Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tofu Shirataki Noodles in Beef Lo Mein

I’m a firm believer in real food. Thanks to a medical condition I can’t have artificial sweeteners, and I tend to avoid other artificial things like flavor or color. That eliminates a lot of dieting staples from my life: no sugar free soda, no sugar free pudding snacks, and almost no diet versions of regular foods. From time to time I’ll find a substitution that works for me, like swapping creamed cauliflower for mashed potatoes, but usually swaps don’t work for me.

Tofu Shirataki noodles are a swap that does work for me in a lot of ways. With only 20 calories per 4 ounce serving (that’s zero Weight Watchers points) these noodles satisfy a craving for pasta without the calories and carbs. Although a staple in Japan, at one point the Atkins diet made them easy find here in the US. They were stocked by Safeway and Costco. Now you’ll have to check with an Asian supermarket to find their guilt free goodness.

Because Tofu Shirataki noodles are made from tofu and yam flour they come packaged in water. The water tends to have a slightly unpleasant smell. To begin cooking, rinse the noodles thoroughly, then microwave in fresh water for two minutes. (If you don’t have a microwave, parboil in boiling water on the stove.) Drain and dry before cooking. They taste best when cooked in a flavorful sauce such as the recipe below.

Beef Lo Mein with Tofu Shirataki noodles

4 ounces per person of very lean Beef (in these photos I used top round beef)
1 bag (8 oz.) Tofu Shirataki, rinsed, parboiled, and dried
1 cup snow peas
1 cup green peas

Marinade for the beef:
3 tablespoons orange juice
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon Mirin (Japanese Rice Wine)
1 tablespoon Japanese Rice Wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Sesame seeds
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Slice the beef thin, on the bias. Combine the first 9 ingredients for the marinade, altering to your taste. When it’s perfect, add the beef and refrigerate for at least two hours.

In a hot nonstick pan begin to cook the beef, pouring the marinade into a pot for later use. Steam or microwave the vegetables.

Place the marinade over medium heat. When it reaches a boil add the rinsed, microwaved, and dried Shirataki noodles. After five minutes remove the noodles from the sauce and arrange on the plate. Add the cornstarch to the remaining marinade, whisking to combine.

Arrange the beef and vegetables on the plates. When the marinade has thickened pour over the plates and serve immediately.

A complex recipe, but well worth it for the calorie savings. While Shirataki noodles have a bit of a strange mouth-feel, they taste like whatever you cooked them in. I’ll take a slightly rubbery or slippery bite to save roughly 160 calories per serving. What about you? Fake foods or no? Would you rather go without than try a substitute?


When she’s not cooking, buying, or dreaming about food Rachel Kleinsorge writes steamy paranormal mystery romances. She is currently waiting for the call from her agent, the amazing Carolyn Grayson, while working on her next novel.


Michelle Butler on April 24, 2010 at 11:08 AM said...

Wow. I've never heard of those noodles. They sound very interesting - I'm going to add this recipe to my list of things to try.

I do sometimes use substitutes, but like you, I tend to prefer "real" food.

Anne MacFarlane on April 25, 2010 at 7:22 AM said...

This sounds really good. And I too love real food, made from scratch. I've never heard of these noodles but we do have some Asian grocery stores close by so I'll be checking them out.

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