There are a few ingredients used in this dish that may not be familiar to you: Shirataki noodles, enoki mushrooms and coconut aminos. Since primal eaters do not eat soy, coconut aminos is a very popular alternative for creating authentic-tasting Asian dishes. It is lighter than regular soy sauce or even liquid aminos, such as the Braggs brand found in many whole foods stores. Where a couple drops of soy sauce would be used, a couple teaspoons of coconut aminos is needed. Coconut aminos is cool because it is harvested from the sap of the blossom before it becomes a full on coconut. The sap is basically fermented and after a while turns into something uncannily close to soy sauce. Pretty incredible.
Shirataki noodles come from the root of a yam-like plant called Konjac grown in Asian countries, primarily Japan and China. They have a chewier texture than regular wheat noodles and are packaged in liquid, ready to eat. Just open the package, rinse, blanch and add to your meal. Very convenient! These noodles have trace amounts of carbohydrates and calories, if any, and are gluten-free. Though this is only for the traditional Shirataki noodle—there is a tofu Shirataki noodle now available, so be sure to look closely at the label when you pick some of these up.
I roasted a whole chicken in my Crock Pot yesterday and so I’m making a stock today with the carcass. After pulling off the meat, I put it in a large stock pot and add water just to the top of the breast bone. You can add onion, celery and carrot too if you want… or not. Whatever sounds good. Let this go at a soft boil for a few hours to render out all the goodness bones and veggies offer. After a couple hours, strain out the bones, skin, etc and reserve the broth. Skim the fat and season with salt, pepper and a few red chili flakes. Let this simmer and reduce while you prepare the other ingredients for the noodle bowl.
I decided to make a flavorful hash to accompany a mild broth and near flavorless noodle. I envisioned the reverse of pho—pho has a flavorful rich broth and unseasoned meat. My noodle bowl has a mild broth that is kicked up by garlicky chicken and carrots. I’m intentionally keeping this simple. I want you to want to cook, not just mimic recipes. Would you add Thai basil and lime? Would you add more red chili flakes or a couple jalapeno slices? Would you use leftover pork instead of chicken? Fresh ginger and Chinese parsley (cilantro) would be a nice addition too. It’s the concept I want to leave you with, not the exact ingredients and proportions.
I fed two adults and one kiddo with this:
- 1 ½ – 2 cups of shredded chicken
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
- 2-3 cups fresh, homemade chicken broth
- 2 packages of Shirataki noodles
- A few enoki mushrooms
- Pinch of red chili flakes
- Salt & pepper
- Olive or coconut oil
So while your seasoned broth is reducing, heat your favorite frying pan to medium-high and add some olive or coconut oil. Also, set out a small pot of water to boil. When the frying pan is hot, add the carrots, chicken and garlic. Stir fry til the carrots are tender and the chicken has some color to it. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on this while cooking to enhance what’s happening naturally. After a few minutes my “hash” started to dry out and some chicken was sticking to the pan, so I deglazed with about a ½ cup of simmering broth. Once the bits lift and most of the moisture evaporates or absorbs, take it off the heat and set aside in a bowl.
Prep the Shirataki noodles according to package directions. Your water is hopefully boiling by now, so you can start blanching. When the Shiratakis are done, we’re ready to start building our delicious bowls of noodley goodness.
Place a serving of noodles in the bowl and ladle in about a cup of broth—or however much you prefer. Top the noodles with the chicken-carrot-garlic hash and some enoki mushrooms. Enokis are quite common in Asian cooking, but doesn’t this look impressive?
Finish it off with a couple spoonfuls of coconut aminos and scallions. (By the way, shame on me for not having scallions. Sorry, Dad!)
And there ya go. Almost as good as pho… or maybe it’s better, depending on how you look at it.