You never know how far 500 calories will stretch until you try to restrict your entire daily intake to that meagre amount… Which is what I did, voluntarily I might add, when I tried the fasting (5:2) diet which was all the rage a couple of years ago. I know people who absolutely swear by it and who successfully manage to follow it long-term. I am not one of those people although I did stick to it for a couple of months. 500 calories does not translate to very much food and you must make very wise choices so as not to waste your allowance on a couple of biscuits. Needless to say you do get very hungry indeed, although friends keep telling me that the dizziness and irritability dissipate the longer you stick the the diet.
I came across so-called ‘miracle noodles’ while on the 5:2 but never actually tried them as they were so expensive. For those not it the know, miracle noodles are made from the root of the konjac plant and they are almost calorie-free which is indeed pretty miraculous (they are also vegan and gluten-free). I finally found some affordable packs at Ocado so felt I had to try them.
So. About these noodles. There is good news and bad news. Let’s start with the bad. The smell when you open the package is distinctly fishy (though these are vegan) and rather off-putting. On the plus side, the odour goes away when you rinse the noodles and has no effect on their taste. Speaking of taste, these are pretty tasteless. Actually, entirely tasteless.
And now for the good news. Although taste-free, the noodles work well in stir-fries and Asian dishes as they have a texture similar to that of glass noodles and absorb the taste of the dishe’s sauce or marinade. They are also quite filling so if you are looking to bulk up a low-carb meal without adding any calories these are just the ticket.
I used the shirataki version of miracle noodles in my Thai salad and was pleasantly surprised. I have been making versions of this recipe for over 10 years and it remains a firm favourite no matter how ofter we eat it (which is a lot). I usually make this with rump steak although it is also amazing with turkey and lamb as in this post. You can make this with leftovers from a roast dinner in which case it is ready in record time…
- 3 tbsp Kikkoman Soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 tbsp dark brown sugar (or palm sugar) or sweetener
- 1cm/1/2 inch fresh ginger, grated
- 1 garlic clove, crushed in a garlic press
- 1 shallot, chopped very finely
- 1 red chili, deseeded and chopped finely
- ½ tsp HP brown sauce or tamarind paste
- handful fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
- handful fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
- Juice of 1 small lime
- 400g | 14oz shirataki miracle noodles
- 900g (2lbs) butterflied leg of lamb (or use leftover roast lamb)
- handful cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 smal avocado, sliced
- handful crushed cashew nuts to serve
- Garnish with a few mint and coriander leaves
- Preheat the oven to 200C (400F).
- Season 900g (2lbs) butterflied leg of lamb with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes. Rest for 10 minutes, loosely covered with foil. Slice the lamb into thin strips and set aside.
- Mix all the ingredients for the marinade together in a bowl and set aside.
- Rinse the miracle noodles with plenty of cold water, drain and then pat dry with kitchen towel.
- Mix the noodles with the chopped tomatoes, avocado and lamb and then toss together with the marinade.
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