If you seek a lower carb noodle dish but spiraled zucchini just doesn’t cut it then you’ve come to the right place! Nothing beats biting into a thick, chewy pad thai but what if I told you that you can still have your cake and eat it too (minus the sugar and carbs)?! I present to you shirataki AKA “konjak” noodles. If this is old news to you then mazal tov, but if I piqued your curiosity (yay!) I invite you to continue reading.
Native to China and other parts of eastern Asia, konjak root resembles a cross between a potato and beet. It has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine to treat multiple ailments such as a hernia, skin disorders and asthma. One of the reasons why I consider konjak a superfood is because it is rich in a type of soluble fiber called “glucomannan” which is also a prebiotic. Prebiotics pass through the upper digestive tract undigested. When they finally reach the colon, the friendly gut bacteria ferment these fibers and produce probiotics and acids. As a result our immunity and overall health gets a boost. Probiotics have been linked to other health benefits such as reduced risk for cardiovascular disease and reduced inflammation. Generally-speaking it is important to ensure a consistent intake of fiber from a variety of plant foods, so expand your horizons beyond kale (we still love you). What I also love is that glucommanan increases satiety, and may ultimately help in weight loss. Like other prebiotics however, you may experience some gas or bloating, especially if you are sensitive to FODMAPS (that’s for another post).
BONUS: Konjak is a great option if you follow a gluten-free, low carb, keto lifestyle because it is high in water and fiber. 150 g of these noodles will yield only 6g carbs.
Konjak comes in many forms such as flours, noodles and even sponges for skincare. While konjak is also sold as a supplement I suggest you exercise some caution due to potential drug interactions and side effects. Stick to the noodles, they are tastier than swallowing a pill 😉
I have yet to try making konjak flapjacks, but would like to share a simple and satisfying recipe I recently made using the noodles. You can find konjak flours and noodles in most Asian supermarkets, online, and most major health food markets. Feel free to make this dish your own by by changing the veggies and/or protein. Bon App!
1 package drained shiratake noodles
1 package extra firm non-GMO tofu
2 bulbs of chopped Bok Choy
1 package sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 small knob of grated ginger
1 chopped scallion
1 finely sliced stalk of lemongrass (white part only)
2-3 Tbsp coconut oil
Bunch of chopped cilantro
Juice of lime
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp terriyaki sauce
1 Tbsp raw turbinado sugar
1 Tbsp sesame oil
Mix all ingredients into bowl.
Drain tofu and place on a plate. Cover with paper towel and place a cast iron skillet on top and let stand for about an hour to ensure all water is drained. This helps it brown better when sautéing. After about an hour slice tofu in 1/2 inch pieces and sauté in a separate pan with some coconut oil. Don’t overcrowd the pan or the tofu will steam instead of browning.
In a separate pan, heat some of the coconut oil and add chopped scallions, grated ginger and finely sliced lemongrass. I love lemongrass for its fragrance and unique flavor. After about two minutes add the chopped bok choy and let it cook for a few minutes. Next add the sliced shiitake mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes allowing all the flavors to marry. Add the tofu, noodles and mix into all the veggies using tongs. After about a minute add the sauce and turn off the heat. Garnish with fresh cilantro and dig in!
Happy & Healthy Cravings! 🙂