In my first week of changing to a low carb lifestyle a friend asked me what I knew of Konjac noodles. At that time I had never heard of anything like it and I quickly did some research. They sounded interesting, for sure, and I really wanted to try them. For those, like me, who have not heard of these, they are also called Shirataki Noodles or Zero Noodles. Some brands give them a brand specific name. They are made from the Konjac root, which I gather is a type of yam. They have loads of water soluble fibre but are 0 carbs, 0 sugar, 0 protein. As such they are a weird food, and one that probably fits best as a sometime food rather than a regular. It is necessary to gain nutritional benefit from the foods we eat.
It took me several weeks before I found some in a shop – an Asian foodstore here in New Zealand called Kosco. I had to ask at the counter as I had looked all through the dried noodle section. I was not expecting them to be sold in water filled sachets and stored in the refrigerated section. They had three types. Sheets (think lasagna), and noodles in black and white. I chose a packet each of the black and white noodles.
My next decision was how to use these weird and wonderful things. The labelling was entirely Asian – no help there for my monolingual self. No idea on their shelf life either, so I thought I better use them sooner rather than later, just in case.
From my research I was forewarned that these possess no flavour of their own and need something tasty to imbue them with any flavour. So that was my goal – to create a tasty dish which would both suit the addition of noodles and provide enough flavour.
I created this dish which contains juicy bites of tender chicken and plenty of salty/sweet/sour sauce to coat the noodles in flavour, and with loads of healthy veggies to see to the nutritional needs. If that sounds like something you’d enjoy eating…read on. 🙂
Chicken Stir-fry with Crispy Chicken Skin
♥ Ingredients ♥
1 T coconut oil
2 skin-on chicken breasts
2 T soy sauce + 1 T extra
1 t crushed ginger
1 t crushed garlic
1/2 C water
1 T Oyster Sauce
1 T Cider vinegar +1 T extra
225g can of pineapple pieces in natural juice
1 C small broccoli florets
1 stalk celery
1 red capsicum
2 T fresh coriander
180g packet Shirataki noodles
1/2 t xanthan gum
♥ Method ♥
Remove the skin from each chicken breast and chop the flesh into even-sized cubes of about 2cm.
In a medium sized bowl mix together the first measures of soy sauce and cider vinegar with the ginger, garlic, water, oyster sauce, and juice from the can of pineapple.
Add chopped chicken, mix thoroughly and set aside.
Open the noodles and tip into a colander. Give them a good rinse in cold water which gets rid of the funky smell they have straight out of the packet. Leave to drain.
Prepare the vegetables – cut broccoli into small florets; slice the celery diagonally; cut the onion into small wedges; de-seed the capsicum and slice it into thin strips of 2-3cm long; chop half of the coriander (stalks and leaves), reserving half for serving.
Heat a small frypan over medium heat and place in the chicken skin stretched out flat. It will bunch up a bit as it hits the heat. Sprinkle a little salt over the surface of the skin. I use a copper frypan which needs no addition of fat, but your pan may need some coconut or olive oil to prevent the skin sticking. Quite a bit of fat will come out of the skin. Turn it over every now and then and press down occasionally. The skin is ready when it is golden brown on both sides and crispy. Mine was conveniently ready at the same time as the main dish.
Melt the coconut oil in a wok and stir-fry the marinated chicken in batches until it is browned on all sides but not cooked through. As each batch is browned, remove from the wok with a slotted spoon and set aside in a clean container/bowl/plate. Continue until all of the chicken is browned. Try to leave as much marinade as possible in the bowl for use later on in the recipe as it forms the base of the sauce.
If needed, add a little more coconut oil to the wok. Add the onion and celery and stir fry 2-3 minutes. Toss in the remaining vegetables and stir fry another 2-3 minutes.
Pour the marinade liquid over the vegetables. Add the chicken back to the wok with one tablespoon of chopped coriander. Stir fry until chicken is cooked through. The chicken should still have some give to it when done. If it is overcooked (and dry) it will be firm and rubbery. Cut a piece or two in half to check the chicken is cooked through.
Thicken the sauce if necessary with xanthan gum, sprinkled over gradually and mixed in well. Add pineapple in the last minute or two along with the drained Shirataki noodles and additional measures of soy sauce and cider vinegar. Mix through.
To serve: pile into bowls, sprinkle with reserved coriander. Drizzle over a light touch of sesame oil; place chicken skin on top. Note: slice the chicken skin into strips once cooked if needed for more than two servings.
My husband and I enjoyed a generous serving each with leftovers enough as a lunch for one.
I was very pleased with this dish, and with the noodles. Some say they find the noodles rubbery and hard to chew, but my husband and I both enjoyed their texture. They are gelatinous and chewy, for sure, but we liked this unique quality.
Have you had Konjac/Shirataki noodles? How do you like to use them?
As always, happy and healthy eating,