I love this dish so much, I make it every year for my birthday. It’s so handy that my birthday is in September, when spaghetti squash is in season. And for the last few years, Dad has added them to his garden, so there is always a plentiful supply. Even if he didn’t, they are pretty inexpensive when in season.
The first time I had Pad Thai was at Star of Siam in Chicago, and I fell in love with the dish. In fact, that may have been the first time I had tofu too, but I had no idea what it was! My dinner companion ordered a side of peanut sauce and I thought I had died and gone to heaven!
So, of course, I set out to replicate the dish once I got home. I wanted it to be as authentic as possible; but when I saw the ingredient list, I changed my mind about that! Banana flower? Preserved turnip? OK, so maybe my version would be a bit simpler. Over the years, my weeknight version has become even more simplified; and a bit lower in carbs, by substituting spaghetti squash for the noodles.
But if there’s one component I won’t skimp on, it’s the peanut sauce. If you want to use homemade peanut butter, watch my video: Make Your Own Peanut Butter.
If you’re unfamiliar with spaghetti squash and want to see how to cook it, watch my video: How to Prepare Spaghetti Squash.
And feel free to substitute any protein. Chicken, beef and of course tofu all work really well! —Sherry K-Jazzy Gourmet
To cook the squash, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake in a 375 degree oven until it is tender, about 30 minutes. Or, place the squash cut side down in a microwave-safe dish; cover loosely with plastic wrap, and cook for about 10 minutes. Remove the cooked strands of squash with a fork.
Create a sauce by whisking the lime juice, fish sauce, Thai chili sauce and peanut butter in a small bowl. Set aside.
Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil. Once the oil starts to shimmer, add the shrimp. Season with salt. While stirring constantly, cook for a couple of minutes, until pink. Remove the shrimp from the pan; place in a medium bowl, and set aside.
Heat the other tablespoon of oil in the pan. Add green onions and garlic. Cook for one minute. Add the following ingredients and toss after each addition: spaghetti squash, sauce, bean sprouts and shrimp. While tossing everything, cook for one additional minute. Transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with cilantro, green onion and peanuts.