Let’s cut to the chase! Made from the root of the konjac plant mainly cultivated in Asia, there’s a new kind of noodle/pasta-esque product on the block. This version lets you enjoy the texture and taste of your favorite sauce or topping without all the carbs and calories so many of us look to avoid. Once only available in Asia, you can now find konjac-based noodles and pasta in the refrigerated section of most Asian grocery stores as well as in health food stores and many major supermarkets.
Broadly speaking, there are two types of konjac product; regular and tofu, and both are made from a konjac (also called yam) flour base. The variety made with tofu in the recipe is generally preferred because the texture is closer to grain-based pasta. Both kinds are available in traditional long pasta shapes including noodles, spaghetti, angel hair and fettuccine as well as ‘rice’.
If you are sensitive to certain food elements, get ready to get excited about this vegetable. Konjac is free of gluten and dairy, has almost no “bad” carbohydrates, and has a low GI. Calorie counters favor konjac over regular pasta because a typical serve contains just 11 calories, compared to 221 calories in a cup of regular pasta. The root of the konjac plant is full of fibre, so konjac products are a great natural boost for weight loss and maintenance.
Ready to try? Konjac-based brand SlendierSlim sent us this rather tasty recipe.
Spicy Asian Chicken Soup
Number of Servings: 2
Prep Time: 15 minutes
1 – 250 gram packet angel hair pasta
200 grams cooked lean chicken breast, skin removed and thinly sliced
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups of water
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons reduced salt soy sauce (GF)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
5 cm piece fresh ginger, finely grated
2 red bulls eye chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh coriander or cilantro leaves
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrot
1/4 cup thinly sliced button mushrooms
1/4 cup thinly sliced red capsicum
5 cm piece lemongrass
Lime wedges and Thai basil leaves for garnish
Prepare pasta per package instructions. Drain well and set aside.
Place lemongrass, chilli, garlic, coriander, ginger and soy sauce in a blender container or mortar. Combine the ingredients to form a paste in the blender or crush them with the pestle in the mortar.
Place chicken stock, water and tomato paste into a large pot. Stir with a wire whisk to incorporate ingredients.
Set pot over medium heat and gently bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add sliced carrot.
Blend the spice mixture into the liquid with a whisk. Add the sliced mushroom and capsicum to the pot and stir to combine. Simmer gently until the vegetables are fork tender but not mushy.
Add the sliced chicken breast and add to the soup. Gently simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, taking care not to overcook the chicken and dry it out.
Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the pasta. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
Ladle soup into serving bowls. Garnish with lime wedges and Thai basil leaves and serve hot.
Noodles made from the root of konjac cook very quickly, so be sure not to overcook them. Try them tossed with different sauces and vegetables and experiment with fresh herbs and ground spices.