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Here is a yummy, low-calorie recipe I found in a Dukan diet little recipe book that my mother sent from France. It was offered with a magazine, so I can hardly link to it. I adapted it a little.

Why is this recipe low in calories? Well, mostly because we are using shirataki instead of pasta. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against pasta. I love pasta! But eating it too often is probably not a good idea if you care about your weight.

I learned what shirataki and konnyaku were only recently, while venturing in Japanese books and websites, and I am glad I found them. Here is an extract of a very interesting article at Just Hungry:

The quintessential Japanese foods that (may) help you lose weight, are konnyaku and shirataki. Both are made from the same substance, the corm of the konnyaku or konjac plant, also known as the Devil’s Tongue plant. Shirataki is also known as konnyaku noodles, to further confuse things, but I prefer to call it shirataki, which means “white waterfall”. It’s basically konnyaku shaped like long thin noodles.

Konnyaku is about as close to a zero-calorie food as you can get. No wonder, since it’s about 97% water. The remaining 3% is mostly fiber in the form of a viscous substance called glucomannan, plus some traces of protein, starch and minerals like calcium. It’s the glucomannan that makes it so interesting as a weight loss food though. A big block of konnyaku has about 10 calories, but it’s very filling. It’s long been called a ‘broom for the stomach’ (胃のほうき) in Japan because of that.

While there are several kinds of konnyaku available in Japan, outside of Japan we can usually only get ita konnyaku, basic slabs of konnyaku. Some konnyaku are white and translucent, and some are grey. Transclucent/white konnyaku is plain konnyaku made from dessicated konnyaku powder, while the grey kind is usually grey because of the addition of a powdered seaweed called arame.

Read the entire post, it’s full of information and links to recipes too.
And for Wikipedia’s fans, here is the article on Shirataki and the one on Konjac.

I have also found these tofu shirataki in most supermarkets I’ve been here. They are a mix of konjac and tofu. I have to go to Asian supermarkets to find konjac-only shirataki.

Let’s go back to our recipe, now that, hopefully, you feel like trying shirataki if you haven’t already :-)

For two persons, you need:
– a 14 oz pack of white shirataki
– one onion, diced
– one carrot, diced
– 1 celery branch, diced
– oregano
– thyme
– 1 or 2 bay leaves
– 10 oz lean minced beef
– 1 small can of tomato sauce
– 1 cup of beef stock

1. Start by making the beef stock. Set aside.

2. In a large pan, put a little oil and the diced onion. Let the onion melt on low heat for a couple of minutes.

3. Add the diced carrot and celery, the thyme, oregano and bay leaves. Add salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes.

4. Add the minced beef little by little, using your finger to make little pieces out of the 10 oz. Add the tomato sauce and the beef stock. Add salt and pepper if necessary. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 40 minutes.

5. When the meat sauce is almost ready, rinse the shirataki with cold water and put them in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain.

6. Put the shirataki in a plate and the meat sauce on top. It is ready to serve :-)