Tag Archives: beansprouts

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Pad Thai

Pad Thai

One of the most well-known Thai dishes, Pad Thai is a wonderful street food meal. It’s incredibly simple to make and can be whizzed up in minutes. But it’s easy to get it wrong. Too much sugar, too little lime juice, or lacklustre prawns are a commonplace failing. Here I’ve added just a small amount of sweetness, along with a good amount of spiciness and saltiness. And I’ve used spring onions and beansprouts but then also added sprouted seeds, including mung beans, chickpea sprouts and lentil sprouts – for added munchiness and a good dollop of nutrients. Fast food doesn’t need to be junk food – and this dish proves it in one fell scoop.

Serves 4     Preparation time 5 minutes     Cooking time 8 minutes

Ingredients:

500g/1lb 2oz rice noodles
1 red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves
3cm/1¼in piece of root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp shrimp paste
3 tbsp olive oil
8 spring onions, white part only, finely sliced
4 tbsp fish sauce
1½ tbsp fruit sugar or caster sugar
200g/7oz/2 cups beansprouts
200g/7oz sprouted seeds, such as mung bean, chickpea and lentil
400g/14oz cooked large prawns
2 eggs, beaten
juice 2 limes
banana leaves, to serve (optional)
100g/3½oz/⅔ cup peanuts, to serve
2 large handfuls of coriander leaves, chopped, to serve
tamari soy sauce, to serve

1. Put the noodles in a large heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to stand for 5 minutes or until soft. Drain well.
2. Meanwhile, put the chilli, garlic, ginger and shrimp paste in a mini food processor or spice mill and blend until finely chopped.
3. Heat the oil in a large wok over a medium-high heat until hot. Add the chilli mixture and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the spring onions and stir-fry for a further minute until they soften. Pour the fish sauce in and sprinkle the sugar over. Add the beansprouts, sprouted seeds and prawns and stir-fry for 2–3 minutes until cooked through but the vegetables are still slightly crunchy.
4. Push the ingredients to one side of the pan, add the egg to the other side and stir-fry the egg until cooked. Mix the egg into the other ingredients and add the cooked noodles and stir thoroughly to mix everything in. Add the lime juice and stir through. Serve immediately (on banana leaves if you like) with the peanuts and coriander scattered over, and with tamari sauce on the side.

The Free-From Food Awards Shortlist (and Slim Noodles and Zero Noodles)

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The Free-From Food Awards Shortlist has just been published. Set up six years ago by Michelle Berriedale-Johnson of freefromfoodsmatter.com, these Awards celebrate the innovation and imagination shown by the food industry in creating foods for the free-from market (ie foods that do not include one or more of wheat, gluten, dairy products, eggs, yeast, soya and sugar.) It’s worth mentioning the website Foods Matter here… Originally a magazine offering information and support both to food allergic/intolerant consumers and to the health professionals caring for them, it went on-line in 2010 and has become the most awesome reference site for people with food allergies/intolerances or coeliac disease (logging over 13 million hits per year!)

I took part in the judging for a day and was hugely impressed with the whole process. There were 11 of us that day and we blind-tasted every entry in our categories in silence, making notes and scoring each one out of ten. Once we had finished, we discussed every entry and then came to our conclusions as a group. This done, we could look at who had produced what. During the day I was there, we covered Breakfast Cereals and Grocery Ambient, including pastas, sauces and condiments.

It was great to taste so many of the entries. Some of them (especially some from outside Britain) I hadn’t come across before. And it was fascinating to sit there, tasting pasta after pasta, cereal after cereal etc against each other. The variety of ingredients, and combinations of those – and the resulting tastes and textures – were really interesting. The results of the awards will be announced in April…

One of the products we tasted was especially interesting. Shortlisted for the Pasta Award, the Slim Noodles were a subject of a great deal of discussion. Recently launched, it is gluten-free and it claims to deliver not only a feeling of fullness, but also an unbelievably low calorie content (7.7 calories per 100g serving). Made from a vegetable extract called Konjac (or Konnyaku) which has apparently been eaten in Asia for centuries because of its health benefits, it expands in your stomach, leading to the sensation of being full for up to four hours. Zero fat, zero sugar, low-calorie and low-carb, it’s currently being hailed (along with a very similar product called Zero Noodles which is made of exactly the same ingredient) as the answer to weight loss for many, many people. What’s more, independent studies apparently show that it can help increase insulin in your blood sugar levels, making it great for diabetics, and can help lower cholesterol. Wow!

