Zucchini-noodle Pad Thai
“Tick, tick, tick”- that sound was my first encounter with Pad Thai.
It was a few lifetimes ago, on one of my first holidays outside Europe. I had been in the country only a few hours and was waking up from a jet lagged coma in a tiny Bangkok hotel room.
At first I wasn’t sure whether the “tick, tick, tick” belonged to the world of my dreams or this exotic foreign land. I lifted a dream heavy hand to pull back the curtains (not too hard to do, as the room was only a few centimetres wider than the bed). The world outside had changed whilst I had been napping: night had fallen and the day’s desolate street had tuned into a bright and buzzing stage.
There was a crowd in a circle on the street below. At the heart of all, there was a little aluminium cart. Blue flames licking a wok. A man industriously working a stir-fry.
“Tick, tick, tick” and moments later I was holding a little square plastic tub. At first I was a little disappointed, that all this anticipation delivered no more than a few noodles, some bits of chicken and a few diced veg. But then I used my flimsy chopsticks to slide a bite into my mouth; an amazing flavour explosion hit me: sweet first, followed by spicy- salty and then the lightest touch of sour.
I experimented for a while with different recipes to get as close as I could to the memory of that taste. This time I combined the traditional flavours of Pad Thai with one of my newer discoveries: zucchini noodles. I was amazed how well they worked in this dish. If you do not feel inclined to take a julienne cutter – even better a spiral cutter – to a zucchini, this recipe works just as well with the customary rice noodles.
A plate of Pad Thai always takes me down memory lane for a few moments. But then it mainly makes me smile at all those new discoveries and adventures that lie ahead.
1-2 zucchini (or rice noodles)
150g raw prawns
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp tamarind sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
pinch of dried chilli
optional: 2 level tbsp dried shrimp
1/2 red onion or 1 shallot
2 garlic cloves
1 red chilli
100g bean sprouts
- If making zucchini noodles: Use a spiral- or julienne cutter to cut the zucchini into noodles. When using a spiral cutter, break the strands about three times as they are too hard to eat when they are too long.
- If using rice noodles: bring water to the boil and prepare the noodles according to packet instruction.
- Peel and devein the prawns.
- In a small pan combine the lime juice, fish sauce and tamarind sauce and brown sugar. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar and taste – add more of any of the ingredients as you wish. Season with dried chilli to taste. Set aside.
- If using dried shrimp: Pour some of the boiling water on the shrimp. Allow to sit 10 minutes.
- Thinly slice the spring onion.
- Chop the coriander.
- Slice onion into very thin half moon slices.
- Deseed and chop the chilli.
- Fry onion, chilli, garlic on a high heat until just soft.
- Drain the dried pawns and add, keeping the heat high.
- Add the noodles to the hot pan. Heat until the zucchini wilts (You are looking for the texture of al dente pasta.)
- Add the sauce.
- Push the noodles to the side. Add the prawns and black pepper. Cook until the prawns are just pink.
- Toss in the bean sprouts. Move all to the side again.
- Add the eggs. Pierce the yolks and, when they start to set on the bottom, scramble. Stir vigorously until almost set and then mix into the noodles.
- Add half spring onion and coriander (and peanuts).
- Arrange on a serving plate and sprinkle with remaining spring onion and coriander (and peanuts).
- Cut the lime in the wedges and serve on the side.
- this is a dish of its own right, but you can add
- steamed bok choy
- Thai fish cakes
Replace the prawns with a combination of chicken and tofu
Some of the health benefits
Click on the links to discover some of the health benefits of bean sprouts or zucchini
What a delicious low-carb option. Thanks for the recipe!
Zucchini noodles really are one of the most amazing carb replacements I know!
Delicious option, and a great way to use up the stack of zucchini when they are in season here.
Zucchini noodles are a great way to turn stacks of zucchinis into platefulls of deliciousness 🙂
I love the way you cook lots of healthy food. If only I was your neighbour, I would apply for a job as a taste taster. I love the presentation and the photo. You know I’ve never really learnt to eat with chopsticks. I have lots of them, just haven’t had the energy and enthusiasm to try. Thanks for sharing. Noodle Pad Thai!
I would love to have you over for dinner – just say when 🙂
I decided a few years ago that I enjoy eating so much that I never want to have to curb my appetite or deny myself pleasure…but I also want to stay healthy and keep my shape. So instead of focusing on “not eating” I focussed on “eating more”- more vegetables, more pulses and more alternative grains…and more satisfaction 🙂
I am trying hard to follow your footsteps…one day I’ll get there!!! I’ve been eating more veggies in 2014 for sure. Have a good night!
An awesome low-carb meal, Afra.
Thank you so much, Angie!
So good yummy!
So nice to see you drop by and leave a comment….and such a nice one at that 🙂
Yum this is such a creative take on pad thai! I really want to make this now 🙂
I’ll happily swap you a portion for those amazing coyo choco treats 🙂
My folks went to Thailand last year. There were two things they raved about, from the food & spices, to the massages. It was heavenly by all accounts! Love your descriptive words about travelling & waking up in a foreign land. Reminds me of the time my guy & I arrived into Vietnam late at night and devoured our first meal!
Oh your comment brought back a caleidoscope of memories: the food in thailand is mindblowing and so are the massages (I still remember my favourite masseuse smelling of cookies and coconut oil). And vietnam: the first night braving the traffic to be rewarded with a spicy plate of noodles! I have to go back to Vietnam – what were your favourite places (foodie or otherwise?)
I love Thai flavors and know how good your zucchini noodles are in your delicious dish. It seems we both have created similar dishes recently. I have used spaghetti squash as well as zucchini and carrot in dishes as the noodles and know how well they work. Well done…I can’t wait to try your version. 🙂
“Great minds….. ” 😉 And I am certainly giving your recipe a try – it looks fabulous!
A great story, my friend. I love a good tasty home-made Pad Thai any day,…yours looks very scrumptious too. x
Thank you sweetie! x
Looks like a delicious and healthy version of a take-out favorite.
It really is amazing how simple it is to make at home.
What a gorgeous dish! Yum.
That is so sweet of you to say!
I love pad thai! Anytime I go to a thai restaurant I alway order it! Your dish looks really yummy…
It really is such a fabulous dish – sweet, spciy all in one bowl!