Going lowcarb means giving up on many kinds of food that one was used to eating. That’s why it seems hard to follow. But we have to thank people who make it easy by creating alternatives. While there’s an obvious difference in taste, it just takes some getting used too.
There are alternatives to noodles if you can’t totally dish out this high-carb favorite. Some of the popular choices are zucchini noodles or zoodles, spaghetti squash, kelp noodle, cucumber ribbons, and shirataki.
We love using shirataki for noodles because they resemble the real ones more – and they come in the form of rice, spaghetti, udon, and wok noodles.You can find more about shirataki noodles at the end of this post.
For now, here’s a low-carbohydrate version of Palabok, a Filipino noodle dish we adore growing up. Traditional Palabok is made with rice noodles, a savory shrimp-based sauce, and various toppings. In this low-carb version, we’ll be using shirataki noodles as a substitute for rice noodles.
Low-Carb Palabok Recipe:
2 packs of shirataki noodles (konjac noodles)
1/2 cup lean ground pork or chicken
1/2 cup cooked and peeled shrimp
1 cup chicken or homemade broth (water plus juices from the crushed heads of shrimps)
2 tablespoons coco aminos (optional)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons butter (or coconut oil)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons keto-friendly flour (e.g., almond flour or coconut flour, optional)
1 teaspoon annatto powder (achuete) dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm water (for color)
Hard-boiled eggs, sliced, for garnish
Dried fish flakes, for garnish
Crushed chicaron, for garnish
Chopped green onions, for garnish
Lemon or calamansi wedges, for serving
- Prepare the Shirataki Noodles:
- Rinse the shirataki noodles under cold water and boil them for 2-3 minutes to remove the natural konjac aroma. Drain and set aside.
- Make the Sauce:
- In a saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of butter or coconut oil over medium heat. Add the ground pork or chicken and cook until browned. Set aside on the pan.
- Sauté the garlic and onions until soft.
- Stir in the coco aminos, fish sauce, and shrimp. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Sprinkle the keto-friendly flour over the mixture, stirring continuously to avoid lumps.
- Gradually pour in the broth, stirring constantly.
- Add the annatto water for color. Simmer until the sauce thickens. Adjust the consistency with more broth if needed.
- Assemble the Palabok:
- Add the shirataki noodles to the sauce, tossing them to coat evenly. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Adjust the seasoning if necessary. If you prefer a thicker sauce, you can let it simmer a bit longer.
- Transfer the low-carb Palabok to a serving dish.
- Garnish with sliced hard-boiled eggs, dried fish flakes, crushed chicharon, chopped green onions, and a squeeze of lemon or calamansi juice.
What’s Shirataki Noodles
Shirataki noodles are a type of noodles that originated in Japan. They are made from konjac yam (also known as devil’s tongue or elephant yam), which is a low-calorie root vegetable. The word “shirataki” means “white waterfall” in Japanese, which describes the translucent appearance of these noodles.
- Low in Calories and Carbohydrates: Shirataki noodles are very low in calories and carbohydrates, making them a popular choice for those following low-carb or ketogenic diets. The high fiber content in konjac yam is mainly in the form of glucomannan, a soluble fiber that contributes to the noodles’ unique texture.
- Gluten-Free and Grain-Free: Since shirataki noodles are made from konjac yam, they are naturally gluten-free and grain-free. This makes them suitable for individuals with gluten sensitivities or those who follow a gluten-free diet.
- Translucent and Gelatinous Texture: Shirataki noodles have a gelatinous texture and are somewhat translucent. They have a unique mouthfeel that can take some getting used to, as they are softer and chewier than traditional wheat noodles.
- Neutral Flavor: Shirataki noodles have a neutral or mild flavor, which makes them versatile for use in various dishes. They tend to absorb the flavors of the sauces and ingredients they are cooked with.
Available in Different Shapes: While the most common form is the thin, spaghetti-like noodles, shirataki noodles are also available in different shapes such as fettuccine, rice, or even as udon noodles.