After holidays in Singapore, I got inspired to make more Asian dishes. My paleo Pad Thai recipe has a delicious sauce that makes it taste like the real thing, but there's no MSG or other nasty additives. I've used kelp noodles, bean sprouts and carrots, in place of rice noodles. You get a whole heap of healthy ingredients in this tasty Thai meal. Add extra spices if you like your Thai, hot and spicy.
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Add drained kelp noodles to a heat proof bowl and pour boiling water over the noodles, set aside to soften. Remove green part of spring onions, finely slice the white part. Slice green tops thinly on an angle and put aside 1 cup to add to recipe and 2 tablespoons separately to sprinkle on top before serving. Finely julienne carrot to make noodles, I use a zig zag peeler for the carrots but you can use a mandolin slicer or a spiriliser (I find it easy if you lay the carrot on a chopping board and hold top of carrot down, stroke the zig zag peeler down the carrot, then turn to finish, if you use a mandolin you will just have shorter strands).
Make sauce: To a jug add cashew butter, tamarind puree, maple syrup and paprika, use a fork to mix to a smooth paste. Add remaining sauce ingredients and beat with the fork to combine well. Set aside.
Heat a large 32cm frying pan or similar, on high. Add 1 teaspoon of coconut oil and roast cashews until lightly brown. Set cashews aside. Pour in eggs and scramble, remove and set aside.
Turn heat up to high and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add small bite size pieces of chicken, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook each side for approximately 2 - 3 minutes or until colour has changed and only very lightly browned. Remove to a plate and put aside.
Reduce heat to medium, add white parts of spring onions, garlic and ginger. Add extra oil if needed, stir while cooking for 1 minute. Add carrot and stir through onions and cook for a further minute. Return chicken to the pan with the sauce, mix well and bring sauce to a simmer, reduce heat if needed.
Drain kept noodles (I like to snip noodles in a few places to make them shorter and easier to eat), add to pan and mix through. Add bean sprouts making sure all ingredients are distributed evenly, simmer for 3 - 4 minutes allowing kelp noodles to soften further. Adjust seasoning if required.
Stir through scramble eggs and 1 cup of sliced green tops.
Use tongs to place Pad Thai in bowls or on plates, sprinkle with cashews and a few sliced green onion tops.
Kelp is a sea vegetable. Kelp noodles are made with mineral-rich sea kelp, one of the best sources of iodine, they are raw, low in carbs and calories. Choose a brand that comes in sodium salt, extracted from brown seaweed and no other ingredients. They are excellent in salads, stir-fries, soups, in the place of grain noodles. They have a neutral flavour which makes them very versicle. Drain noodles before using, if you like them softer, place in a heat proof bowl and pour over boiling water, let sit while you prepare your other ingredients. Drain before adding to recipe. Purchase from health food stores or online.
Other names for spring onion are scallion or green onion. They have hollow green leaves and a small root bulb and can be eaten raw or cooked. The green tops are also used sliced or chopped as a garnish. The green tops are a good source of vitamin C and beta carotene.
This crunchy orange root vegetable is rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the liver. They are good for the eyes and improve night vision. You get vitamin A and a host of other powerful health benefits from carrots, including cancer prevention, helps prevent infections and heart disease, protects teeth and gums and promotes healthier skin.
Coconut oil is one of the most nutritious fats to cook and bake with. Use organic extra-virgin coconut oil which is unrefined and unbleached from non GMO coconuts. Coconut oil has a high smoking point and it is slow to oxidize due to its high saturated fat content, thus, resistant to going rancid. Some studies suggest coconut oil helps with digestion, including irritable bowel, tummy bugs, candida and parasites due to this oil containing short term medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs), which is a healthy form of saturated fat.
Cashews work well in a paleo lifestyle, as they are so versatile. They can be used to make dairy free milk, cashew butter, cashew cream or sour cream, dips and many more. Where possible, it is best to soak nuts before using to assist with digestion. Eat them raw but in moderation as they are quite high in omega 6. Stay away from store bought roasted nuts that have been cooked in canola, sunflower or similar vegetable oils.
I have used large free range or organic eggs from a 700g carton in my recipes. Eggs are one of the few foods considered to be a complete protein because they contain all 9 essential amino acids, also studies have shown that lutein (yellow colour) in egg yolks protects against the progress of early heart disease.
