In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Why is pad Thai so unhealthy? We will also give you a healthier alternative for Thailand’s notorious dish.
Why is pad Thai so unhealthy?
Pad Thai is a typical dish of Thai food, but the added sugar, salt, saturated fatty acids, and glutamate make it seem an unhealthy dish. Famous for its medium sweet and sour taste and for being present both in street food stalls (for just 1.5$) and in the most refined restaurants in that country (for 5 or more times the street price).
While it is true that many dishes are low in calories, much of Thailand’s specialties tend to promote overweight. But Thai cuisine can be healthy and beneficial; you just need to choose your dishes with care and knowledge (for all those polarized on their health). And to say, if necessary, if you do not want added sugar or salt to your dishes: “no sugar, please!” or “no salt, please!”
Is it possible to eat a healthy Pad Thai?
Of course, it is possible, but how difficult is it to create when there is no choice of carbohydrates, right? The good news is that we always have vegetables that never cease to amaze with their versatility. One of my favorites is the zucchini that can be turned into lasagna, ravioli, and even noodles.
After a quick search on the Internet, you can find the basic ingredients of pad thai: rice noodles, red pepper, and proteins such as chicken, shrimp, or tofu and peanuts. Although you can also add bean sprouts (edamame should be delicious), tamarind paste, and fish sauce, among others.
Making the perfect noodles – a trick
Noodles, for example, are ruled out if we want to cut our carb intake a bit. What is the solution? Make the noodles with zucchini. A tip is to add salt once they are cut. They are left in a colander with a bowl below and there the excess water will fall from the vegetable. I recommend this step if you don’t want your healthy pad thai to end up being a soup.
As a protein I chose chicken, but I like the other two suggested by the traditional recipe. Firm tofu is a great option for vegetarians and vegans. I also added paprika and carrot, with fibrous vegetables like these that will give us satiety without the extra carbs. And not to mention the peanut sauce, which is what provides the characteristic flavor to healthy pad thai. But hey, let’s get down to business, let’s move on to the recipe.
Healthy zucchini and chicken Pad Thai
Ingredients (for 2 VERY large or 4 medium servings):
- 2 large chicken breasts, boneless and cut into chunks
- 1/4 of a cup of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil + 1 additional tablespoon to sauté the chicken (olive works too)
- 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic + 1 teaspoon to marinate the chicken
- 1 cup of carrot grated
- 1 large red bell pepper, cut into strips
- 3 large zucchinis, cut like noodles
- Toppings: 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and a handful of coriander
For the sauce:
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/3 cup of honey
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame or olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1-2 teaspoons hot sauce
Chop the chicken breast into pieces and season with soy sauce, honey, crushed garlic, salt, and pepper to taste, reserve.
Spiralize the zucchini and place it in a colander and a bowl underneath. Sprinkle the noodles with salt and let them release excess liquid.
In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil over high heat. Sauté the marinated chicken there, leave for about 8 minutes so that the pieces are tender but well cooked. Reservation.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the carrot and the paprika strips. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the zucchini well-drained. Sauté and stir until the zucchini is warm, add the chicken and turn off the heat.
Combine the ingredients for the peanut sauce in a small skillet over low heat. Stir constantly until the peanut butter has melted and everything is combined.
Once the sauce is hot, pour over the chicken and vegetables. Saute until well combined. Serve on a plate and accompany with sesame seeds and coriander. Enjoy.
The peanut-based sauce is what gives this healthy pad thai its characteristic flavor.
We remind you that Thai cuisine can be healthy and beneficial; you just need to choose your dishes with care and knowledge (for all those polarized on their health). And to say, if necessary, if you do not want added sugar or salt to your dishes: “no sugar, please!” or “no salt, please!”
In the meantime, enjoy our healthy Pad Thai recipe! And if you have any comments or questions on the content, please let us know!