Spicy Thai Cooking – No Sugar Added
Thanks to everyone for the encouraging comments on my new foray into sharing my experiences with Diabetes. I will try to keep fresh posts with a focus on topics typically less discussed. However, many posts hopefully will be relevant to people without Diabetes as well. I BET if people were to try some of my nutrition and exercise habits they would probably see more results than their traditional DIETING. Forget the “South Beach Diet”, what if people tried the “Diabetic Diet”; don’t know if that sounds marketable though?
One of the many great experiences during our trip to Thailand was the Thai cooking class we took in Chiang Mai. We spent four hours learning how to cook a few different dishes: pad thai, stir fry, coconut soup (tom kha) and curry.
I chose to cook the noodle-free, diabetic friendly option of Cashew Nut Chicken and to my surprise it came out really tasty. Michelle cooked her favorite pad thai or what our instructor called “The Boring Dish”, haha. She also cooked some green curry for me, which was nice and spicy.
Our instructor let us in on a secret to our surprise, all stir frys and pad thai use the same Thai chili and the same three sauces: vegetable oil, fish sauce, and oyster sauce. He explained in pretty good English, “Fiss souss make it sawty, che-we make it sexy, and shuga make it not so sexy”. Interpretation - It was the amount of fish sauce that determined the saltiness and the amount of chili added that determined the spiciness. However, what I didn’t realize is they used SUGAR to help neutralize the spice. So, when people added too much chili, he would say “Too much sexy, put mo’ shuga”.
It is always tough when you think are you ordering a carb friendly option without any starchy foods, but to your surprise, it sends your blood sugar through the roof? Many already know, but it lies in the sauces. In general, they are always the hardest to carb count because you never know how much sugar is REALLY used. I never realized how MUCH is actually used. Since I, of course, love sexy, I didn’t use ANY sugar.
Since we have been home, we have already made our stir fry dishes a couple times (pics to the right). One of the benefit to cooking your own meal is you DO actually know how much sugar is added. It makes carb counting much easier. Also, the meaning of “cooking your own meal”, also means “watching your wife cook”. Dont worry, it is just as good, if not better :) When eating out, always BEWARE OF SAUCES and, not just people with diabetes, but anyone trying to watch calories. Always order on the side and take quick sweetness taste test before you drizzle on your dish. This applies to salad dressings too.
You can also really customize the dish by adding extra vegetables to make it more of a stir-fry. When we tried it at home we added: shrimp, tofu (firm), white onion, shiitake mushrooms (best substitution for ear mushrooms), green snap peas, water chestnuts, green chili (we didn't have the dried red chili) and we threw an egg in there around step 4-5. We also didn't add sugar to it for obvious reasons and it was still just as tasty, you can squeeze a bit of lime juice on top to give it a little bit of added flavor. The recipe below is for one serving so adjust the sauces accordingly, it's always better to start out with less sauce and add more to taste... and beware the fish sauce is STINKY when you cook it!
Try and make it for yourself, the ingredients and directions are below :)
11/17/2012 01:00:58 pm
I guess there are no vegetarian dishes with the fish and oyster sauces.!!
11/18/2012 05:09:34 am
You can actually substitute the fish & oyster sauce to make a vegetarian option. Use vegetarian mushroom 'oyster' sauce, which is made from mushrooms & is oyster free along with a light soy sauce! ENJOY!
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