Monday, October 19, 2009

Seafood and Shirataki Tofu Noodles in Ginger-Lemongrass Broth

Along the way I have heard about a special type of noodle eaten in Japan. It has been described as the Jananese woman's secret to staying slim. It is called the Shirataki Tofu Noodle. It comes in several shapes akin to western pasta. It is sold in the refrigerator section of specialty stores, like Whole Foods Market, where they carry tofu. I have heard mixed reports about it but decided to give it a try. I purchased the spaghetti style noodle, which was sold in an 8 ounce bag. Contrary to what I heard it did not have an odd smell at all and the texture turned out to be very much like al dente pasta after cooking. I simply rinsed the noodles in a strainer under cold running water for a minute before using. This noodle has great benefits for a diabetic. First of all a four ounce serving has only 20 calories and a total of 3 grams of carbohydrate. To make this amazing noodle even better it has 2 grams of fiber in each serving as well. Yes, that's right. A noodle with one net gram of carbohydrate in a four ounce portion. Very good indeed. The down side is because this noodle is so high in fiber it also expands in liquids when you eat it. You need to start with a small portion to be sure that it will not upset your stomach and give you the broccoli like effect of gas. It can also be a bit binding if you eat to much of it due to the fiber. Not everyone has these reactions after eating Shirataki Tofu Noodles but only some. I had the recommended portion size on the package of four ounces. It is extremely filling because it expands, which is also a great benefit to those with large appetites. You should definitely eat the recommended portion size or less in the beginning.

I took these noodles and made a wonderful light but very filling Japanese style seafood stew. I used simple but fresh ingredients. I was able to finish cooking it in about 20 minutes. It is a very fast recipe and great for a weeknight after work. I hope you look for these noodles and give them a try and I hope you enjoy my recipe.

Shirataki Tofu Noodles in Ginger-Lemongrass Broth


1 - 32 ounce container Kitchen Basics Seafood Broth (or vegetable if unavailable)

1 stalk lemongrass (about 1 ounce), cut into thirds and smashed with back of knife

1 - 2" knob of fresh ginger, peeled and cut in half

2 cloves garlic

1 1/4 lbs. fresh seafood (shrimp, white fleshed fish, scallops, calamari, etc. or any one of your favorites. You can mix or match as you like because this is where you can use what you like but choose something with a mild flavor.)

1 head baby bok choy, leaves and stems cut separately

1/2 can water chestnuts, rinsed

2 - 8 ounce packages Shirataki Tofu noodles, drained and rinsed well

white pepper to taste

1 tsp. toasted sesame oil, optional

Pour the seafood stock into a large saute pan over high heat. Add the lemongrass, ginger and garlic prepared as noted. Bring to simmer and reduce heat. Cover and simmer gently for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Depending on what type of seafood you purchased add your longest cooking first along with the stems from the bok choy and the water chestnuts. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the next batch along with the shirataki tofu noodles and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the balance of the seafood and the bok choy leaves. Cover and simmer gently for about 1 minute or until it is completely cooked. Remove the large pieces of lemongrass and ginger. Add a pinch of white pepper and the toasted sesame oil to finish.

Just as an example, I used sea scallops, which I cut in half as they were very thick, shrimp, red snapper and calamari. I cooked the scallops and shrimp first for about 3 minutes then added the snapper and cooked for about 2 minutes. Then I added the calamari and finished cooking it for 30 more seconds. I had cut the larger pieces of seafood and the bok choy stems and leaves into large bite sized pieces. I left the shrimp whole.

Nutrition Information

Yields 4 Servings

Each serving

Calories 97.6

Fat 2.6 g

Cholesterol 35 mg

Sodium 483.4 mg

Potassium 193.4 mg

Total Carbohydrates 6.95 g

Fiber 2.25 g

Protein 15.65 g

Feel free to double up on the bok choy or add other low carb vegetables that you feel are appropriate for this delicate seafood stew. I would recommend either more baby bok choy, bean sprouts, a few snow peas, or julienned carrots. Of course the addition of any other vegetables are not included in the nutrition information and you will have to make the adjustment.

Using this recipe as your basic outline you can make it with just about any protein you like. Substitute cooked chicken or even poach it in chicken stock and add some favorite vegetables along with the Shiratake Tofu Noodles. Or try slices of flank steak poached in a beef broth with broccoli, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes, for example. It's up to you. Pick your protein, a complimentary soup stock or broth, vegetables, Shiratake Tofu Noodles, some seasonings you like and viola! You have become the chef!

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