Slim and Zero Noodles

Slim Noodles comes in three different guises – Slim Pasta, Slim Rice and Slim Noodles. The Slim Noodles – and Zero Noodles – look very similar to glass noodles and thin rice noodles in that they are white-coloured and very thin. They have a slightly rubbery texture (the Slim Noodles I find more so than the Zero Noodles) and almost no taste. I tested these at home this weekend with a recipe (see below) and they both worked really well with noodle-style recipes, such as stir-frys and Asian-style dishes. I haven’t tasted the Slim Rice yet but the Slim Pasta was very similar to Slim Noodles – just thicker, apparently more like a pasta-shape. I’m not convinced about the concept of Slim Pasta, though, as it doesn’t work for me as something that would work with pasta sauces, such as tomato-based sauces, and there was a slightly ‘fishy’ aroma to these, I thought.

You’ll find both the Slim Noodles and Zero Noodles in health food stores. In Holland & Barrett the Slim Noodles sell for £2.49 and the Zero Noodles (organic) for £1.99. They’re the same size – so go for the cheaper Zero Noodles if you’re looking to try the product!

Asian-fish Zero Noodles

Steamed Asia-Style Fish with Zero Noodles

gluten-free, dairy-free, soya-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free

Serves 2     Preparation time 10 minutes, plus at least 1 hour marinating time     Cooking time 12–15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 fish fillets, such as salmon, trout or cod
  • 2 large salad onions or 6 spring onions, white part finely chopped
  • stir-fry vegetables, such as beansprouts, pak choi

Marinade:

  • 2cm/¾in piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stick, finely chopped
  • 1 large red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 large handfuls of coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp tamari soy sauce
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 serving of Zero Noodles, to serve
  1. Put the fish in a shallow, non-metallic dish. Mix together all the marinade ingredients in a bowl or jug and pour over the tuna. Cover with a lid or cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour, preferably longer.
  2. Spoon the marinade into a large wok and heat over a medium-high heat. Cook for 2–3 minutes until the onion starts to soften and turn translucent. Add the vegetables and then place the fish on the top. Cover with a lid and steam for about 10 minutes, until the fish is cooked through. Serve hot with the prepared Zero Noodles.

Gluten-free and Dairy-Free Laksa

This is show-stopper of a meal – with a wonderful blend of tastes and aromas – and very beautiful.

Laksa recipes can differ hugely – and I’ve made my version with far more peanuts than any laksa I’ve ever eaten. I think it gives it a wonderfully nutty base to the fiery tastes. Don’t be put off by the idea of making your own paste – it’s actually amazingly quick and easy. You simply put the ingredients in a mini-blender or mini-food processor and whiz – and you have a beautifully fresh, aromatic paste which is worlds away from the ready-made pastes you can buy.

gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, seed-free

Preparation time 15 minutes     Cooking time 20 minutes    Serves 4 ⅓

  • 250ml/9fl oz/1 cup olive oil or rapeseed oil
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced
  • 150g/5½oz/1 cup unsalted peanuts
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 750ml/26fl oz/3 cups coconut cream
  • 500ml/17fl oz/2 cups stock made from gluten-, yeast- and dairy-free stock powder
  • 4 tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 200g/7oz rice noodles
  • 100g/3½oz beansprouts
  • 250g/9oz cooked large, king prawns
  • 1 large handful coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 handful mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped, to serve
  • 2 spring onions, white part finely sliced, to serve
  • 2 limes, quartered, to serve

Paste:

  • 2 large red chillies, halved
  • 3 sticks lemongrass, cut into thirds
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2.5cm/1in piece root ginger, peeled
  • 4 shallots, quartered
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp shrimp paste
  • 1 tbsp agave syrup
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  1. Pour the oil into a small saucepan and heat over a medium-high heat until hot. Add the sliced shallots and fry for 5–6 minutes until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and put on kitchen paper.
  2. Heat a wok over a medium-high heat until hot. Add the peanuts and dry-fry for 3–4 minutes until starting to turn brown, stirring frequently. Remove from the pan, put into the bowl of a mini-blender and process until finely chopped. Remove and leave to one side.
  3. Put the ingredients for the paste into the bowl of the mini-blender or mini-food processor and blend thoroughly until the mixture becomes a paste.
  4. Pour the oil into the wok and heat over a medium heat until hot. Add the paste and stir in the chopped peanuts. Fry for 2–3 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour in the coconut cream, stock and fish sauce and stir well, whisking if necessary, to mix the coconut cream in thoroughly. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, put the rice noodles in a large, heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to stand for 5 minutes until soft. Tip into a colander and rinse well under cold running water.
  6. Add the rice noodles to the wok, along with the beansprouts and prawns, stir in thoroughly and cook for 2 minutes. Sprinkle in the coriander and mint and stir in gently. Serve immediately with the chopped chilli, spring onions and fried shallots sprinkled over, and served with lime quarters.