Pad Thai made with Kelp noodles

Pad Thai with Kelp Noodles – deliciously filling and super low calorie

Pad Thai made with Kelp noodles
Pad Thai

I bought some Kelp noodles the other week, they have almost no calories, no protein, fat or sugar. Can this Pad Thai recipe turn them into a tasty meal ?. Read on.

I purchased these purely for their low-calorie appeal, under normal circumstances I wouldn’t look sideways at these suspicious looking clear noodles. They actually look like cellophane noodles. My father used to occasionally cook a dish he referred to as “Chinese fashion” an impossibly pungent combination of dried mushrooms, dried shrimp, cellophane noodles and other ingredients that when combined produced a smell that traveled about 1/2 mile in every direction. There was no better way to wipe the post school joy of my face, than when I’d get about 2 blocks from home and smell it.. Nooooo not “chinese fashion”. Ever since those days, I avoid dried mushrooms, shrimp and cellophane noodles.

Kelp Noodles
Kelp Noodles

The dilemma I have is I must transform these possibly evil, but refreshingly low-calorie noodles into a meal that I would enjoy, and potentially eat again, else this will be the last time I go near anything close to wispy rice noodles. I’ve trolled the internet for a winning Kelp Noodle recipe and time and again found references to Pad Thai, but none of the recipes I clicked on looked authentic. So I removed the “Kelp Noodles” from the search, and just looked for an authentic recipe that I could adapt. Here is the winning recipe The page also has a link as follows  “From street carts, you can also often find an older, more traditional version of Pad Thai made with dried shrimp.”  (Shudder…). Anyway, please ignore the second link.

I’ve adapted this recipe, removing some of the optional ingredients that I don’t have or can’t get (like banana flower, peanuts and Chinese chives) and Tofu – I can probably can get Tofu, but choose not to – hell I’m already eating kelp noodles, give me a break.


This recipe as it stands is approximately 678 calories, or 226 per serve if divided by three. My aim is usually to have a low calorie recipe under 300 calories, you could skip the egg, and server two people for less than 300 calories, or reduce the chicken to 200 grams to achieve the same result.

Ingredients – serves 3
1 packet 340 grams Kelp noodles
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
2 tablespoon palm or brown sugar
1 minced shallot
1/2 lime for serving
450 grams prawns or 300 grams thinly sliced chicken breast
ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground dried chili pepper
1 fresh red Chili, seeds removed chopped into rounds .
3 cloves minced garlic
4 teaspoons fish sauce
1 egg
2 spring onions chopped


Noodle Preparation
Rinse the noodles thoroughly in warm water, refreshing the liquid a few times, then allow to soak in warm water for about 15 minutes. Drain, and use scissors to cut the noodles into manageable sized pieces. The noodles should be a soft but not mushy. They will soften during cooking. Mine were the consistency of rubber silicon (not great), but they had a crunchy bite which was not unpleasant, similar to mung beans, after cooking they had the consistency of “real” cooked rice vermicelli. Scroll down for a picture

Pad Thai
Pad Thai

Heat a Wok on high heat and pour in oil. Fry the shallot and garlic and stir them until they start to brown.

Drain the noodles and add to the wok. Stir quickly to keep things from sticking, if using chicken add this now, and cook until almost done. Add tamarind, sugar, fish sauce and chili pepper. Stir. The heat should remain high. If your wok is not hot enough, you will see a lot of juice in the wok at this point. Turn up the heat, if it is the case.

Make room for the egg by pushing all noodles to the side of the wok. Crack the egg onto the wok and scramble it until it is almost all cooked. Fold the egg into the noodles. Add prawns and stir until cooked. Add freshly ground black pepper, bean sprouts, spring onion and chili. Stir a few more times. The noodles should be soft, dry and very tangled.

Serve hot with a wedge of lime on the side, and raw bean sprouts on top.

The verdict

These noodles were really very good, they lose quite a bit of bulk in the cooking process, and I found a lot of liquid in the bottom of the Wok.The recipe on the whole was surprisingly good, a great combination of Thai flavors.

Noodles after cooking
Noodles after cooking



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