If you ever visited a Thai restaurant or the land itself, you probably had the honor to come across their national dish, Pad Thai. In Thailand, you get to eat this delicious meal on every corner, in every restaurant, on every market. The recipes can differ a bit, but the basis is always the same. Rice noodles, eggs, crushed peanuts and fresh vegetables with the unmistakable taste of sweet and salty made by tamarind paste, fish sauce, oyster sauce and sugar. Originally this Asian dish wasn’t an invention of Thais, but the Chinese created it.
There are many foods I don’t miss a little bit and don’t have a reason to try to find a replacement. But then they are some I don’t want to renounce, and Pad Thai is one of them. The good news is that I created a version which is from taste very similar two the original recipe.
The tamarind paste which is a basis for the sauce is also replaceable for those, who are holding their carbs so low to keep their body in ketosis. For those who don’t know, ketosis is a metabolic process happening when your body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates, so it starts to burn fats. Fat converts in your liver to ketones, which then enter your bloodstream and are used as fuel by cells in the body the same way as glucose. Good option for tamarind paste, in this case, is tomato puree. I tried to replace, and you almost couldn’t recognize on the taste.
What I recommend is to prepare all the raw materials before starting to cook, because in between there won’t be much time. My recipe includes prawns because I love them and they are easy to get very fresh here in Thailand. But Pad Thai likely comes with other options, such as chicken, beef or pork. In case you go for meat, you don’t have to cook it separately because it needs more time to get well done.
For making the vegetable noodles, I recommend a noodle maker or a spiralizer. If you’re serious with low carb, they will be a big helper in your kitchen. But if you don’t feel like to buy one, never fear, there are different ways how to create them. You can use a vegetable peeler you will end up with wide, fettuccine-like slices but that is absolutely right with Pad Thai as the rice noodles are also thicker. You can also use a knife, but be careful, and as the noodles will be thicker, you need to cook them longer.
- 200 g / 7 ounces carrots
- 300 g / 10 1/2 ounces zucchini
- 300 g / 10 1/2 ounces prawns
- 150 g / 3/4 cup ounces bean sprouts
- 100 g / 1/2 cup cashew
- 2 eggs
- 1 middle onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 lime
- 30 g / 2 tablespoon tamarind paste
- 30 g / 2 tablespoon fish sauce
- 20 g / 1 1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
- ground chili, salt
- olive oil
- Clean vegetables and make noodles out of them using noodle maker, spiralizer, vegetable peeler or a knife (explained above).
- Mix tamarind paste (or tomato paste) with fish sauce and oyster sauce.
- Clean the prawns if needed or cut the meat of your selection into 2-inch pieces.
- Finely chop onion and garlic.
- Finely chop or blend cashew nuts.
- Fry prawns extra in a skillet with preheated olive oil, salt, and two unpeeled garlic cloves, around 3 minutes from both side. Put in a bowl and save for later (Skip this step if you use meat).
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large nonstick pan (I like to use wok skillet but be careful, food get burned in there easily) over high heat. Add garlic and onion, cook for 30 seconds.
- Add noodles salt them and cook for 1 minute.
- Add meat and cook for 1 1/2 minutes until mostly cooked through.
- Push to one side of the pan, pour the egg in on the other side. Scramble, then mix into chicken.
- Add bean sprouts and sauce
- Toss gently for about 1 1/2 minutes until the noodles absorb the sauce.
- Add half the cashew nuts. Toss through quickly then remove from heat.
- Serve immediately, sprinkled with remaining cashews with a sprinkle of chilli and a handful of extra bean sprouts on the side if desired (this is the Thai way!). Squeeze over lime juice before eating. Use more salt if needed. (If you’re cooking prawn version, put them on the top)