Pad Thai, is a savory, saucy, stir-fried noodle dish that I adore. Though the dish itself is said to have originated in China, it spread throughout Thailand in the 1930s and 1940s as street food. Using local ingredients and produce, Thai cooks transformed the dish’s flavor profile into what we recognize today. With peanuts, lime juice, ginger, chile sauce and coconut milk, this simple stir-fry has an array of harmonious flavors. I stumbled upon this yummy vegan dish by Blue Apron chefs. It’s easy to make, and a quick and delicious meal perfect for any season.
- 8 Ounces Rice Noodles
- 2 Scallions
- ½ Bunch Gai Lan
- 1 Lime
- ¼ Pound Snow Peas
- 2 Teaspoons Sriracha
- 1 Tablespoon sweet soy sauce
- 1 1-Inch Piece Ginger
- ⅓ Cup Peanut Butter
- ¼ Cup Peanuts
- 2 Tablespoons Coconut Milk Powder
Prepare the ingredients:
Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. Trim off and discard the snow pea stems; pull off and discard the tough string that runs the length of each pod. Halve the snow peas on an angle. Cut off and discard the root ends of the scallions; thinly slice the scallions, separating the white bottoms and green tops. Trim off and discard the ends of the gai lan stems. Quarter the lime. Peel and mince the ginger. In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut milk powder and ¼ cup of water.
Cook the aromatics:
In a large pan, heat 2 teaspoons of oil on medium-high until hot. Add the white bottoms of the scallions and ginger. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened and fragrant.
Add the vegetables:
Add the snow peas and gai lan to the pan of aromatics. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until the gai lan has wilted. Turn off the heat.
Cook the noodles:
While the vegetables cook, add the noodles to the pot of boiling water. Cook 4 to 6 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and set aside.
Make the peanut sauce:
While the noodles cook, in a medium bowl, combine the peanut butter, sweet soy sauce and as much of the Sriracha as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. Whisk in ¼ cup of water; season with salt and pepper to taste.
Finish & plate your dish:
Add the peanut sauce and coconut milk powder mixture to the pan of vegetables; stir until thoroughly combined. Add the cooked noodles and the juice of all 4 lime wedges. Cook on medium-high, stirring to coat the noodles, 2 to 3 minutes, or until heated through. Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the finished noodles and vegetables between 2 dishes. Garnish with the peanuts and green tops of the scallions. Enjoy!
Coconut milk powder is an ingredient in most Southeast Asian cooking and is not the liquid inside a coconut. Coconut milk is classified as thick, thin, or coconut cream. Canned coconut milk separates naturally and the top layer is the coconut cream. This top layer is dehydrated to make coconut milk powder. In a pinch, you could use canned coconut milk to replace the coconut milk power and the 1/4 cup water that the recipe calls for.
Benefits of Bok Choy
One cup of bok choy has just nine calories and provides protein, dietary fiber and almost all the essential vitamins and minerals you need. This Chinese cabbage is a nutrient-dense food that offers several health benefits. Here are my top four:
One cup of shredded bok choy has 34 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C and more than a full day’s intake of vitamin A. Vitamin C works as an antioxidant in the body, protecting cells from damage by neutralizing free radicals, or unstable molecules that result from vital chemical processes. Bok choy contains lutein and zeaxanthin too, which are antioxidants that protect the eyes and lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
2. Strong Bones
In addition to calcium, you need magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin K to build and maintain strong bones. One cup of shredded bok choy delivers at least 3 percent of the recommended daily intake of magnesium and phosphorus, 7 percent of calcium and 26 percent of vitamin K.
3. Heart Health
One cup of bok choy provides 11 percent of the recommended daily intake of both folate and vitamin B-6. Folate and vitamin B-6 remove the amino acid homocysteine from the blood. This is important because high levels of homocysteine increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. It also has 4 percent of the daily value of potassium, which regulates the heartbeat. The calcium and magnesium essential for bones also play a role in maintaining a healthy heart. Calcium stimulates heart muscles to contract, while magnesium encourages them to relax.
4. Cancer Protection
Bok choy has unique sulfur-containing compounds that may reduce the risk of breast, prostate, lung and digestive tract cancers. These substances may help the body eliminate carcinogens, prevent cells from turning into cancer or alter metabolism to stop the development of hormone-sensitive cancers. One cup of chopped bok choy has 38 milligrams of glucosinolates.
Here’s a quick stir-fry recipe has spicy bold flavor and is an easy side dish to perk up most any meal, while giving you all the benefits that bok choy provide.
1 Tbs. sesame seeds
4 heads baby bok choy, about 1 lb. total
1 1/2 Tbs. canola oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Sea salt, to taste
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2 tsp. Asian chili oil
I only recently discovered tofu and the many health benefits it offers. Tofu is a high-protein alternative to red meat. Due to its protein content, eating tofu can help you feel full while consuming fewer calories. A 1/2-cup serving of regular tofu provides about 10 grams of protein, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrient Database.
Tofu is also a low-carb food. A 1/2-cup portion of regular tofu contains about 2 grams of carbohydrates. When trying to lose weight, trading in red meat and chicken for tofu is a great alternative. It takes on the flavors of whatever it is cooked with. Here is a yummy asian-inspired recipe.
Easy Stir- Fry Tofu with Garlic, Ginger and Scallions
12-14 oz. tofu (extra firm organic)
2 T. peanut oil (use more or less, depending on your pan)
2 tsp. minced garlic (finely)
2 tsp. ginger root, finely grated ( I use cubed ginger already grated and found at Trader Joe’s in the freezer section).
1 cup scallions (sliced into 2 inch pieces, This is about 1 bunch green onions. Keep white parts separate from green parts.
3 T. chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
1 1/2 T. soy sauce (I use low sodium)
1 -2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds (optional)
This moist and delicious chicken is so easy to make. I love having a few recipes that boast just five ingredients or less but are packed with flavor. This is one of Monica’s favorites. Enjoy!
Soyaki Chicken (aka Petaluma Chicken)
10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 medium potatoes, thinly sliced
juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup Soyaki from Trader Joe’s
Arrange chicken, onion, potatoes in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Squeeze lemon juice and Soyaki all over it. Cover with foil and bake at 425° for 40 minutes. Uncover and broil for about 10 minutes more.
Serves 5-8 people
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This is great summer salad that’s easy, tasty and good for you too.
Chicken and Mango Salad
3 green onions, sliced (including greens)
2 mangos (ripe)
4 cups of shredded chicken (I use a whole roasted chicken, available in the deli section of most grocery stores and finger shred it)
2 stalks of celery, sliced
1 head of red lettuce, sliced or torn into strips(approx. 4 cups)
½ cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup peanut oil
¼ cup white wine vinegar
1T Dijon mustard
3 tsp. Asian chili oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
½ cup Mango Chutney (I like Trader Joes Mango Ginger Chutney)