If you know me, you know – I’m a big proponent of eating an optimal diet full of nutritious, minimally processed foods, and avoiding inflammatory foods, so you can achieve and maintain optimal health. As such, I am not a fan of ingredients that are of low nutritional and health value, no matter if they’re supposedly low carb/Keto, or Paleo, or not. So you won’t typically see me recommending foods that are touted as low carb or Paleo but are processed and unrecognizable as food.
One exception, though, is the family of shirataki products – fettucine, spaghetti, angel hair, and rice.
The reason that these earn a spot on my recommended foods list is that, while they are processed, they are zero carb, and their benefits are many. These benefits are due to their glucomannan content, which comes from shirataki’s main ingredient, konjac, a type of Japanese yam. Glucomannan acts as a dietary fiber in the body, and konjac noodle and rice products do a lot of good things for us:
- Aid in fat burning (ie. healthy weight loss)
- Help to balance blood sugar
- Improve cholesterol profile
- Act as a prebiotic, feeding beneficial microbes in our gut microbiome
- Relieve diarrhea and constipation
- Provide satiety, which is particularly useful when first switching over to lower carb
- Act as a satisfying and healthy alternative to traditional and gluten-free pastas, and rice
There are even several low FODMAP varieties of shirataki products, for those with sensitive digestions and/or digestive issues such as IBS, IBD, and Crohn’s.
Two important tricks to using shirataki products successfully:
- Be prepared for the texture to be different from traditional pasta and rice (they are a little chewy, there’s no getting around it).
- Dry fry them before using them in your meals. See the directions, below, for how to do this.
So, on to today’s recipe! And it’s a classic: oh-so-comforting ramen noodle soup, made CleanKeto.
You can vary what you put in this soup quite a bit – all sorts of different proteins and low carb veggies will work well – and as long as you have a great broth, it’ll be great. One of the keys to a good broth is a complex umami flavor. Umami is a satisfying, savory taste and mouth-feel found in many foods. Some CleanKeto examples of umami foods are:
- long-simmered bone broth (made from the bones of pastured animals, of course!)
- coconut aminos
- mushrooms, esp shiitake
- fish sauce
- shrimp paste
- fish (esp sardines and anchovies)
- dark meat poultry
- cured meats
- fermented, smoked and aged foods
- macadamia nuts and nut butter
- coconut: oil, butter, milk, cream and yogurt
- ripe tomatoes
- Napa cabbage
- toasted sesame oil
- nutritional yeast (I’m addicted to Frontier Co-op’s Nacho Nutritional Yeast!)
So, use that info to guide you in experimenting with future batches of your tasty comforting CleanKeto ramen noodle soup.
Now, let’s get started with today’s version of this wonderful soup!
- 2 x 7oz packages of shirataki noodles
- 1/4 teaspoon each sea salt and black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon avocado oil
- 4 chicken thighs
- Use boneless and skinless to save time, but if you have the time, bone-in and skin-on are better for you and tastier!
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 Tablespoons ginger, finely chopped
- 6 cups bone broth – homemade, or Kettle & Fire brand
- 1/4 cup coconut aminos
- 2 Tablespoons fish sauce – make sure it’s Paleo-friendly
- 1/2 tspn five spice powder
- 5 oz mushrooms – any kind you like, though shiitake have the most umami flavor
- 3 bundles of bok choy, chopped and blanched
- 3 soft boiled eggs, shelled and sliced
- 1/2 cup sliced scallions
- Optional: if you like your soup base thicker/heartier, add coconut butter or macadamia nut butter or a combo to desired consistency
First, mise en place (bring all your ingredients together).
Then, prepare your shirataki. Shirataki noodles and rice usually come bagged in water. To prepare them:
- Remove the noodles from the bag and place them in a colander or strainer.
- Rinse the noodles well, as the water they are bagged in can have a fishy smell.
- Shake the shirataki in the colander/strainer over the sink to drain well.
- Add shirataki to a dry saucepan, turn heat on medium high, and cook for several minutes, stirring frequently, until all excess water has cooked off and shirataki are dry.
- Now they’re ready to use!
And now, for the soup:
- Sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic powder and chili powder onto chicken thighs.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add 1 Tablespoon of avocado oil to a skillet.
- Add the chicken and cook until it is completely cooked through, about 8-10 minutes (longer if bone-in).
- Set the chicken aside, and cover to keep it warm.
- Add the onion, garlic and ginger to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes until the onion begins to soften.
- Add the broth, coconut aminos, fish sauce, and five spice, and bring to a boil.
- Add the mushrooms and simmer for a few minutes until softened.
- Add bok choy, eggs and scallions, and nut butter if using.
- Serve by placing a handful of shirataki noodles into each bowl, then adding soup, and topping with garnishes as desired.
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