sauce together, adding the rest of the sauce bit by bit.
Add the white part of the spring onions, the wild garlic. Let it fry for a minute then add the peanuts and green part of the spring onions.
Garnish with lime segments and sweet Chilli sauce.