No Nuts Pad Thai Noodles
Updated: Jan 12
Today is the day!
I am so excited friends to be sharing with you all one of my favorite go-to recipes I love to cook in the kitchen. It's a recipe that I enjoy cooking at any point throughout the year because it has a heavenly combination of both sweet and spicy that is to die for and never fails to warm the soul. As you can probably imagine over the last couple of months I have made this meal A LOT. It's now one of my favorite noodle dishes to make, it's super easy to cook, and it is my go-to comfort food hands down. I'm a little giddy and excited just typing about it, I can almost mentally taste them. It might just be the matcha kicking in from this morning but whoo-hoo, I am pumped! So without further or do, let's dive into all things, Pad Thai.
When it comes to different types of cultural cuisine, I must admit I am an absolute nut for Thai food. In almost every dish at a Thai restaurant, you can find sweet, spicy, sour, and salty all working uniquely in different plates and dishes you order, and this combination is heavenly. To this day the aroma of spices and different flavors that are all incorporated in just one curry never fails to knock my socks off every time I indulge in one when we go out to eat. The best part? This type of cuisine offers a wide variety of great vegetables and whole-grain nutrients in almost every single dish, and the recipes cooked can almost always be made gluten-free friendly and accommodate a vegan diet or plant-based lifestyle. The best part is that the food is just naturally made this way. It's also just naturally so full of flavor and spice that it tastes immaculate and absolutely delicious. In other words, Thai food is a person with a dietary sensitivities safe bet when it comes to the world of dining-in and take out.
Pad Thai was one of the multiple loved recipes I ordered all the time as a kid and well into the early half of high-school. It was as I have mentioned my favorite go-to comfort food dish in a time of dire need and something I loved to order simply if I was craving a good Thai noodle dish. When I became prone to migraines, restaurant Pad Thai like so many other dishes, and food that I was in love with went out the window. The main two ingredients that made Pad Thai, well Pad Thai were peanut butter and soy sauce. These are just two of a long list of offenders that can cause a migraine because of high tyramine commonly found in each one. I talked in length about this in my last blog post so if you suffer from migraines and you haven't heard of tyramine please go check that out. Also just google tyramine and its relationship with headaches to learn more. It is a super problematic thing for people who are prone to migraines, especially when it is in ingredients and food you love to eat and cook with.
So going to Thai restaurants shortly after my migraine diagnosis really bummed me out. I swear I would stare longly at those scrumptious noodles being brought to neighboring tables and Adeles "Someone Like You" song would begin to play in my head. Okay, that's a little bit of an exaggeration but you get the picture. In all seriousness though when you have a love for food but the food you love begins to throw your body into absolute upheaval it's sad and just downright depressing. Also to find a replacement that tastes the same or just similar enough to satisfy that craving is difficult to come by. But as I have joyously learned its not impossible friends and this recipe doesn't just double as a great source of plant protein but it is also super easy to make right in the comfort of your own kitchen!! That's right your pots and pans are calling your name, just begging to be used and this is the perfect excuse to do just that. The first thing I did when I began the process of making this recipe was immediately read all about good traditional Thai flavors and spices. I absolutely wanted to make sure I was maximizing the flavors in this recipe because of how I was going to have to alter and replace the two most important ingredients. The flavor was my insurance policy. So in place of those important ingredients, I ended up using coconut aminos as a substitute for the soy sauce and sunflower seed butter as a substitute for peanut butter. I know I have ranted before how much I adore sunbutter, so I won't repeat that said rant but instead, I will tell you that naturally, this was my first thought when it came to finding a replacement for the peanut products in this dish. It really worked out quite beautifully. I have used coconut aminos for a year now as well, it tastes very similar to soy sauce but just different enough to bring in some new flavors to dishes you use it in and the coconutty flavor addition to the noodles was a great combination with the sun butter. Sunbutter is very unique, in my opinion, it is very similar to peanut butter texture and appearance-wise, so that's why I have found it very versatile as a peanut replacement in really any dish that calls for it. It does, however, have a very distinct flavor that tends to oddly linger if it isn't combined with something else to smooth it over with the rest of the ingredients, so this is where my flavor and spice research came in handy.
