HOW LOW CAN YOU GO?
2020 has somewhat crept up on us , we were so very busy running up to the last few days of the decade that there wasn't much time to sharpen a pencil let alone write a blog post!
Most of us begin a new year with resolutions aplenty with a 'more of this, less of that' attitude, firm vows to wear a #Fitbit not a fat bit, to take better care, be heart-healthy and stop turning the various bits of exercise equipment we all accrue into giant clothes horses and dust collectors.
You may have seen our new advertising campaign in the London Jewish News showcasing our new 'light & lean' branded products; perfect for deliciously warming, diet friendly dishes. Ideal after the obligatory eight days of donuts we have all just enjoyed and when food inspo is a little depleted. I am sure I am not alone in feeling stuffed to the gunwales after the festivities and I am guilty as the next person of buying for 'just in case' events and extra guests that do not occur; always left with something deliciously calorific that needs finishing up in front of the latest episode of Call The Midwife.
I think it is heartless and futile to start the year of good intentions with a diet that begins on the first day of January especially when there is the siren song of a box of chocolates, Turkish Delight or some salty savoury mixed nuts calling from the nosh cupboard. In our house the diet begins on the first day of school term; this gives us enough time to gobble up the last of the little luxuries without feeling the teeniest hint of remorse or guilt. This week is the start of term, ergo the start of dieting season for us, so we are going to put together a host of delicious recipes over the coming weeks that can be adapted for gluten-free, low-carb, low GI/sugar etc depending on your dietetic preference.
We will also be spotlighting various diet friendly items that might help fight the battle of the bulge. Today's offering is #Konjac noodles, spaghetti and 'rice'. Often called #shirataki noodles this is a product that originates from China/Japan where the Konjac root is harvested, dried and ground into flour to be turned into a host of low calorie, zero fat and almost no carbohydrate content. The konjac root contains #glucomannan, a water soluble fibre, which can contribute to weight loss as when combined with plenty of water as it swells in the stomach to give a feeling of fullness.
I managed to find not one but two makes of konjac noodles in #Hadar in Edgware, #Barenaked noodles and #GeneralNature #WonderNoodles Bare Naked Noodles are 15 calories per serving and Wonder Noodles are...drrrrrummmm roll please...ZERO calories per portion!
They are a really useful and filling addition to any stir fry or ramen dish. A note of caution; THEY SMELL!! Make sure to empty them into a sieve rather than a colander and give them a good rinse for at least a minute under cold running water. I have tried the Bare Naked noodles and they are very good, but they do have the addition of a little gluten free Oatmeal flour and soya bean fibre which is where the extra calories come from.
Another addition to our store cupboard is organic coconut sugar. It is lower GI than regular refined sugar, contains many of the essential nutrients and minerals of the palm (zinc, calcium and potassium, along with some short-chain fatty acids like polyphenols and antioxidants) and inulin, another dietary fibre, that slows the absorption of glucose and other sugars. It is almost as high in calories as regular sugar, so use it sparingly! I have used coconut sugar in the recipe below but don't feel you have to, regular sugar will work just as well.
TASTY TERYAKI CHICKEN WITH BROCCOLINI
Teryaki Sauce: 1/4 cup soy sauce - low sodium preferably
3 Tablespoons coconut sugar
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon ginger (grated fresh or dried)
2 teaspoons corn starch
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds *optional
1 red chili sliced *optional
3 x chicken breast fillets sliced across the breast (approx 2 packs stir fry chicken strips or cubes) 1 small onion or 2-3 shallots cut into thin half moons
500g steamed broccolini or regular broccoli, broken into florets
1 Tablespoon oil
3 spring onions sliced *optional
1 teaspoon of fresh ginger in matchsticks *optional
1 red chili sliced *optional
Slice the chicken breast into strips or cubes or buy it ready prepared. Prepare and steam the broccoli or broccolini until just tender.
I like a bit of heat, particularly during a grey and wet January so I always add a sliced red chili to the chicken as it fries and then garnish with another sliced red chili but that is entirely up to you. If you are going to add the chili, serve the finished dish with a wedge of fresh and juicy lime to squeeze over it at the table.
While the broccoli is steaming, heat a tablespoon of oil in a non-stick pan or wok and stir fry the chicken until it is golden with a good crust forming at the edges. Add the sliced onion as the chicken begins to colour allowing it to soften and bronze in the heat of the pan. Whisk all the sauce ingredients together and add it to the pan, reduce the heat a little and allow the sauce to thicken and reduce as the chicken cooks through. If the sauce reduces too quickly just add a little of the broccoli cooking water to slake and thin it to a coating consistency.
Add the well drained broccoli to the pan and give it all another stir to combine, along with the konjac noodles, if using. Divide between bowls to serve and garnish with some matchsticks of fresh ginger and some spring onion for extra zing!