Day 10 – Zucchini Pad Thai, Sort of

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Pad Thai is one of my absolute FAVORITE things. If I was on Death Row and was given a choice for my last meal, I would ask for Pad Thai. I was actually getting quite good at making it right before I went on this diet. But now that I am not really supposed to eat meat, rice, soy, processed sugar, eggs, or fish sauce, the recipe I was getting good at is not going to work for me anymore.

While looking at other blogs and sites, I came across a few recipes for Raw Pad Thai made with zucchini noodles. I decided I’d try to make a cooked version with zucchini and a more authentic sauce. It’s not the perfect recipe. The zucchini didn’t quite soak up the sauce like I’d hoped it would, it was super runny so I added some arrowroot powder to thicken it and put the whole thing over quinoa. It definitely wasn’t Pad Thai, but it still tasted really good and was kind of like a Pad Thai Stir-Fry. I followed this recipe here, http://thaifood.about.com/od/vegetarianthairecipes/r/padthaiveg.htm but changed a few things to fit my needs better.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. zucchini noodles from 2-3 zucchinis
  • 4 green onions, white parts sliced and kept separate from green
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1 tsp. grated ginger
  • 1 fresh red or green thai chili, sliced
  • 2-3 cups bean sprouts
  • 1/3 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
  • lime wedges for serving
  • 1 – 2 T coconut oil for stir- frying
  • 1 T arrowroot powder (or corn starch)

     PAD THAI SAUCE:

  • 1 T tamarind paste
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 3 T coconut aminos (or tamari)
  • 1 tsp chili sauce (sambal)
  • 3 T coconut sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

Directions

  • Make zucchini noodles. I used a Benriner slicer that my boyfriend found at a garage sale for $2. You can also use a mandolin or a vegetable peeler that makes ribbon slices.

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  • If you bought a block of seedless tamarind paste, you will need to strain the pod pieces out before cooking or you will have large chunks of pod in your sauce.  Heat a 2-inch chunk of paste in a small pot with 1/4 inch of water and simmer until paste is soft, about 5 minutes. Push softened paste through a mesh strainer. The paste will stick to the back of the strainer. Push and scrape strained paste off the back until you have at least 1 tablespoon usable paste.
  • Combine ‘pad Thai sauce’ ingredients in a cup, use a small whisk or fork to dissolve the paste and coconut sugar. Note that this sauce should have a very STRONG-tasting flavor that tastes sour-sweet first, followed by salty and spicy. Set aside.
  • Make sure all of your ingredients are chopped and ready before you start cooking
  • Warm a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 T coconut oil plus the white parts of the green onion (reserve the rest for serving), garlic, ginger, and Thai chili. Stir-fry 1 minute to release the fragrance.
  • Add zucchini noodles and 1/3 of the sauce. Stir-fry everything together 1-2 minutes using tongs and gently toss. Keep adding sauce and continue stir-frying in this way 2 more minutes.
  • Make a slurry with 1 T arrowroot powder and 1 T cold water. Add to the sauce and bring to a boil, stirring constantly til sauce has thickened.
  • Switch off heat and add the bean sprouts, folding them into the zucchini noodles. Taste-test, adding more aminos for more salt/flavor. If too salty or sweet for your taste, add a good squeeze of lime juice. If too sour, sprinkle over a little more sugar. Serve immediately over rice or quinoa. Sprinkle with reserved green onion, cilantro, and ground nuts. Add wedges of fresh-cut lime on the side.  (Thai chili sauce can also be served on the side for those who likes their noodles extra spicy). Enjoy!

It sounds harder than it is, the most labor intensive part is the chopping. And scraping the tamarind paste. If you find thin tamarind paste you will not have to do this part, but I could only find the seedless block at the Asian market.  This will serve 2- 3 people. As I said before,  it’s not quite Pad Thai, but it’s really tasty.

 

 

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