Exploring Asian Cuisine: 10 Low Calorie Noodle Recipes
Asian cuisine is renowned for its vibrant flavours, aromatic spices, and diverse range of dishes. For those looking to enjoy the flavours of Asia while keeping their calorie intake in check, we have curated a collection of 10 low calorie noodle recipes from various Asian cultures. These recipes showcase the versatility of noodles, offering healthier alternatives without compromising on taste. Read on as we embark on a culinary journey through Asia and discover some delightful low calorie noodle recipes that are sure to satisfy your taste buds and keep you feeling light and nourished.
A brief history of noodles
Noodles have been a staple food in many cultures around the world for thousands of years. The exact origin of noodles is still a topic of debate among historians, but the earliest evidence of noodle consumption dates back to around 4,000 years ago in China.
It is believed that the Chinese were the first to invent noodles by mixing flour and water to create a dough that was then rolled out and cut into various shapes. These early noodles were made from wheat, millet, or rice flour and were typically boiled or fried. Noodles quickly gained popularity in China and spread to other parts of Asia through trade routes.
In ancient Rome, a similar type of pasta called "laganum" was consumed. However, it is unclear whether this pasta was directly influenced by Chinese noodles or if it developed independently. From Italy, pasta dishes travelled to different parts of Europe during the Middle Ages.
During the 13th century, the explorer Marco Polo is often credited with introducing noodles to Italy after his travels in China. However, there is little evidence to support this claim, and it is more likely that pasta was already present in Italy before Polo's travels.
Regardless of its origin, pasta and noodles became an integral part of Italian cuisine, and Italy is now renowned for its diverse pasta dishes. Over time, different regions in Italy developed their own unique styles of pasta, such as spaghetti, penne, and lasagna.
In the 19th century, with the mass production of pasta, noodles became more accessible and affordable to people worldwide. Today, noodles are enjoyed in numerous forms and variations across various cultures, including ramen in Japan, udon in Korea, and pad Thai in Thailand.
10 low calorie noodle recipes from around Asia
If you’d like to enjoy some delicious noodle recipes but you’re worried about watching your weight, fear not. Here are 10 low-calorie noodle recipes from different Asian cuisines:
Vietnamese Pho with Zucchini Noodles
Replace traditional rice noodles with spiralized zucchini noodles for a lighter twist on this classic Vietnamese dish. Simmer lean protein like chicken or tofu in a flavorful broth made with aromatic spices like star anise, cinnamon, and cloves. Serve the zucchini noodles in the hot broth and top with fresh herbs like cilantro, mint, and Thai basil. Add bean sprouts and a squeeze of lime juice for a refreshing and low-calorie meal.
Japanese Soba Salad
Cook soba noodles according to package instructions and rinse them under cold water to cool. In a large bowl, toss the cooked noodles with an array of colourful vegetables such as thinly sliced cucumber, shredded carrots, diced bell peppers, and steamed edamame. For the dressing, whisk together soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, honey, and a touch of grated ginger. Pour the dressing over the noodles and vegetables, and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds for added texture and flavour.
Thai Shrimp Pad Thai with Shirataki Noodles
Swap out traditional rice noodles with shirataki noodles, which are made from konjac yam and are very low in calories. In a wok or skillet, stir-fry the shirataki noodles with shrimp, bean sprouts, tofu cubes, and sliced scallions. Prepare a tangy sauce by combining lime juice, fish sauce, low-sodium soy sauce, a touch of honey, and a dash of chilli sauce. Toss the noodles and ingredients in the sauce until well coated, and garnish with crushed peanuts and fresh cilantro.
Chinese Vegetable Lo Mein
For a healthier version of the popular Chinese takeout dish, stir-fry your favourite vegetables like bok choy, sliced mushrooms, bell peppers, and snow peas in a small amount of vegetable oil. Cook whole wheat or brown rice noodles according to package instructions, then add them to the wok with the vegetables. Drizzle with a mixture of low-sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, and a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds. Toss everything together until well combined, and adjust the seasoning to taste.
Korean Japchae with Sweet Potato Noodles
Prepare sweet potato noodles by boiling them until tender, then rinse under cold water to cool. In a large skillet, stir-fry the noodles with an assortment of colourful vegetables such as spinach, thinly sliced carrots, and mushrooms. For the sauce, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, minced garlic, and a touch of sugar. Add the sauce to the skillet and continue to stir-fry until the noodles and vegetables are well coated. Serve garnished with toasted sesame seeds.
Indonesian Gado Gado Noodle Salad
Cook rice noodles according to package instructions, then drain and rinse with cold water. Blanch vegetables such as green beans, cabbage, and bean sprouts until crisp-tender, then shock them in ice water to retain their vibrant colour. In a bowl, whisk together peanut butter, lime juice, low-sodium soy sauce, a touch of honey, and a pinch of chilli paste. Toss the cooked noodles and blanched vegetables in the peanut sauce until evenly coated. To serve, top with boiled eggs and garnish with chopped peanuts and fresh cilantro.
Indian Vegetable Upma
Instead of using traditional semolina or rice flour, cook whole wheat or quinoa noodles according to package instructions. In a pan, heat some oil and sauté diced onions, grated carrots, peas, and sliced bell peppers until tender. Add cooked noodles to the pan and season with turmeric, curry leaves, mustard seeds, and a pinch of salt. Stir everything together until well combined, and serve hot as a light and flavorful Indian-inspired dish.
Malaysian Laksa Soup with Konjac Noodles
Prepare konjac noodles by rinsing them thoroughly under cold water. In a pot, bring a mixture of coconut milk, vegetable broth, and red curry paste to a simmer. Add shrimp, tofu, or chicken pieces along with vegetables like bean sprouts and bok choy. Cook until the protein is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Serve the laksa soup over the konjac noodles, and garnish with fresh cilantro and lime wedges for a spicy and satisfying meal.
Filipino Pancit Canton
Instead of traditional wheat egg noodles, use whole wheat or brown rice noodles to make this Filipino stir-fried noodle dish. In a large skillet, stir-fry cabbage, carrots, and bell peppers until slightly softened. Add the cooked noodles to the skillet and season with low-sodium soy sauce and a squeeze of calamansi or lemon juice. Toss everything together until well combined, and adjust the seasoning to taste. Serve hot, optionally garnished with sliced boiled eggs for added protein.
Thai Tom Yum Soup with Rice Noodles
Cook rice noodles according to package instructions, then drain and set aside. In a pot, bring a mixture of vegetable broth, lemongrass, lime juice, fish sauce, and a touch of chilli paste to a boil. Add shrimp, sliced mushrooms, and vegetables like baby corn and bok choy. Simmer until the shrimp is cooked and the vegetables are tender. Serve the hot and tangy Tom Yum soup over the rice noodles, and garnish with fresh cilantro and lime wedges for an authentic Thai flavour.
Enjoy low carb rice and tasty meals for weight loss here at Calorie Watchers
If you’re looking for low calorie noodle dishes, turn to Calorie Watchers. From wonton noodle soup to chicken laksa, we have a delicious range of recipes for you to try. Our healthy diet community has perfectly curated a range of low-calorie foods and recipes to help you along your weightloss journey. Fewer calories doesn’t mean your food needs to taste different, and you should continue to enjoy tasty meals. Contact us today to find out how we can help you make a difference.