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Maybe Paleo Pad Thai is an oxymoron. But if this is wrong then I don’t want to be right. Although ingredient substitutions have been made due to dietary consideration (this is Paleo Pad Thai, y’all) I’ve made every effort to adhere to a traditional Pad Thai recipe in every other way.
I did a bit of research in preparation for developing my own Paleo Pad Thai recipe and discovered that many common ingredients in Pad Thai recipes are not considered traditional. For example, meats like beef and chicken were never a part of Pad Thai until the dish crossed the ocean to the United States and changed to suit Western preferences. Even egg is considered very optional in the traditional recipe! Cuisine is a living thing that can and should incorporate change, but for my first attempt at Paleo Pad Thai I decided to keep things as traditional as possible. So brace yourself, because that means no beef, pork, sesame oil, soy sauce, carrots, Sriracha, ginger, lemongrass, cilantro, cabbage or basil. The foundation recipe for Pad Thai includes none of these, and I decided to keep it simple for myself and include none of them in this basic adaption to Paleo.
However, liberties were taken as necessary to convert the dish to Paleo Pad Thai. I substituted cashews for peanuts, pickled mustard stem for pickled turnip (the latter is made with sugar), coconut oil for vegetable oil and I omitted the tofu entirely. Shirataki noodles, made of yam, were my choice of noodle to replace rice or wheat varieties. This proved to be a stress-free decision, because while many Pad Thai recipes stress the need to monitor the cook time closely to ensure the noodles aren’t under-cooked or over-cooked… Shirataki noodles are actually NO cook! They are perfectly soft directly from the package and showed no change in consistency when exposed to heat. Win, win, win.
A few tips before you begin:
Save yourself the trouble and either source everything from Amazon, or plan a trip to the biggest Asian market in your area. Now is not the time for Whole Foods.
Because of its quick cooking method over high heat, this Paleo Pad Thai is a wild ride once it begins. Prep your ingredients before you begin! I say this as someone who never preps her ingredients except for this dish. Soak and chop your shrimp, mix your sauce, chop your vegetables, pull everything out of the fridge.
It’s also important not to crowd your pan, so don’t try to cheat and double the recipe in the skillet. Make 1-2 servings at a time, folks.
With all that being said, enjoy Paleo Pad Thai! ♥
Paleo Pad Thai
This recipe gives traditional Pad Thai a Paleo spin while keeping the flavors authentic.
Soak the dried shrimp in warm water until they begin to soften, then finely dice.
Mix the fish oil, tamarind paste and coconut sugar. Set aside.
Drain the noodles, set aside.
Thinly slice the shallots, dice the pickled mustard stem, and cut several 1" lengths from the bundle of chives. Save the rest of the chives to serve with the finished dish.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp of coconut oil then add the sliced shallots. Cook the shallots over high heat, keeping them moving, until they begin to lose their color but don't burn (only a minute or so if the skillet is hot enough).
Add the chopped mustard stem and diced shrimp. Stir for one minute, letting the flavors mix, then add the drained noodles. Stir to mix the contents of the skillet, then push to one side to make room for the eggs.
Crack the eggs on one side of the skillet, and scramble briefly before working into the rest of the skillet's ingredients.
Turn of the heat under the skillet, and add the chopped cashews, bean sprouts and chopped chives. Mix thoroughly, letting the remaining heat wilt the vegetables.
Serve hot, with the reserved chives, red pepper flakes, limes and more coconut sugar, cashews and bean sprouts.
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