It should come as no surprise that one of my favorite publications for the kitchen and domestic life is “Vegetarian Times.” Every time a new issue comes out my shopping list is populated with ingredients from the latest recipes and I make many of them (several times!). This month is an especially good rendition of my beloved Veg-rag. Cannelini gratin, balsamic roasted grapes and olives, five innovative recipes for kale and handmade chocolate truffles are in the pages, just to name a few.
My favorite recipe, however, is a spicy shirataki noodle dish. The first time I made it was a bit of a surprise because of how spicy it was. We’re talking 2 Tbs jalepenos, 2 tsp siracha sauce, garlic and onions. It had some serious kick. Yet it was not off-putting… just a slow, constant burn. Rare is the time that I drink cow’s milk but there I was drinking straight up moojuice and crunching raw sugar-snaps like it was my job.
Under other circumstances, such an experience would have made me pitch the recipe and never make it again. Yet, there was something so lovely about the combination of flavors and the texture of the noodles (I had never made shirataki before) that I had to try it again.
Well, that and I got a wok over the holidays and have been very committed to using it as much as possible.
So last night, I was craving a little spice and wanted something quick and easy to toss together. I opted to give the rooster another opportunity to wreak havoc on our palates. The original recipe calls for bell peppers, but not having them on hand I decided to use what was available in my kitchen. I would post the recipe here, but out of respect for the publication, I won’t. However, I will watch the website and see if they post it in the coming months.
In my variation I roasted some garlic with toasted sesame oil in the wok-of-wonder, then tossed in a single (but hearty!) tablespoon of diced jalapenos (jarred is the only variety available this time of year), let them mingle and get cozy with each other. Then, I threw in some onions (~1/2 large onion finely sliced) and let them soften a bit. In a separate bowl, I mixed 2 Tbs lemon juice with 4 Tbs tamari, 1 Tbs brown sugar, 1 tsp siracha and 1 tsp chili-garlic. After thoroughly combining that mixture, I tossed some broccoli florets into the wok to start getting a little steamy. Once the broccoli had softened a little, I added the tamari mixture and folded in 2 packages of fettuccine-style shirataki noodles that had been thoroughly rinsed and par-cooked for about 3 minutes in boiling water.
It turned out really well! Just enough spice for a blustery mid-winter evening and hearty enough for a post-workout meal. Even with limited experience working with shirataki noodles, I am ready to sing their praises. They are so good! At only about 20 calories a serving, they are about as guilt-free as noodles come. They absorb the flavors of the dish in which they are incorporated, and are quicker to prepare than traditional pasta. In case this is sounding too good to be true, there is one drawback to using these in your cooking: when they come out of the package they smell a bit rank. I’m not sure why, but they have an odd odor that I can best describe as the smell of dirty tofu. This goes away with a good rinsing, but it can be off-putting the first time around if you’re not expecting it.
That said, I am always looking for ways to create hearty, delicious meals while economizing on caloric and fat intake. This is a great way to do it–2 grams of fiber and one gram of protein per serving is not a bad deal at 20 calories per serving. Versatile and filling, I am excited to experiment more with them.
Variations on spicy shirataki noodles are decidedly my latest love in the kitchen! Thanks, Veg Times!