Raw Kelp Noodle Pad Thai (With or Without Seared Tempeh)

by Gena on June 4, 2011

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When you move to a new city, it’s nice to have friends who welcome you with waiting arms. In my case, this is my friend Andrea, who shares my love of all things raw, whole, and plant-based. She also happens to be an exceptional cook with a culinary background (she grew up in and among restaurants). So when Andrea invited me over for a dinner at her place, I knew I was getting something exceptional, and I was not disappointed.

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That’s raw pad thai, made with kelp noodles and some pan seared tempeh. Heavenly.

Did you know that the primary ingredient in pad thai—aside from fish sauce, which of course isn’t in vegan paid thais—is tamarind juice or paste? I certainly didn’t. I often allow Andrea to teach me this sort of stuff: she’s culinarily adventurous, and she takes flavors and ingredients seriously. I’m also delighted to see that she’s caught the kelp noodle bug! I plan on making my first Sea Tangle order soon, so that I can try this stupendous recipe out for myself. For now, here it is, in all of its nutty, sweet, salty glory.

Note than Anrdrea improved by using tamarind chutney rather than paste, since she didn’t have time to get the latter. It’s a great tip for busy cooks!

Raw-ish Pad Thai Sauce (high raw, vegan, GF)

Yields 1 1/4 cups

2 Tbsp tamarind paste (or tamarind chutney in a pinch)
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp tamari or nama shoyu
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp thai curry paste or sriracha
2 pitted, soaked dates
1/3 cup tahini
1/4 cup water (or more if you want a thinner consistency)

Blend and pour over kelp noodles, shredded carrots and julienned cabbage. (Bok choy and/or sprouts would also be great).

To make the tempeh as Andrea did, simply pan sear it in coconut oil and a bit of nama shoyu or something salty, until nice and brown.

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This is a wonderful meal for raw eaters, cooked eaters, vegans and non! The tempeh keeps things filling, but the raw noodles satisfy high raw lovers of light and fresh cuisine. Moreover, the whole dish is very familiar to omnis and anyone who’s used to a good noodle bowl. I’d say it’s an ideal meal to serve for company.

Thanks to Andrea for a lovely evening—I cannot wait to connect her with Valerie! I suspect they’ll have a lot to talk about.

Hobbit House update: Things are still puttering along, slowly and surely. It’s hard to focus on unpacking when you have so much other stuff to do, including prepping enough hors d’oeuvres to feed Napoleon’s army (more on that later). But I’m getting there.

The week has been full of discoveries about my new place. The not-so-fun ones include realizing that my oven is sort of only half-functional. (That’s a pretty annoying thing to realize halfway through roasting eggplant.) The fun ones include finding out that I have a backyard at my disposal:

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Yes! A yard! Where I can eat, and read, and study! Yards are the quintessential things that NYC children grow up without, and even though we insist we turned out normally and optimally without them, we still tend to go crazy over them when given a chance. Get ready for many CR breakfasts and lunches and dinners out here. Not to mention lunch and tea dates:

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To find out who visited me yesterday, you’ll just have to hang on till tomorrow. Have a great Saturday, guys!

xo

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

janet June 4, 2011 at 8:26 am

Finally a raw pad thai with tamarind! Pre-vegan, I found out that the most authentic tasting pad thais comes from the tamarind, and a lot of raw pad thais are simply made with a spicy nut butter dressing which isn’t the same at all. I can’t wait to try this. :)

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Hannah June 4, 2011 at 8:46 am

Gena I tried raw kelp noodles for the first time last week and they were delicious! By the way, I’m working at a rawish vegan restaurant and I absolutely LOVE it!!

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Jen June 4, 2011 at 9:42 am

I have all these ingredients on hand except the tamarind and the kelp noodles themselves. Although, I do have a pack of 100% buckwheat soba noodles, which I’m sure would be delicious with this sauce, even though it would take away the rawness of the dish.

By the way, I am ridiculously jealous right now over your backyard. Especially because it’s almost summertime! The house I grew up in with my family had a backyard, and we spent so much time in it. Now I live in an apartment, and would go nuts for a private little place to eat lunch in the sun and drink tea! My stepsister is moving to DC for school this summer, so if we ever go visit her, I’m coming over for a raw meal in the hobbit house backyard! :)

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Lisa June 4, 2011 at 12:06 pm

That looks really good!

