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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pad Thai -- Well, sort of...

Let me kick this off by saying Pad Thai is one of my all time favorite meals. Traditionally it's made with rice noodles, bean sprouts, some type of meat or seafood (or heaven help us... tofu) and a to die for sauce that usually has brown sugar and a mountain of salt. Oh, and let's not forget the crushed peanuts. This meal is a paleo disaster and then some. There is absolutely nothing good that can come out of this dish.

For a while I was using it as my cheat meal. Every time we would go out for Thai food, I would order a giant portion of Pad Thai and leave nothing behind but the plate. And then it would hit me... that bloated, miserable feeling from the carb insurgency and pure sugar assault. After the initial bloat, I would get miserably tired and come down with a huge headache. Pad Thai never did this to me before starting paleo. I have since learned that this meal is the equivalent of a gastro-intestinal Hannibal Lechter. It entices you with it's charm and alure and when you least expect it, it eats your guts and leaves you reeling and clinging to life wishing you had never known the name Pad Thai (or Hannibal Lechter for that matter).

So I was at a cross roads. I knew Pad Thai was no longer a welcome dish in my meal plan, but I love the flavor and the texture so very much. There was only one option to consider. Remake Pad Thai into a paleo friendly version.

What you'll need:
1 pound of cooked large shrimp or you can use any meat you wish
1/2 a head of cabbage finely shredded (use a mandolin if you have one)
1 onion finely sliced (mandolin)
3 ribs of celery sliced on the diagonal
2 bell peppers, sliced into thin strips (use 2 different colors)
1 bunch of green onions, sliced into 2 inch pieces (separate whites from greens)
2 eggs
lime wedges
a small handful of cashews
coconut oil

for the sauce:
2 T. sesame oil
3 T. olive oil
1 T. chili garlic sauce (made by Huy Fong Foods available at grocery store)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 T. lime or more to taste
you may want to double this sauce if you want more intense flavor

What you do:

Start off by making a simple omelet from the eggs and shred it into thin strips. Next, heat a large saute pan with coconut oil. Add in all the veggies except for the onion greens. Saute quickly at high heat until veggies are crisp/tender. Once the veggies are done add the onion greens, shrimp and sauce and stir until shrimp are heated through. Not too long now... you want shrimp not rubber.

Place into shallow serving bowls and top with a few cashews and additional lime wedges. If you want to get all crazy you can chop some cilantro and add it over the top. It's a great flavor... I just didn't have any. This is a great dish that is Pad Thai-esque. The cabbage turns out to be quite noodlie and I can breath easy knowing that my craving is satisfied without the empty carbs, sodium explosion and sugar rush. I hope you like this as much as I do.



  1. No fish sauce or Tamarind but looks good...I'm assuming the lack of fish sauce is due to sodium...

    My wife loves Pad Thai, so I will have to make her this next week.

    I might throw in some Stevia to sweeten it up a bit.

    Thanks for the inspiration...

  2. Hmmm, interesting. I might have to try this, because the Thai Delivery guy knows me on a first name basis (seriously).

  3. Wow this just made my mouthwater. I have just recently started learning and trying to apply the Paleo diet to my life... although I have a long way to go, this post made me extremely happy as I am a die-hard pad thai lover like you!!! Thank you for posting this, I'm going to make it!

  4. Yes, no fish sauce because of the MASSIVE amount of sodium. No tamarind because I didn't want to add sugar or sweetener. This is why I say Pad Thai-esque. It's a good paleo version but remember, it's different than the "real thing".

  5. I was excited to see this recipe because our mostly-paleo household almost always goes for Thai food when we (rarely) eat out. I don't have the same nasty reaction you do to noodle-y dishes, but I definitely don't scarf 'em down the way I used to.

    In any case, I thought this was a good recipe. I skipped the green onions, cashews, and limes this go around because I didn't have any handy. The sesame oil flavor was a little strong in the sauce for me, so I'll put less in next time. I also added a few tablespoons of soy sauce. The garlic chili sauce gave it a nice hint of heat; overall I am really pleased. Thanks for sharing this!

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    The meaning of this is that you actually kill fat by eating Coconut Fats (also coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

    These 3 researches from big medicinal journals are sure to turn the traditional nutrition world upside down!