Monday, September 28, 2009

Pad Thai Noodles with Spinach Curry Sauce

Spinach, known as the popeye vegetable, has been the mantra to many a growing child. Eat your spinach and you'll have muscles like popeye. And it is true. Spinach is one of the best plant sources of iron, but remember that absorption of iron from plant sources is greatly improved when combined with foods high in Vitamin C. In the Pad Thai noodles recipe below grapefruit not only gives it that smart tangy flavour, but also serves to improve the uptake of iron from the spinach.

Just as important as iron for muscular and bone strength is Vitamin K. Spinach is one of the high sources of Vitamin K, along with kale and cauliflower. As well as promoting bone health, it's main function is the control of blood clotting and it also regulates calcium levels in the blood.

Only carrots and parsley contain more beta carotene than spinach. This special nutrient is required for making Vitamin A, important for eye health and vision.

Is this enough to convince you that spinach is good? What about the fact that around 49% of calories in spinach come from proteins? It is the richest known source plant protein, providing 12% of recommended daily requirements (depending on serving size).

And no mention of spinach should be without a reference to oxalic acid. In it's inorganic form oxalic acid is known to be harmful to the body. It can cause calcium deficiency and kidney stones. However spinach, when eaten raw, contains oxalic acid in it's organic form. This has a number of benefits, including promotion of peristalsis in the gut. It combines well with calcium and aids assimilation in the digestive tract.

This recipe is a bit of fun to spice up a special occasion, but it is also a good one to make beforehand and have on hand for that busy moment when you don't have time or don't feel like preparing a meal. The sauce will keep in a jar in the fridge for up to three days.

Pad Thai Noodles with Spinach Curry Sauce

For the Noodles
Marinate 1/3 red onion in 2tbsp Nama Shoyu for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, julienne the following:
2 zucchini, small
1/2 capsicum (red or green)
the meat from 2 young thai coconuts
Chop 1 medium grapefruit into chunks, removing the pips
Combine all these ingredients in a bowl with 1 cup mung bean sprouts. Mix together well.
Fresh Thai Herbs
1/3 bunch mint, chopped
1/3 bunch coriander, chopped
1 small red chilli, seeded and chopped
Mix herbs together and reserve a small amount for garnish. Add to the noodles.

Spinach Curry Sauce
2 cups spinach
1 cup coconut water
2 medium tomatoes
3 tbsp fresh coriander
1/2 avocado
1 tbsp olive oil
1 stick celery, large
2 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds (i like to grind these first, then add to the mix)
fresh chilli, to taste
Combine all the above ingredients in the blender and mix to a sauce consistency.
This will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Now arrange the noodles into bowls and pour spinach curry sauce over. Garnish with herbs and serve.

Tips: If you have one, use a spiraliser or mandolin to make zucchini noodles. If you can't find fresh mint leaves, substitute with parsley. Make the sauce the day before to save time and give the flavour time to develop.

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