Wednesday, March 12, 2014

N is for: Noodleless Pad Thai {with a Spiralizer}

So believe it or not, I’ve managed to stick with this Slow Carb diet for almost two months now (aside from my recent California vacation/food binge). I never thought I’d say this, but I feel fantastic. I seem to have more energy, and I’ve trimmed down to my pre-“SireSF” self. Even my skin seems healthier.

I have more motivation to work out because I’m actually seeing results. I’ve gotten over the hump of having these fits of what I call “salad rage” at the end of the week where I felt I might die a slow carb death of spinach and balsamic vinegar. 

Cheat day is filled with things like homemade macaroni and cheese or homemade pizza or a trip to Plan B burger instead of a large grab bag from Taco Bell. (What can I say? Moment(s) of weakness).

I think the key is finding ways to enjoy delicious things without the carbs to eat during the week. For example… this Noodleless Pad Thai. I already have a healthier Pad Thai recipe I posted a few months ago on the blog. This one takes it a step further and subs zucchini noodles for the rice noodles. No, it’s not exactly the same as real noodles…. But it IS just as delicious.


Now, of course, you can make zucchini noodles (or “zoodles”) with a julienne peeler, which will only set you back a few bucks. BUT…. My friend Tricia recently introduced me to the world of spiralizing


 Guys… this is a game changer.

Not only is it easier, it’s  also faster, and it makes prettier noodles. And most of all, it’s just plain FUN.

Yes, I realize my kitchen gadget addiction may have reached new levels with this one, but I really do enjoy spiralizing vegetables. I’m going to try to come up with some new recipes periodically, but if you REALLY want to get into the world of spiralizing, you gotta check out the blog Inspiralized. It basically has every recipe and vegetable you could ever dream of spiralizing. Ali does feature a Pad Thai recipe on there, but I decided to make my own version using a variation of my other recipe.


Since I did shrimp last time, I decided to make chicken Pad Thai this go around. Depending on how hungry you are, I’d say budget about 5-6 ounces per person, along with a large sprialized zucchini per person as well (feel free to use more though… it’s just veggies!) Mix together a teaspoon of cornstarch with two tablespoons of soy sauce (Tamari for gluten free) and pour over thinly sliced chicken, coating evenly. Set this aside while you prep everything else.


For an authentic tasting Pad Thai sauce, you will need a few specialty ingredients. The beauty of Pad Thai is that it’s sweet, sour and salty all at the same time. For the sweet, I recommend using palm sugar if you can find it. The sour comes from Tamarind paste, and the salty comes from fish sauce. I found these in the Asian section at Whole Foods.

You should be able to find fish sauce, but tamarind and palm sugar might be a little more difficult. If you can’t find Tamarind, you can try subbing with some rice wine vinegar, and if you can’t find palm sugar, try regular brown sugar. (However, I can’t guarantee authenticity or taste with either).

Also be aware… fish sauce is VERY salty, (and very high in sodium), so I put a recommended amount of 2 tablespoons. Add more if you prefer a saltier dish, OR you can always season with more fish sauce at the end. I added some chili paste as well for spice.


This recipe will go fast, so make sure all of the ingredients are prepped ahead of time. Heat a large wok over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of oil with a high smoke point, such as peanut oil or safflower oil. Heat a couple of minutes until a small piece of shallot will start to sizzle as soon as you add it to the pan. Add in the shallots and garlic and stir-fry for about 30-60 seconds, or until fragrant. Add chicken and stir fry until just cooked through.

Now, I found it easiest to remove the chicken and cook all of the ingredients separately before adding everything together (also better for if you are doubling the recipe). But if you have a large wok and feel confident, you can quickly do everything in the same pan.


If you are frying separately, remove the chicken to a plate and keep warm. Crack an egg or two into the pan and fry until scrambled. (Otherwise, you can just push the ingredients to the side and fry the egg alongside the chicken).


Remove egg and add a little more oil. Add green onions and zucchini noodles to the pan and stir fry 30-60 seconds. Slowly add a tablespoon of sauce at a time until the “zoodles” have your desired texture and “sauciness.” (I like mine slightly al dente with plenty of sauce). Fold the chicken and eggs back in and add more sauce if necessary. If you feel it needs more salt, season with more fish sauce. Heat another minute or so until everything is warmed through.


Serve with fresh bean sprouts, cilantro, lime wedges and crushed peanuts. Fresh, easy, and guilt free!


P.S. Also had to share this cilantro trick I recently discovered. Keep cilantro in the fridge stored in a cup of water with a plastic bag over the top and your cilantro will keep much longer!


What about you guys? Have you ever tried a spiralizer? If so… what’s your favorite veggie to spiralize? Zucchini? Cucumber? Butternut Squash? Sweet potatoes? One of my favorites is simply zucchini noodles with my easy marinara sauce and meatballs (store bought or homemade). The possibilities are endless... Happy Spirilzing!

Noodleless Chicken Pad Thai

by Jaymee Sire
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes minutes
Keywords: stir-fry entree gluten-free low-carb zucchini chicken Thai

Ingredients (2 servings)
    For the Pad Thai:
    • 8-12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs, thinly sliced
    • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or Tamari (for gluten free)
    • 2-3 large zucchinis
    • 1-2 tablespoons oil with high smoke point (such as peanut or safflower)
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 shallots, chopped
    • 1-2 eggs
    • 2 green onions, cut into ¾” pieces
    For the sauce:
    • 1.5 tablespoons tamarind paste (possible substitute: rice wine vinegar)
    • ¼ cup Palm Sugar, broken down if solid (possible substitute: brown sugar)
    • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (or more to taste)
    • 1 teaspoon of chili paste (more or less to taste)
    • squeeze of fresh lime juice
    For the garnish:
    • fresh bean sprouts
    • fresh cilantro
    • lime wedges
    • crushed peanuts
    Instructions
    1. Mix together a teaspoon of cornstarch with two tablespoons of soy sauce (Tamari for gluten free) and pour over thinly sliced chicken, coating evenly. Set this aside while you prep everything else.
    2. Using either a julienne peeler or a spiralizer, make zucchini “noodles.” Set aside.
    3. Mix all of the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl until sugar is completely dissolved. Sample for taste (looking for a nice balance of sweet, sour, and salty) and adjust flavors depending on your preference.
    4. Heat wok over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of oil and heat a couple of minutes until a small piece of shallot will start to sizzle as soon as you add it to the pan. Add in the shallots and garlic and stir-fry for about 30-60 seconds, or until fragrant. Add chicken and stir fry until just cooked through.
    5. Remove the chicken to a plate and keep warm. Crack an egg or two into the pan and fry until scrambled. Remove from wok.
    6. Add another tablespoon of oil and stir fry green onions for 30 seconds. Add zucchini noodles and cook another 30 seconds. Add sauce, 1 tablespoon at a time until zucchini reaches desired texture and flavor.
    7. Return chicken and eggs to pan, folding into the noodles and thoroughly coating with sauce (adding more sauce if needed).
    8. Serve with fresh bean sprouts, cilantro, lime wedges and crushed peanuts.
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