Thursday, July 12, 2012

Chicken Vegetable Pad Thai Recipe

For me, pregnancy and nausea are two things very, very interconnected. I don't just have nausea for the first trimester, but rather, the entire nine months long! I have to say that during my first pregnancy, the nausea seriously wa s the worst I'd ever experienced in my life. Just a few months after my wedding, and I spent nearly 3 months straight in bed, just watching movies, because I was too nauseous to do anything. Very miserable.

But the first trimester was the worst part of that pregnancy. I couldn't handle anything! Worst of all was protein. Chicken, beef, and fish made me nauseous. So did anything sour or with a slight sour aftertaste, so some cheeses were out, as were nightshades and zucchini and so many other foods that I can't even remember now, fortunately, nearly 5 years later. Pretty much all proteins other than some legumes and nuts and tofu and seitan made me hurl; even the thought of those foods made me nauseous.

My 19th birthday (and husband's 21st birthday) passed during that really rough first trimester of mine, and alas, though I had wanted to go out to a restaurant to celebrate our birthdays with my husband, there was no point in going out to eat when entering a restaurant with all its food smells would make me queasy, so we ended up waiting another month, until my first trimester was over, to have our date.

When we got to that restaurant, I still was pretty nauseous, and couldn't stomach the thought of any animal proteins, yet wanted to order something that at least had protein in it. Upon scouring the menu, I discovered one dish that fit my criteria. Tofu pad thai.

That was the first time I ever had pad thai. I was not in love with the dish. It probably had something to do with my pregnancy nausea messing with my taste buds, but in the few years since then, I didn't have any interest in having pad thai again.

Recently, though, I've come across more and more gluten free pad thai recipes out there and they intrigued me, also for being gluten free, and also because they combined ingredients that I would never think to combine (soy sauce and coriander and peanuts).

When I decided to make pad thai, so many recipes out there called for tamarind, a sour fruit that tastes like a cross between lemons and prunes, but since most people don't have tamarind in their house, and since, depending on where you live, tamarind may or may not be so cheap, I decided to make my recipe tamarind free. From making my homemade Worcestershire sauce, I knew lemon juice could be used in place of tamarind in certain recipes, so I decided to do that for this recipe. Also, most pad thai recipes I saw called for fish sauce, and while I have homemade fish sauce, I didn't want to use it for this recipe, as I wanted to include ingredients everyone has at home, and not everyone has or can use fish sauce.

I was so glad I tried it out- chicken pad thai is a new favorite dish of mine and my family's. I definitely plan on making this more often.

I made this recipe with chicken; feel free to replace the chicken with tofu, fish, or leave out entirely.

Chicken Vegetable Pad Thai Recipe

2 whole chicken breasts cut in 1 inch chunks
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons oil
3/4  lb rice noodles (width of linguine)
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons jaggery, honey, brown sugar, sucanat, or white sugar
1-4 teaspoons homemade sriracha sauce or store bought
3 teaspoons dried garlic
1 teaspoon dried ginger
4 carrots shredded
1 head swiss chard (can use bok choy instead, or leave out)
1 package, approximately 2-3 cups mung bean sprouts (you can sprout these yourself but the ones I've tried making ended up being a little bitter)
1/4  cup chopped toasted peanuts 
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Marinate the chicken in the soy sauce and garlic for an hour.

2. Chop up the swiss chard, setting the ribs aside from the leaves.

3. Pour warm water over the rice noodles and let sit for approximately 20 minutes to soften, then strain.

4. Make the pad thai sauce with lemon juice, soy sauce, sweetener, sriracha, garlic, and ginger. If using jaggery, heat up on the stove to melt the jaggery, otherwise mix so you have a smooth and uniform sauce.

5. Heat up oil in a large/deep pot. You can either use a very large wok, or I'm using a cast iron dutch oven.

6. Saute the swiss chard/bok choy stems until they soften. Add the carrots and saute until they soften. Add the chicken with the marinate and cook until the chicken changes color on the outside, then add the swiss chard leaves. Mix often.

7. Add the rice noodles and bean sprouts and pad thai sauce, then cook until the bean sprouts soften. Be careful while mixing so you don't break the noodles. Check that the inside of the chicken has completely changed color before turning off the flame.

8. Toast peanuts by putting in a dry pan over a flame, mixing constantly until they change color.

9. Serve pad thai topped with chopped cilantro and peanuts.

Are there any foods that you tried for the first time during pregnancy, which turned you off from trying them ever, or at least for a while? What foods were they?
Do you like pad thai? Do you make yours? What do you put in your pad thai?
Does this look like a recipe you'd try?

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