I went to Thailand about 10 years ago and sadly missed out on this national dish. At the time i was still living under the illusion that i was allergic to all nuts and so i avoided all of them. Later, i discovered they are not a one-category food and so the likely hood of someone being allergic to all nuts is extremely unlikely. I now love peanuts but try and limit my intake after a bit of research on Omega 3 versus Omega 6. Traditional this dish is made with peanuts, which of course you can still use, but they aren’t the healthiest of nuts. There are 2 main reasons for this:
- Peanuts contain a high amount of omega-6 oils and a low amount of omega-3 oils. Perhaps you are still working under the idea that omega oils are all great and the more the merrier but in fact this isn’t the case. The ideal ratio of intake of omega 6 to omega 3 is 2:1. American’s on average have an intake of 20:1, far higher then recommended. A study by the Center of Genetics, Nutrition and Health links this excess of omega 6 oils and a deficiency of omega 3 oils to many chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancer, inflammatory and autoimmune disease. Omega 3 is inflammatory and Omega 6 causes inflammation. Many peanut butters are blended with added hydrogenated oils which again are high in Omega 6 making them even more off balance in terms of omegas.
- Peanuts are grown on the ground in hot, tropical regions making them prone to mould and mycotoxins. Many batches, even organic have been shown to contain mould spores even though you might not taste or see them. Mould can cause depression as well as bring on asthmatic conditions.
However, that being said there are ways to rebalance if you just can’t give those peanuts up!
- If you go for Jungle or Valencia peanuts these are less likely to contain mould as they aren’t grown on the ground. Valencia peanuts also contain monounsaturated fats and the antioxidant resveratrol a powerful free-radical fighter!
- Also, adding in a food high in Omega 3 when you east your peanuts would rebalance the ratio of oils. Flax seed oil could be stirred into your peanut butter (choose one with no added oils) for example. Flax seed oil is very volatile to air and light so only do this for each portion as you use it and make sure you keep it in the fridge or it will go rancid.
- Making sure you have plenty of omega 3 oils in your diet in general, would mean an occasional peanut binge wouldn’t be to hazourdous to your health. If you aren’t a vegan then fish oils are good as well as the pre-mentioned flax and hemp oils.
One of my favourite tools is my handheld travel spiralizer which makes awesome raw noodles but you can also use a vegetable peeler which is just a little bit more fiddly. If you want to get serious with your raw noodles there are many less-portable crank handle home models available including the original 5 blade Spiralizer.
Easy Raw Vegan Pad Thai
Ingredients- serve 3
1 x courgette/zucchini
1 x carrot
1 x red pepper
1 cup of beansprouts
Handful of red cabbage or Chinese leaf, finely chopped
6 x baby corn, thinly sliced
6 cup sugar snap peas, thinly sliced
1 cup of roughly chopped Almonds
For the Dressing
1 x red chilli, minced
1 x shallot, finely chopped
3 x tablespoons of tamarind paste
2 x tablespoons of agave syrup
1 x tablespoon of tamari
1 x tablespoon of lime juice
Basil leaves and mint leaves, finely chopped
- Spiralize your courgette/zucchini to make long noodle ribbons. Chop up a bit to make them easier to handle. They can be made in 3 ways-
- Use a vegetable peeler to create long strips of carrot to add a different texture to the dish,
- Combine the courgette noodles and carrot strips with all the other ingredients for the pad thai in a large serving bowl.
- To make the dressing, place all the ingredients in a jar and shake well until combines
- Pour over the pad thai and serve.
Nut Dipping Sauce
For extra decadence I recommend this yummy sauce drizzled over your pad thai. Again, I have emitted the peanut butter and used almond which you can of course ignore to get more of that traditional flavour.
Ingredients- Serves 3
3/4 cup of almond butter
1/4 cup of lemon or lime juice
2 x tablespoons of Tamari
2 x tablespoons of agave
1 inch of grated ginger
1 x teaspoon of minced red chilli
1/2 cup of coconut water or filtered water
- Blend all the ingredients until smooth with enough liquid to reach your desired consistency.
Keeps for about 3 days in the fridge and also makes a great satay style dip for vegetables and cabbage wraps.