Jap chae (Korean sweet potato noodles) with bulgogi

Jap chae noodlesJap chae is one of those dishes for which I like to keep the ingredients in the pantry/fridge/freezer at all times. Then, on those days when I’m lacking a plan but need something quick and tasty, I can just whip it up. The only problem is, I always underestimate how much everybody will gobble up. What looks like a generous amount of noodles in the wok always gets eaten up and I don’t end up with leftovers (I love leftovers). Oh well – I can’t complain too much about my kids eating healthy food without the usual whining.

Jap chae is made with Korean sweet potato noodles, which look like thick, brownish glass noodles. (This is the brand I used.) They have a slightly sticky, chewy consistency that I really like – though this is decidedly not a dish for which you want a gluey sauce. They’re naturally gluten-free. I can’t scientifically say whether they’re low-FODMAP but I can say I’ve never had a problem with them. Although sweet potatoes are moderate in FODMAPs I would suspect making them into starch, then noodles, would probably eliminate most of the FODMAPs. Again, this is speculation. Continue reading

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Gingery tofu and vegetable stir fry

Vegetable stir fry in a large glass bowlWhen I was growing up, one of my favourite vegetable-heavy dishes was a stir-fry my mother made using broccoli, shrimp, tofu and ginger. The broccoli was delicately infused with the flavour of ginger and the sea, making it a comfort food that was actually healthy. When I grew up, I learned to make it too, albeit not quite as well as my mother. Unfortunately, I fell in love with a man who’s allergic to shrimp and shellfish, and more recently, I developed irritable bowel syndrome and found broccoli disagrees with me because it’s high in FODMAPs.

It took awhile but I’ve since developed this tofu vegetable dish as an alternative. Sometimes I add thinly sliced chicken breast too, if I want it to be a main dish, but more often I make it as a vegetable side dish. It’s not quite what I remember but it hits the same notes – soft, saucy, gingery, mildly salty. It’s also a dish that’s easy to throw together by feel, without having to measure ingredients, so the quantities given here are approximate. Make it to your own taste. Continue reading

Kung pao chicken

A wok full of chicken and vegetable stir fryI love kung pao chicken. I make it regularly without consulting any recipes, so the following is a bit approximate. That’s OK. Kung pao chicken is a forgiving dish, the kind of dish where you get to unleash your creativity, improvise, maybe use up whatever’s in the fridge – and it’ll still come out tasty.

It might be argued that this isn’t a proper kung pao chicken at all, since it’s not spicy, or not necessarily. I have small children. If I make spicy food, they won’t eat it. Since I love hot food, I add the spice to my own plate. I don’t care what the purists may say – it’s still kung pao chicken to me. It has chicken. It has sweet peppers. It has nuts. It has kung pao chicken-y flavour. What more do you need? Continue reading