It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The home is amass with wrapped presents and hampers. Hubs gets a lot of hampers from specialist doctors as a thank you for all the patients he has referred them in the past year. Certainly these hampers are much more appreciated than the moon cakes we also get; at least I get to trawl through the hampers for wine and tea, which is great for entertaining. The biscuits and chocolates are all given away again because I’m happy to say I really have a low carb household now. The last person to get on the LC lifestyle was kid#2, who already has lost 3 kg since the start of school holidays, a period that she would, in the past, have packed on the pounds from the constant snacking and lazing in bed.
Of course we do anticipate a heck of a lot of feasting in the week ahead…I swear that every night from now is a dinner out…we will be heartily sick of turkey and ham by the New Year. Helper D and I have also been readying the kitchen for our big cookout on Christmas Day. We have more than 30 family members coming over and now that the kids are growing up, the amount of food we prepare has to increase as well. There is nothing more frightening than hungry teenagers.
Christmas Dinner Menu this year
This year I’m pretty pleased that some of my guests are off the gluten free dairy free diet. Because I use a heck of a lot of cream and cheese in the dishes as you can imagine in the menu above. Of course it’s pretty gluten free already because a low carb diet almost automatically excludes wheat from the diet by default as it is too high in carbohydrates. But you can imagine how rich a dinner like this is…I expect serious food coma after the meal.
So in this season working up to feasting, here is a really simple Zoodle soup recipe. The idea of the Zoodle soup is thanks to a chef TM who made this same dish at a low carb dinner for a few core members of the Low Carb Singapore movement. It was so good I had to go home and reconstruct a home version of the dish. The main differences are that being a frugal person I didn’t use 2 whole kampung chickens to make the amazingly rich broth, but just made a simple stock from chicken carcasses in the Instant Pot, which I swear squeezes every ounce of flavour out of the bones. The zoodles are really pretty when you use both green and yellow zucchini and the Zoodle soup is really light and refreshing. The meatballs are less dense than what I usually get because of the use of a judicious amount of water chestnut to give just the right amount of crunch and texture to it. Altogether a really healthy and flavourful boost in anticipation for the coming season.
Low Carb Zoodle Soup
- 2 chicken carcasses
- 5-6 pieces of chicken feet
- 2 carrots, cut into large chunks
- 2 slices of ginger
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 1 green zucchini
- 1 yellow zucchini
- 10-12 green beans
- 500g minced pork
- 200g prawn meat, minced
- 5 water chestnuts, peeled and finely diced
- 2 tbsp coriander stems, finely diced
- 1 egg white
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- Coriander leaves for garnishing.
- Place the chicken carcasses, chicken feet, ginger and carrots into the Instant Pot. Fill with water up to the 4L mark. Add 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp whole black peppercorns. Seal off the pot and put on manual high pressure for 1 hour.
- When done, allow natural pressure release. Drain the stock and set aside. As it cools, skim off the layer of oil on top of the chicken broth.
- Spiralize the zucchini. Slice the green beans on a diagonal.
- Prepare the meatballs. Mix the minced pork and prawns, water chestnuts and coriander stems together. Add the soy sauce, sesame oil and ground white pepper as well as the egg white and mix thoroughly. Take a small spoonful of the mixture and either cook it in the microwave or a boiling pot of water to do a taste test and adjust the seasoning accordingly. Roll the meatballs into 1 inch balls and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil and salt it with 1-2 tsp salt. Blanch the zucchini and green beans separately and briefly and set aside.
- Place the meatballs into the boiling pot of water and gently poach. The meatballs are usually done when they float to the surface of the water.
- Heat up the chicken broth again in the Instant Pot or on the stove. Plate the Zoodle soup as follows: place the green beans at the bottom of the bowl, then top with the yellow and green zucchini. Add 1-2 meatballs on the side and ladle the chicken broth into the bowl. Top with the coriander leaves and serve hot.