Recently on the GAPShelp Yahoo Group a post came through mentioning a contest post over at Mark’s Daily Apple, which listed 19 pages of comments for folk’s favorite paleo recipes. One of my list mates mentioned this Paleo Pad Thai recipe from The Clothes Make the Girl.
Now, I’ve never had Pad Thai. Furthermore, I’d never heard of such a thing. But as I looked at the recipe, I became enamored with the thought of making it, especially since serendipitously I’d just been gifted two 10 ounce bags of Trader Joe’s organic sugar snap peas. Also, my husband had baked some chicken thighs, and I had been trying to figure out something to use my sesame tahini I’d recently bought. I thought I could figure some way to incorporate it into this recipe.
The original recipe is not GAPS-friendly, and Mel from The Clothes Make the Girl says this about her version:
Sometimes you just want a pile of something spicy-creamy-comforting… like Pad Thai. But the original dish includes rice noodles (fail), soy sauce (fail), peanuts (fail), and sugar (fail). To make it safe for dino-chow consumption, I replaced the noodles with spaghetti squash, used coconut aminos instead of soy, recruited Sunbutter sauce as a stand in for the peanuts, and added snap peas for sweetness that also bumped up the veggie count.
THIS is Pad Thai you can feel good about emotionally and physically. I think it does a damn fine job recreating the taste and experience of eating the real deal. The mouth-feel of the spaghetti squash and sunshine sauce is pretty damn close to tender rice noodles – without the troublesome grain-poisons.
Y’all should know by now I have the dickens of a time following recipes exactly, and so mine is a bit different from Mel’s. I didn’t have sunflower butter on hand, but I did have roasted almond butter and sesame tahini. I did a quick search on the Internet to find a recipe for my sauce, and found this one: Thai Sesame Peanut Sauce from The Wannabe Chef, which I also tweaked. :-) I did not have roasted red chili paste on hand (not sure of a GAPS legal version anyway) which the author state, “If you can’t find roasted red chili paste, it’s basically just red chilis, fish sauce, garlic, and a heck of a lot of sodium.” All righty then… no fish sauce on hand. So I searched Google and found if you don’t have sardines on hand, you can use fish sauce, so I figured if I don’t have fish sauce, I’ll use sardines, which I did have on hand.
So here’s my recipe:
Thai Sesame Almond Butter Sauce
- 1 T. sardines (or 2 T. if you want more “fishy” flavor)
- 1 T. almond oil
- 1 T. Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos
- 1/4 cup roasted tahini
- 1/4 cup roasted almond butter
- 1 T. crushed garlic (about four cloves)
- 1 T. honey
- 1 t. chili flakes (or less if you don’t like things too hot)
- 1 t. sea salt
- 1 t. chili powder
Blend the sardines, almond oil and coconut aminos together so that the sardines are completely liquified. Add the remaining ingredients and mix together well. You’ll come up with a paste that looks like this:
Okay, now for the rest of the recipe:
- 3 zucchini squash, julienned
- 10 ounces sugar snap peas, sliced into slivers
- 1 onion, sliced thin
- 6 chicken thighs
- 3 eggs
- coconut oil
- 1 batch Thai Sesame Almond Butter Sauce (above)
Place chicken thighs in a pan, drizzle butter on the skins, salt and bake for one hour at 400°F or until tops are golden and juices run clear (internal temperature should be 165°F). Remove skins and roll up to place on the side of the dish. Remove meat to add later to dish.
While the chicken thighs are baking, heat about 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the sugar snap peas until they turn bright green.
Remove from the skillet, add more coconut oil and saute the onions until they are transparent. Remove from skillet.
Julienne three zucchini squash, remove strips until you get to the core where the seeds are. Add more coconut oil, saute until soft.
Using a griddle or another skillet, grease well and heat. Scramble one egg and pour onto the hot griddle. Use a spoon to spread the egg around to cover the area of the pan. Allow to cook until browned, then slide spatula under the egg and flip to the other side and allow to cook a little longer. Do the same with the other two eggs. Layer the egg “pancakes” one on top of the other, then take a knife or pizza cutter and slice the eggs into 1/2″ thick “noodles”.
When the zucchini squash is tender, remove it from the skillet. Strain it to remove any addition liquids as this will dilute the sauce and the taste and texture will be different. Now add the drained zucchini, and the sugar snap peas and onions back into the skillet and heat them up again. Add the egg noodles, and the chicken, and the sauce. Fold everything in carefully and heat thoroughly. Serve. Include rolled chicken thigh skins on the side, they are just so yummy! This was my extra addition to include them on the side.
Okay, so this meal was so delicious that the very next night I made the same thing again. I tweaked the recipe a little, but found that I liked the first night’s version better – this is why I know if you double the sardines you’ll get a slightly more fishy taste. It was okay either way, but I think I like the less fishy taste best. It’s not really all that fishy tasting, it is very slight. The eggs cooked as noodles were just so yummy, the mouth feel was very much like noodles! I really liked the sauce that I made for this dish.
My oldest son loved this dish. I served the two of us dinner, and I had enough left over for lunch the next day. It was delicious rewarmed the next day.
Like I said, I have never had Pad Thai before, so I don’t know how to compare this version to the real thing. I can only say I thought it was fantastic and I’m looking forward to making it again. My mouth is watering just looking at it.
Let me know if you try it, okay?