Choose grass fed, free-range chicken and organic if available. Chicken is a meat that gets injected with hormones to plumb it up, shop carefully. A good source of protein.
Raw pink Himalayan salt crystals is unlike common table salt which can be a highly refined industrial byproduct, otherwise know as sodium chloride. Himalayan salt is completely pure and may naturally balance the body's alkaline/acidity and regulate water content. In addition Himalayan salt helps in the absorption of nutrients from food and contains many trace minerals for healthy cell structure. I purchase fine pink Himalayan crystal salt so I can use it in my shaker and for cooking.
Garlic is a close relative to the onion and has been used throughout history for both medicinal and culinary purposes. In most of my recipes I use minced garlic as I find it distributes better throughout the dish. When in a hurry I use organic minced garlic which I purchase in glass jars and store in the fridge. When garlic powder is needed for a particular recipe, I use 'Simply Organic' brand. Why is garlic so good for us? It is an immune booster, antibiotic, good for the heart, cancer fighter and it's also knew as a weight loss aid (appetite suppressant).
Ginger root is widely used as a spice but also for medicinal purposes. It is a hot spice which you will find in many commercial curry powders. It's often used to prevent motion sickness and nausea. Some studies have shown joint swelling in people suffering with arthritis experience less pain and swelling when taken daily. I like to use fresh minced ginger in my meals and dry ground ginger in baked goods.
Bean sprouts also know as bean shoots are a common ingredient used in Asian cuisine. Bean shoots are grown from mung bean seeds, they add great flavour and texture to dishes. A great source of dietary fibre, vitamins C and K, protein, magnesium and rich in digestible energy.
Cashew butter/spread is made by blending cashew nuts down to make a smooth paste. I also like to add a little pink Himalayan salt and a drizzle of macadamia oil to produce a delicious nut butter. You will find a recipe in my cookbook on page 306. Cashew butter has a neutral taste, which makes it perfect for adding to recipes to give a creamy texture without affecting the recipes flavour. If you are purchasing cashew butter/spread, make sure it contains 100% cashews, with not unhealthy oils, gums or thickeners.
Tamarind is a bushy tree. The tree produces edible, pod-like fruit, which is used in different cuisines around the world, it is also used in traditional medicine. Tamarind is best described as sweet and sour in taste. Choose a brand that only contains tamarind and a little water, no sugar. I purchase Ayam brand, it's a seedless puree, read labels to check for any added ingredients. Refrigerate after opening.
Maple syrup is an earthy, sweet tasting amber liquid that is produced by boiling down the sap of maple trees. Use organic 100% maple syrup which is a natural food sweetener, not a flavoured maple syrup. Pure maple syrup contains a decent amount of some minerals, especially manganese and zinc, some traces of potassium and calcium but it does contain a whole bunch of sugar. I try to reduced the amount of sweetness in each recipe to the lowest possible without compromising taste. Feel free to adjust to your liking. I use maple syrup in place of raw honey when I don't want the strong honey flavour coming through in a recipe. I have paleo cookies and desserts in my cookbook made from whole food ingredients with natural sugars but please don’t overindulge. Use as a treat only for special occasions.
Paprika is a spice made from grinding dried mild and sweet red chili peppers. Paprika is used to add colour and flavour to a dish. It has a sweet pungent flavour and distinct bitter aftertaste. Even just a small sprinkle of paprika can deliver antioxidants and nutrients like, Vitamin A, E and B6, also iron. I purchase an organic paprika made by 'Simply Organic' (from iherb.com). Paprika is a nightshade.
An excellent soy free alternative to soy sauce and tamari. It comes from the sap of the coconut tree and has a sweeter flavour than soy sauce and is not as salty. Coconut aminos can be purchased from health food stores or online. This is one of my favourite ingredients.
Just a little of this sauce will make a big difference to a recipe. Fish sauce is used in Asian cooking, be adventurous and add to other types of dishes to enhance the flavour. Read your label when purchasing as you just want fish and salt, no preservatives or sugar added.
Use organic white wine vinegar if possible produced by slow fermentation.
Sesame seed oil adds extra flavour to Asian cooking. Purchase sesame oil that contains no MSG and no preservatives. Store in the fridge once opened. Sesame seed oil can help heart health and is good for the skin both topically and internally. It contains anti-cancer compounds, including phytic acid, magnesium and phytosterols.
A lime is a green citrus fruit. There are several species of the lime tree. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and calcium and are used to add flavour to foods and beverages.