…yes, I agree that a yard is essential. Especially for studying! Totally takes the edge off the responsibility and commitment of it :)

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Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn June 4, 2011 at 12:13 pm

AHHHH lifesaver of the year. I am a pad thai addict. I haven’t had it since I went vegan a year ago (except now I eat fish so I miiiiight do regular sauce). THIS IS PERFECT I can’t wait to try it!! All I have to do is find some of that crazy sounding tamarind paste ;)

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Mimi (Gingersnaps) June 4, 2011 at 1:08 pm

I love pad thai! Haha, the tamarind thing threw me for a loop too. People say you can make it sans tamarind…but it’s just not the same. And thank you thank you — you just reminded me that now I have a car in LA so I can drive myself to Whole Foods and buy some kelp noodles. Those things are great.

I’m glad DC is treating you well! Are you missing New York?

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Amanda June 4, 2011 at 2:10 pm

I JUST tried actual Tamarind the other day! I was having dumplings at this amazing whole in the wall place & next store was this asian fruit market that I just had to go in to! They let me sample Rambutans (which I ended up buying), Jackfruit, & Tamarind! Tamarind actually tastes like a fig newton! It was good and kind of cute looking…
Totally jealous of your backyard btw!

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Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) June 4, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Tamarind juice or paste, dates, tahini, sesame oil…oh those flavors sound EXCELLENT together. Yum! And there’s no added garlic or onions which are not faves of mine so that’s even better. I bet that sauce would be good in so many applications. Great recipe, Gena!

Thanks for the update on the Hobbit House as you call it. Cute :) And now you have a yard! Yay!! I know growing up in the midwest, we had huge backyards (and basements)..two things that in urban San Diego I don’t have. I do have lovely balconies, and have had some houses with enclosed front or back patios, but no yards for the past 8 yrs or so.

Enjoy the yard, the meals out there in the summer (awesome!) and a new spot for food photography. Which is what most of life boils down to for me lately is making photographs :)

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emma June 4, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Hey Gena! I have missed you so! Just getting my blogroll sorted! Thank you for mentioning your involvement with “Crazy, Sexy,Life” on your blog – I bought it after your recommendation and love it!

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Ela June 4, 2011 at 4:34 pm

That’s awesome that you have a yard! As an outdoor lover, I’m so happy for you: that’s a really, really big deal. You might even be able to have a bit of garden.

Thanks for the recipe–sounds like a lovely time. I’m waiting on some kelp noodles myself.
love
Ela

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Claire June 4, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Hey Gena!

I enjoy your blog very much…it’s a pleasure to read everyday :) You have a great perspective on food and life.

Had my first kelp noodles in NYC a few weeks ago at Pure Food & Wine. The dish was good although I felt the sauce could use a little more spunk. Luckily I was able to pick up a few bags of kelp noodles at a little raw shop in NY and will now be able try this recipe and kick up the flavor!

have a great day!

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Arielle (Your Vegan Girlfriend) June 4, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Bah this sounds amazing! A lot of raw/vegan pad thai I have tried has almond butter or the like in it so I am super excited to try this version sans the nuts. Super quick and easy too! Your the best!
xo

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Dianne June 4, 2011 at 9:25 pm

That looks amazing! It will be a must-try this summer.

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zoe (and the beatles) June 4, 2011 at 9:30 pm

mmmm sounds delicious! i ate the pad thai when i ate at pure food and wine. it was basically the best thing ever and a week later they sent out the recipe to those on their mailing list! um, meant to be? i think so ;)

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Mountain Girl (Eat Hike Sleep Repeat) June 4, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Tamarind paste is a favourite! I often take a block of it hiking and gnaw on it as it – high in potassium! Just found kelp noodles finally, so this dish is a must.

I’m sure you will enjoy the backyard, especially since (I’m assuming) you don’t have to mow the grass :)

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FoodFeud June 4, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Fresh air and sunlight sound lovely and that meal looks just about perfect to eat out there with its colors and textures. It sounds delicious; I just tried tofu noodles the other day but I’ve got to get my hands on some of the kelp noodles!

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SquatLikeALady June 5, 2011 at 9:49 am

I am apartment living right now after a lifetime of living in the country and the thing I miss most is my own yard!!

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veganlisa June 5, 2011 at 5:36 pm

I’m so happy to see that your settling in. You’re going to have so much fun this summer, hanging out in your yard!

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Melissa September 4, 2011 at 2:44 am

I googled to find you and just tried this recipe. It was delicious! Thank you for sharing it :) I used two packages of kelp noodles so I doubled the sauce and it turned out to be too much – a single recipe would have sufficed, but it’s delicious sauce so that was no big deal!

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