I fell in love with Thai food — and Pad Thai in particular — in my late 20s. It is something that I was never exposed to in my suburban upbringing and I don’t think my parents have ever had it. Back in the day, I used to make it every couple of weeks using the Thai Kitchen jarred sauce and would regularly indulge in the take-out version in mall food courts for when I didn’t take a lunch to work. That is, until I read an article about how much sodium and calories were in a typical portion of food court Pad Thai! It was a real eye opener and a full serving was more than 75% of my daily allotment of calories. After that I began experimenting with my own, homemade recipe.
My family loves this Clean Pad Thai and I can feel good about serving it to them. You can make it with traditional rice stick noodles, but it is just as tasty (and a tad healthier) if you use zucchini or yellow squash noodles. I also speed things up by using a bag of Japanese or Asian vegetables. A quick zap in the microwave while I’m sautéing the meat helps bring everything together in no time.
- 1 pkg rice stick noodles (227 g) OR 4-6 medium zucchini or yellow squash
- 1 c chicken stock
- 1/2 c maple syrup
- 1/2 c fish sauce
- 6 tbsp lime juice
- 4 tbsp ketchup
- 1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes (more or less according to heat preference)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 lb of meat or protein (or a combination of chicken, pork loin, tofu, or shrimp)
- 1 bag of Asian vegetables (500 g), defrosted (or 4 c of your favourite sliced vegetables)
- 1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped
- 6 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 c peanuts
- Prep the noodles, sauce, and scrambled eggs and set them aside.
- Prepare the rice noodles as per package directions OR spiralize the zucchini.
- In a small bowl, whisk together chicken stock, maple syrup, fish sauce, lime juice, ketchup, and hot pepper flakes.
- Scramble the eggs in skillet and transfer to plate.
- Cube chicken and/or pork. Heat sesame oil in a very large skillet over medium heat and add garlic. Brown meat and add shrimp after about 3 minutes.
- Add partially defrosted vegetables (or fresh veggies) and cook for about 2 minutes.
- Add rice noodles or vegetable noodles, stirring gently to distribute.
- Add sauce and bring to a gentle bubble and cook for 3 minutes or until most of the sauce is absorbed. Do not overcook as the noddles will become mushy.
- Gently add scrambled eggs, cilantro, and half of the green onions. Serve garnished with remaining green onions and peanuts.