1 pound rice noodles (wide ones)
1 pound extra firm tofu, pressed
canola oil, as needed
1/2 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons sambal olek chili paste
(or 2 tablespoons ketchup + 2 teaspoons paprika)
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
8 green onions, chopped into 1" pieces
4 cups bean sprouts
3/4 cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
lime wedges, to serve
1. Cover the noodles with warm water in a large bowl and allow them to soak for 30 minutes. They should be flexible and soft, but not soft enough to be mashed with your fingers. Drain them and put them aside.
2. For tofu, you can thinly slice into bite sized pieces and bake on a lightly oiled pan at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes on each side, or cube the tofu and fry in about 1/2 cup oil in a very hot wok. Fry the tofu until lightly browned. Remove from the oil and drain.
3. Mix the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and sambal olek in a bowl. Stir until well blended. The sugar won't dissolve completely, but that's okay. Heat several tablespoons oil in a medium hot wok and add the noodles coating them with the oil.
4. Add the soy sauce mixture and garlic into the wok and bring to a boil while gently folding the noodles. Lower the heat a bit and keep the liquid boiling while frequently folding the noodles. Try not to break the noodles.
5. When almost all the liquid has been absorbed, add the tofu and green onions and cook for about 2 minutes longer, until the tofu is warm and the onions are bright green. Serve the Pad Thai with a heavy garnish of bean sprouts and peanuts with lime wedges on the side.