Weeknight Cooking

What Are Konjac Noodles? (They May Be Hiding In Your Bodega)

March  9, 2017

This is part of an ongoing series to celebrate bodegas (and their owners) in New York City—each week, we're highlighting recipes from food writers and chefs made entirely from ingredients purchased in bodegas. Today: food and technology writer Larissa Zimberoff makes a colorful stir-fry with items from her favorite local bodega—while staying totally in-line with her no-grain, no-dairy, no-sugar diet.

There are seven bodegas near my apartment, but I only shop at two. At the small one, I buy my almond milk. At the big one, I buy whatever is missing for a quick and wholesome dinner. I eat out a lot, so when I do eat at home, it’s good for my health! I knew I had fresh ginger in the house, a carrot, and a cooked Japanese sweet potato, which is one of my meal tricks—buy a sweet potato on Sunday and roast it in the oven, and then, later in the week, cut it off into sections as I need it.

Never underestimate your bodega's produce section! Photo by Liz Clayman

Today I found out my big bodega is officially called Wholesome Foods. It’s owned by a man from Gujarat, India, which is north of Mumbai. I’ve never met him, but I love his store. The first thing I noticed when I walked in were the seaweed snacks. I grabbed a bag, and then found some gluten-free noodles made from konjac, a plant cultivated in East Asia that is similar to taro. It is usually labeled "shirataki" and flouted for its dearth of calories—zero, in some cases. (Miracle Noodle and Better Than Foods, which I bought, are brands that are most widely available in bodegas). Over by the refrigerator section, I spied some really good looking yellow peppers and Aidells chicken sausage. Dinner, done.

If it sounds too healthful, I’ll admit that I just finished following Whole30 for the month of January, a diet that involves foregoing dairy, sugar, alcohol, wheat, grains, soy and legumes. After a month of eating outrageously clean, it’s left me wanting to stick to the plan. The meal I’ve made here fits under the Whole30 umbrella, but that doesn’t mean it’s not delicious. Enjoy!

Want to get involved? Send your bodega recipe to [email protected]

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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7 Comments

Marsha G. March 11, 2017
I tried shirataki noodles in a recipe once. Once. Never again. Please check out my food blog at www.what-marsha-eats.tumblr.com.
 
Candy March 10, 2017
The noodles are pretty good for Asian noodle dishes (nice how they won't absorb water and bloat up in a soup overnight and of course, nice on the waistline/carb count), but I'm always saddened that konjac in general didn't catch on. I was thrilled to find the big rectangular block of "that weird stuff I ate back in Japan" at a local Asian grocery. I quite enjoyed the rubbery texture of chunks of it, especially contrasted with other ingredients in the nimono pot.
 
kath1 March 10, 2017
I am in UK. What is a bodega please?
 
Matilda L. March 10, 2017
A bodega is New York-ese for corner store.
 
Matilda L. March 10, 2017
Or I suppose, in your area, sort of the equivalent of a newsagent. (Or where I grew up, a depanneur, or "dep" for short.)
 
Andreea March 10, 2017
Seeing people continue to recc Whole30 is just embarrassing given how laughably random and unscientific the diet is. For example, why would cutting out all legumes be in any way "healthful" or "clean"? They're a delicious usually fat-free source of protein, fibre, iron and B vitamins and regular consumption of legumes has been associated with lower risks of heart disease and diabetes - unlike red meat which is permitted in Whole30 although it's been proven to cause a whole host of health problems. Whole30 really is just another scam of a fad diet designed only to make its owners money not to improve people's wellbeing. They put together a random list of "forbidden" foods (which roughly correspond to those banned by paleo diets) and started promoting it as something healthy.
 
VanessaJo March 15, 2017
Amen.