Our sixth stop on our culinary world trip will be Thailand
A kingdom unlike any other… with its kind people, lush vegetation, and intense colours and of course, Bangkok, a hustling and bustling city, with its modern skyscrapers and multi-lane highways which always seem to be jammed. In contrast the peaceful setting of a boat ride on the Chao Phraya river – one of the best ways of getting around in Bangkok besides a tuk-tuk, or the beauty of the hundreds of islands along thailand's coastline, such as Ko Phi Phi, or Krabi with their pristine beaches.
I fondly remember having the freshest, and tastiest food in Thailand, whether it was in tiny little restaurants along the beach or in the big city. So today I chose a Pad Thai recipe which unlike its many interpretations is a light, vegan, yet delicious version. This gluten- and dairy-free recipe takes a little longer to make, but the well balanced spices and flavors are worth it.
If you want to go further, mix yourself a delicious drink consisting of coconut milk, mango and pineapple or papaya, while cooking, or to accompany your Pad Thai.
If you like, decorate your table with fresh orchid blossoms and some banana leaves.
For this flavourful Pad Thai for 2-3 people you will need
I. For the sauce
1 small pot of apple sauce
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoon organic miso paste
½ a cup vegetable stock
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons organic gluten-free tamari
2 tablespoons sliced basil leaves
II. For the noodles
· 1 package of Thai rice noodles (Soba)
· 1 crown of broccoli, broken into florets
· 1 tablespoon coconut oil
· 1 cup green onions
· 1 teaspoon coriander powder
· ¼ teaspoon chilli flakes
· 2 garlic cloves finely minced
· 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
· ¼ cup vegetable stock
· ½ cup chopped cilantro
III. For the additional veggies (optional)
· 1 red bell pepper, cut in thin stripes
· 1 medium zucchini, cut I thin stripes
· 3-4 baby Bok Choi, washed and cut in thick stripes
· 1 minced garlic clove
· 1 teaspoon minced ginger
· 1 green onion chopped
· 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
· ½ teaspoon Chines five spice
· Organic gluten-free tamari to taste
If you choose to do the additional veggies you – at one stage - will need to work with two pans at the same time. If working with 2 pans seems too scary, you could also prepare the veggies ahead of time and keep them warm in the oven.
Preparing our Pad Thai
1. Blend all sauce ingredients (I.) except the fresh basil together. You can use a blender or just stir them together.
2. Add the basil after blending.
3. Set the sauce aside
4. Cook the noodles ahead, according to the package. Reduce the recommended cooking time on the package by about 1-2 minutes as you will heat the noodles again with the sauce, and you do not want them to get too soft. When you strain the noodles rinse them with cold water for a few minutes until they are not sticking at all. This is an important step as the starches in most rice noodles tend to clump together.
5. Heat the oil in a wok or a large pan over medium heat
6. Add half of the green onions (II.), garlic, ginger, the coriander powder and the chili flakes.
7. Sauté for about 3 minutes
8. Add the vegetable stock and stir a bit
9. Add the broccoli and stir
10. Cover the pan/wok, reduce the heat, and let simmer on medium/low heat for 4 minutes, stirring once in between.
Now it would be the right time to start a second pan with the additional vegetables if you chose to do so.
See all steps for preparing the veggies at the bottom as I did not want to confuse you with the preparing of the Pad Thai.
11. Add the other half of the green onions and the fresh cilantro and stir for another 2-3 minutes
12. Add the sauce and simmer for another 2-3 minutes until heated
13. Add the noodles and combine
14. Add the veggies, if chosen to do so, on top and serve right away
Steps for the additional veggies
- Heat a teaspoon of coconut oil and over medium heat
- Add the ginger, garlic, and green onion in the second pan and sauté for 2-3 minutes
- Add the veggies, half a teaspoon of salt, and half a teaspoon of chinese 5 spice
- Stir-fry over medium heat for about 5 minutes
- Add some sprinkles of tamari to taste and put on top of the Pad Thai
If you are prefer a more hearty Pad Thai, you can add some fried eggs on top or exchange the broccoli with fried chicken.
Green onions like their big brothers contain Sulphur compounds which are especially important for the liver detoxification process. Additionally, they have a good amount of Vitamin C and several phytonutrients like the antioxidant Quercetin.
Broccoli belongs to the family of cruciferous vegetables well-known for their cancer fighting properties containing sulforaphane as well as Indol-3-Carbinol which supports the liver in detoxifying (Phase II).
Garlic is not only supporting heart health and liver detoxification, but it also is a natural antibiotic which, contrary to a regular anti-biotic, is strengthening the gut flora.
Ginger is well known for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Fresh grinded ginger in hot water with a little honey is my go to recipe when I feel a cold coming. Ginger is also famous for its stomach-soothing properties, it can calm an upset stomach and supports digestion in general.
Miso and Tamari are made of soy. Soy got a bad reputation as most soy in North America is genetically modified. Therefore, I highly recommend choosing organic miso resp. organic tamari. Unfortunately, soy is one of the most common food allergens like nuts, dairy, gluten, eggs, or nightshades. Yet fermented soy like in miso or tamari is usually easier to digest. It even supports a healthy microbiome as it contains a lot of good gut bacteria comparable to a probiotic. So, if you are not sensitive to soy try these healthy products. Soy also contains isoflavones like genistein and daidzein which can play an important role in preventing hormone-related cancers. So-called lignans which contain Phyto-estrogens can support woman in menopause.
Bok choi is part of the cabbage family and contains a significant amount of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and K.