My secret weapon for this recipe is ginger. The use of ginger in Thai cuisine is actually very prevalent, so much so that it is commonly known as a base ingredient for most Thai dishes. Meaning, that it is used a lot. It is just one of the many spices commonly used, other spices that are popular and relied on a lot in the world of thai cooking are cinnamon, coriander, garlic, holy basil, cumin, chili peppers and of course my home spice ginger. I feel really confident in saying that if one of these spices strikes your fancy or seems like something you would want to add to this recipe, do it. All these spices are so commonly used together that it is really easy to add one of them to a dish like this or swap in some cases one spice for another and still come out with a banging Thai food recipe that your family or friends will not shut up about. So if you don't have one of them don't be afraid to sub in one that you do have for the one you don't. I personally love to add red pepper flakes because I love spicy foods. Basil would also work nicely with the combination of flavors being used in this dish.
But back to the ginger! I use minced ginger primarily when I cook, it has a stronger, fresh flavor than say your usual ground ginger, and when making a meal like this, that is what you want from every single ingredient that you use in order to really make the dish pop and taste fantastic. Ground ginger is great, but for dishes like this, I would not recommend substituting fresh/minced ginger for ground as the measurements aren't one to one and you will defiantly lose that really important ginger flavor that comes through when you use the fresh stuff. The more fresh and organic your ingredients are the better the food is for your taste buds as well as for your mind and body. The local organic grocer I go to sells jars of fresh minced ginger which for me makes it really convenient to just toss in a pan and cook up with weeknight meals. It can also last in the fridge for ages without losing that fresh taste which is a godsend if you keep your shopping trips to a minimum like me. If you have the time and you want to go the extra step, mincing fresh ginger by hand is totally worth it as well and really takes the meal a step further in the flavor department. I personally love to do this but for those of us who are often super busy during the week and are in need of more simplicity in the evenings, don't sweat it, the jarred stuff still makes a mean pad thai sauce that doesn't fail to please your hungry stomach. The last two things I want to touch on briefly before I bring this home is why I use ACV and brown sugar in this recipe. Just like the ginger, ACV, otherwise known as apple cider vinegar is another essential ingredient that ends up playing a big part in balancing out all the flavors involved in the sauce. The ACV is also really good overall health and guts wise for you to incorporate in your diet from time to time so I like to think of it as an added bonus to the recipe rather than just another additional ingredient. It can be super helpful in aiding in healthy digestion as well as lowering your blood sugar levels and cholesterol. Its acidity though is what is straight-up magic because it works to give a really great subtle tangy flavor that the ginger can't quite give on its own. This is in my opinion is what can make or break the sauce. I have by accidentally forgotten to put in the ACV a couple of times and friends it's just not the same so I highly recommend not skimping on this ingredient. Also having a bottle of ACV lying around is great and it doesn't become a pantry potato. There are a million things you can use it for, but its use, particularly in the kitchen, is irreplaceable and I can't imagine being in mine without a big old bottle of Bragg's sitting in its rightful place atop my kitchen sink. The brown sugar is really self-explanatory. When you got all that pop and tang going on in any meal, you have to meet it somewhere in the middle with a little bit of sweetness. I am not a huge sugar person, I really try to use as little refined sugar as possible while cooking sticking to only natural maple syrup or agaves if the recipe demands it (you know, when you know chefs) but for special recipes like this one, I absolutely adore how particularly brown sugar relaxes all the different flavors. Coconut sugar is a close second best but again, there is something about the brown sugar that really gives the entire sauce a gentle warming taste that is absolute gold. Overall it has really met my standards and is some of the best quality comfort food I have been able to cook in my kitchen. So I hope that you all find this recipe as tasty as I do. I encourage you all to creative though and put your own spin on it! If your heart desires a certain spice or tad more of something you think will be a yummy addition to the party of flavor already going on in this meal trust those creative instincts of yours. I believe that it's only by daring to be creative in the kitchen that allows truly delicious food to be made. With that stay tuned friends, and most importantly stay hungry for more recipes and goodies to come. Now go, get in that kitchen, and let your creativity take you on a wild cooking adventure. Till next time, Hannah Faith The Recipe! Printer Friendly PDF
This article I found super helpful! It's about everything spice related and when it comes to cooking Thai food, understanding the importance of spice is essential. Super neat, I definitely recommend checking it out. 😊 https://www.indulgebangkok.com/2019/02/25/a-complete-guide-for-thai-herbs-and-spices/ Go follow me with the links below!
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