Pad Thai at Home

Valentine’s day is fast approaching, and if you would like to skip the crowds and prepare a meal for your sweetheart at home, I encourage you to give this Eastern recipe a try. It’s become one of our favorites, and offers a nice variety from the traditional Italian that I typically offer up. The best part? You get to skip the belly-ache of using a bottled sauce.

There is only one way to affirm or deny the hypothesis that food heals you, and that is to pay close attention to what you eat and how it makes you feel. So much evidence is already available that points toward the notion that a whole foods, plant-based diet can prevent and even reverse disease, but what is most remarkable, is when you actually conduct the “experiment” on yourself. People are often surprised to learn that my family, even my kids, are primarily plant-based. We do eat fish now and then, and I guess it depends what generation you are from as to what word is used to describe this type of lifestyle, but what I can say is that I’m happy that more people are finally recognizing the complexity of how food affects all the systems in our body.

Plants in general have medicinal benefits merely because they contain so many essential vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Bok choy in particular has deep, crinkled green leaves which contain beta-carotene and calcium; it is said to energize the stomach and clear excess water, mucus, and toxins from the body.

I’ve been looking for a recipe for pad thai for a long time, and recently one day I came across one which offered tofu, vegetables, and some sauces that I couldn’t find in my grocery store, let alone pronounce. One of my favorite restaurants is called Nectar; located on the main line, it has one of the best versions of pad thai I’ve ever come across in the United States. With my traditional Italian roots, I thought there was no way I would be able to concoct a pad thai recipe that would be worthy enough to publish. To my surprise, everybody who tested it gave this variation a thumbs up. Perhaps this wouldn’t stand up to the real deal, but it was good enough for us and easy enough to prepare with just a few ingredients. If anyone out there in Berks Country has a fantastic “make-it-at-home” pad thai recipe, tweet to me, I would love to hear about it! (@KateMurrayLDM)

1 lb shrimp, peeled & cooked
1 bunch bok choy or baby bok choy, cleaned & chopped (use both white stems and leafy greens)
1 small red onion
1 red bell pepper
1 bunch of scallions
1 lime
3 tbsp. peanut butter
3 tbsp. tamari (or any soy sauce)
1/2 cup salted peanuts
rice noodles

Prepare rice noodles according to package directions. These cook faster than pasta noodles, so it’s best to bring the water to a boil, drop them in, and then turn off the heat. Begin by sautéing the onion, white part of the bok choy, and red pepper for about 8 minutes over medium heat. Thin out the peanut butter with a tbsp or two of hot water, and whisk together with the tamari and lime juice. Add the leafy green part of the bok choy next and continue to sauté over medium heat for about 2 more minutes. Add the cooked noodles and cooked shrimp and then pour the sauce over top. Garnish with toasted peanuts and chopped scallions.

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