I must confess that I used to eat pad thai multiple times in a week. I love these stir-fry noodles and can even remember the first time I tasted them. As one of Thailand’s national dishes, they are the perfect balance of salty, sweet, sour and spicy. Despite my past failures at even a regular version, I wanted to replicate my old favorite with a keto pad thai, a low-carb version using my favorite flat style shirataki noodles. A surprising success!
WHAT IS PAD THAI (ผัดไทย)?
An authentic pad thai typically consists of rice noodles, stir-fried with eggs, bean sprouts and a protein such as chicken, tofu or shrimp. The four components of a successful sauce are a balance between fish sauce (nam pla) for saltiness, palm sugar for sweetness, chilli powder for spiciness and tamarind pulp for sourness. Garlic and spring onion are often added before serving with coriander, roast peanuts and lime wedges. The result is a combination of flavors and textures; tangy and spicy, crunchy and soft.
KETO PAD THAI SAUCE
To achieve a similar balance of flavors for keto, I had to cut some corners! Fish sauce is arguably the most important ingredient and is made from fermented anchovies – so it has a potent aroma but also tastes delicious. My only local option was Megachef, however it’s rather high in added sugar so I really wouldn’t recommend it. A much better alternative is Red Boat which has no added sugar.
I replaced the palm sugar with an artificial sweetener, opting for Pal Sweet, an aspartame based sweetener. For the chilli component, I used a small amount of Siracha (as like most things) it contains sugar too. Tamarind pulp was impossible to find (though Kaldi do sometimes stock Tamicon) so I omitted it and added some peanut butter instead. It’s certainly not authentic, but worked for me!
I chose flat shirataki noodles and boiled them in water for a few minutes followed by a quick fry in a dry pan. For my protein, I pan-fried some chicken and made a thin egg omelette, slicing it into long strands. Moyashi (bean sprouts), negi (spring onion) and peanuts are incredibly common in Japan, while sudachi (sour citrus fruit from Tokushima) is a decent replacement for lime and coriander is an imported extravagance!
CARBS IN KETO PAD THAI
At 10 net carbs per serving, it’s higher than I would like! It’s therefore not something I’ll have often, so I’ll have to keep tinkering with it. The carbs mostly come from the choice of fish sauce and peanut butter, so I’ll keep exploring the alternatives there.
- 1/8 cup fish sauce (unsweetened)
- 1 tsp artificial sweetener (optional)
- 1 tsp siracha (contains sugar)
- 2 tbs peanut butter (crunchy or smooth, avoid added sugar)
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 pack shirataki noodles, flat white style
- 1 chicken breast
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup bean sprouts (moyashi)
- 1 spring onion (negi)
- peanuts (for garnish)
- lime (or sudachi, to drizzle on top)
- coriander (plus extra for garnish)
- Drain the shirataki noodles in a colander to remove the liquid they come packaged in. Rinse thoroughly under running water. If the noodles are rather long, cut into shorter pieces with scissors.
- Boil some water and cook the shirataki for 1-2 mins to remove any lingering fragrance. Drain and rinse again.
- Heat a clean dry frying pan and throw in the shirataki. The noodles contain large amounts of water, so this will help dry them out to remove some of their gelatinous texture. Cook for about a minute until they start to make a whistling sound. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Prepare your sauce by mixing all of the sauce ingredients together, if you have a blender, even better! Let it rest while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
- Dice your chicken and pan fry until cooked through. Set aside.
- Create a thin omelette with the eggs, roll and slice into thin strips.
- Finally combine your noodles, sauce, chicken and eggs with the bean sprouts and spring onion. Stir fry until well combined and serve hot.
- Garnish with peanuts, lime and fresh coriander.
- This serving has 10g net carbs (using sweetened fish sauce as pictured).
- Calories: 318kcal, Net carbs: 10g, Carbs: 13g, Fibre: 3g, Fat: 18g, Protein: 25g, Sugar: 6g