In our previous article, we have introduced Pad Kee Mao or Thai drunken noodles as a stir-fried dish with rich flavor and fragrance. As we might have expressed our love for this dish before, Pad Kee Mao is absolutely delicious. However, the question now is do we need to watch out for its calories? If you are interested in learning more about Pad Kee Mao calories and Pad Kee Mao nutrition, this article is for you!
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Pad Kee Mao calories: the breakdown
A serving of Pad Kee Mao can have 460 to 700 calories. This might make you wonder: why is it such a wide range? That is because there many ways in making Pad Kee Mao, ranging from the type of noodles, protein options and herbs to add in. For our estimation in this article, we will be referencing to a recipe from Phol Food Mafia, this recipe is for a classic, big noodles pork Pad Kee Mao.
Thai stir fried noodles have multiple components including the noodles, protein, vegetables seasoning/sauces and other ingredients. You can check out Pad Kee Mao recipe here. We will be following this structure in our estimation as well:
- Noodles: 704 calories
- Protein: 430 calories
- Vegetable: 61 calories
- Seasoning/sauces: 150 calories
- Oil used for stir-frying: 80 calories
The sum of the above is ~1400 calories for 2-3 servings. In conclusion, a serving of Pad Kee Mao can give as low as 460 calories but also as high as 700 calories, depending on the ingredients you choose and how much you add them.
Note that this calories calculation does not include other add-on like Thai fried egg, which also goes well with Pad Kee Mao!
Can you reduce calories in Pad Kee Mao?
Fortunately, there are easy ways in which you can reduce calories count in Pad Kee Mao without sacrificing much or any of its taste.
The lowest hanging fruit here would be to swap the Thai big noodles with vermicelli. According to Knorr, big rice noodles have 220 calories per 100g whereas vermicelli has 150 calories per 100g. This switch will reduce the amount of calories per serving by between 75 to 100 calories.
Additionally, you can choose to switch pork to a leaner white meat like chicken breast (which also goes well with Pad Kee Mao). Pork typically has about 240 calories per 100g whereas chicken breast has 165 calories per 100g. This switch can reduce the calories count by another 40 to 60 calories per serving.
These two switches can reduce the calories count per Pad Kee Mao to as low as ~300 – 350 calories per serving without giving up the taste or fragrance of Pad Kee Mao. You might still be giving up on the soft and chewy big noodles though.
Now that you understand the power of ingredients in making Pad Kee Mao of lower calories, you will also need to watch out for the opposite. That is, a combination with high calories count. For example, Pad Kee Mao made with instant noodles!
Pad Kee Mao nutrition
Pad Kee Mao’s base ingredient is the noodle, be it big noodle, vermicelli or instant noodle. Hence, you get your carbohydrate source from that. Depending on your choice of protein source, you can have seafood, pork or chicken to go along with your noodle. Pad Kee Mao is also known to have a lot of vegetables inside the food. So you will get your fiber and some vitamins fix from the vegetables. Herbs that give Pad Kee Mao its fragrance are also full of health benefits. Basil is a prominent herb in the Pad Kee Mao dish. To understand more about basil and other Thai herbs health benefits, you can refer to another dedicated article by us on this topic.
Should you be wary of this dish calorie count?
Pad Kee Mao is a delicious stir-fried dish commonly found throughout Thailand. However, you may need to watch out for its calorie count once you have fallen in love with this dish. Luckily, as we mentioned in this article, there are some “hacks” to reduce the calorie count of this dish.
If you are health conscious then try the low calories version or opt for Thai soup noodle dishes instead. There are many other delicious Thai food that you can try!
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