Stir frying is a great way of using up leftover vegetables. You can chuck in pretty much whatever you want and it’ll taste great with the right seasoning.Using zucchini (courgette) instead of noodles, is a perfect way to have a totally veg packed meal. I introduce to you, the “zoodle”!
Pre-made stir fry sauces are often loaded with refined salt and sugar. After a little research about ready made shop bought stir fry sauces, I was shocked but not surprised to find the amount of sugar per 2 serving pack, on average contained around 25g (6.25tsps) of sugar – so more than what the World Health Organisation recommends you have in one day. The worst offender being sweet chilli based sauces; one brand had over 40g (10 tsps) of sugar in a measly 120g pack. With this recipe you can throw together an incredible oriental style dish in less than 20 minutes, with only a handful of ingredients needed for the sauce, which has under 3 teaspoon of sugar, less if you omit the maple syrup!
Traditional stir fries are cooked in oil, quickly over a very high heat. A study by Zhejiang University found all methods of cooking broccoli (including stir frying, boiling and microwaving) contributed to significant loss of chlorophyll and vitamin C and concluded that steaming appears the best in retaining the nutrients.
Using vegetable oil to cook should generally be avoided, as the oil becomes unstable at high temperature. Besides smoking cigarettes, studies have shown cooking to be a major cause of indoor air pollution and certain types of cooking can emit gaseous pollutants and particulate matter (PM), which can be detrimental to health and cause respiratory problems. Deep frying and frying was found to generate the most PM and steaming generated the least.
Saying that, I’m not advocating an entirely raw foods diet – I love warm food. Some dark leafy greens are more beneficial when lightly cooked. For example, raw spinach contains oxalic acid, which makes it harder for the body to absorb calcium. Lightly cooking spinach breaks down the oxalic acid, making calcium more bioavailable to us. Therefore, the way we cook food is just as important as the quality of the food we eat. Good cooking methods + quality food = happy, healthy people!
You can make this dish vegan by leaving out the prawns and using olive oil or an extra tablespoon of coconut oil to lightly steam-fry the zucchini. I have seafood occasionally as it’s a good source of magnesium however, prawns especially, are often caught in non-environmentally friendly ways, so be sure to get yours from a reputable and sustainable source.
Serves 2/Prep & cook: 15 mins
For the greens 2 Handfuls dark leafy greens (I used a mixture of kale, rainbow chard and spinach but you can use whatever you want)
1 Carrot, spiralled or peeled into strips (organic)
1/4 head of broccoli (use whichever type is in season, I used purple sprouting)
For the sauce
2 Tsp Tamari (organic. Gluten free alternative to soy sauce)
2 Tbsp Sweet White Miso paste (organic)
Thumb sized piece of ginger, chopped (leave the skin if organic but peel if not)
2 Spring onions (organic)
1 Tbsp Coconut oil (extra virgin, cold pressed)
1 Clove garlic, crushed
50g Mushrooms, chopped (organic, as we eat the skin)
Pinch of sea salt (grey, unbleached or Himalayan pink salt)
Pinch of pepper
1/2 Tsp Maple syrup (pure, unrefined)
For the “zoodles”
1 zucchini, spiralised or peeled into strips if you haven’t got a spiraliser (organic)
1 tbsp organic butter (pasture raised) or 1 tbsp coconut oil to make it vegan
Optional: 70g prawns (organic, responsibly sourced)
Boil water for the steamer in the steamer pan. Heat the coconut oil in a wok or a frying pan with a lid, on a low heat until melted.
Add the garlic, ginger and spring onions to the wok and gently sauté for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Then mix in the sweet white miso, tamari and maple syrup if using.
Add the mushrooms to the sauce and cook gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Coat the prawns in salt and pepper then add them to the sauce mixture and cook over a low heat until they are pink through if raw or heated through if pre-cooked.
Meanwhile, add the leafy greens, carrot and broccoli to the steamer and steam over a low heat for a few minutes, until al dente.
Heat the butter in a separate frying pan over a low heat. Once melted, add the zucchini and put the lid on at this stage so the zucchini (zoodles) are steam-frying. It will only take a minute or two to heat through.
When the leafy greens, carrot and broccoli are steamed, mix them into the sauce and stir to coat.
Pop the zoodles on a plate, season with a pinch of salt then put the vegetable/prawn/sauce mixture over the top. Finish with a squeeze of lime.