Last weekend I started feeling really sick. Like, really sick. I felt alternating intense hits of hot and cold passing through my body in undulant, slow waves. Each limb attached to me suddenly weighed 800 pounds and was throbbing uncontrollably. All my muscles became so heavy, I couldn’t manage to pick them up long enough to take a single step. Surges of nausea swept over me with a vengeance. I was prepared to lay in bed and just binge watch Sex and the City for the duration of the day until it passed when I looked down and noticed a gigantic purple rash spreading over my chest. Vibrant, bursting circles began multiplying by the minute. That was it. I gathered all my strength and headed to the doctor’s office.
The nurses ran some tests, took my temp, collected some blood, and assured me the doctor would be back in a few minutes to diagnose my symptoms.
Chewing my nails and going out of my mind with anxiety, I waited alone in the cold fluorescent lit room until I heard a couple knocks on the door. THUD. THUD. THUD. The doctor entered the room, sat down on his stool, and sighed heavily. “Cory,” he began…
My heart sank. Was I dying? Would I live to see 27? ……WHO WOULD WATER MY HERBS?!??
He took out his pen and clipboard and asked, “When is the last time you had a taco?” I racked my brain, searching for a legitimate answer…but nothing. When when WHEN??? Oh god, I clutched my heart. It has been at least 2 weeks. Holy shit how did I let this go on for so long? How could I have done this to myself?? I reiterated my answer to the doc, letting out several sobs that contained equal parts shame and pure terror.
He gave me a prescription for Vitamin T, one of the most crucial nutrients known to man, and thus, I went home and made some pad thai tacos to ease the pain and bring the fever down.
It worked. I was feeling better within minutes. These gems are an exotic twist on an essential staple of my diet; tacos. But tofu…in TACOS? QUE? Friends, take it eassssssy. Tofu is a great source of plant-based protein…for you dairy-free peeps it’s also full of calcium and so easy to prepare– if you’ve never ventured into tofu-territory, check out my post and edu-micate yo’self. The tofu is fried up in a spicy, extra tangy soy sauce & peanut butter crema (loaded with monounsaturated fats which are key for heart health). The tacos are finished off with vitamin-B-rich sauteed shiitake mushrooms for a delicate chew and topped with fresh zesty (and antioxidant heavy) cilantro. Ole, pad thai style.
Pad Thai Tacos
Makes ~6-8 tacos
For the sauce: (recipe adapted from my boyfriend’s mama 😉 )
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1/4 cup tamari (or soy sauce)
- 1/4 cup water + more if you a thinner consistency is desired
- 5 garlic cloves. peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 1-in piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 T tamarind paste (can also use sugar)
- 3 T rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 T peanut, sesame, or hot chili oil
- 1 thai chili, unseeded (omit if you’re too wiener for some spice)
For the tacos:
- 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
- 1 14-oz block firm tofu
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1-2 medium carrots, grated
- 1 red/yellow bell pepper, chopped
- corn tortillas
- 1-2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil (for cooking)
- salt and pepper to taste
- First make dat peanut sauce. Throw all ingredients into a food processor or a high-powered blender and whiz them all up until you get a smooth creamy sauce. Add more water if a thinner consistency is desired. Set aside.
- Prepare the tofu and chop into cubes. If you’re standing there scratching your privates in bewilderment, check out my post on how to prepare tofu.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the tofu in a baking dish oiled with a bit o’ olive oil and cover with a few spoonfuls of the sauce. Bake for 30-35 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until tofu is a bit browned on the edges. Remove from oven and spoon a few more spoonfuls of sauce on top.
- While the tofu is cookin’ whip out a medium skillet and heat up a teaspoon or so of olive oil over medium heat. Add shitake mushrooms. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until they start to get tender. Sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper and set aside.
- Heat tortillas in a dry skillet over medium-low until flimsy, spread a few baked tofu cubes on each one, douse in more peanut sauce, and garnish with ‘shrooms, carrots, bell pepper, and cilantro on top. Taco bout derrrricious.