WHAT ARE THEY?
Shirataki noodles are a low-calorie, low-carb Japanese-style noodle. They aren’t made like traditional pasta (durum wheat) or rice noodles. Instead, they are made from konjac flour, which comes from the roots of the yam-like Konjac plant grown in Japan and China. They are mostly composed of a dietary fiber called glucomannan and contain very few calories and carbohydrates (sometimes even zero).
Shirataki noodles are packaged in a pouch filled with a watery solution and are found in the refrigerated foods section of your supermarket. Although they are fully-cooked and can be eaten straight from the package, we find that they have a slightly “fishy” aroma and are best served by placing in a strainer and running under cold water for 2-3 minutes before using.
The glucomannan that makes up shirataki noodles is a type of dietary fiber known as soluble fiber. Diets high in soluble fiber have been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels, which reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease. Of course, consuming these amazing noodles (some call them “miracle” noodles) with a fiber-rich diet that makes fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and lentils the centerpiece of each meal, and balanced out with some lean protein and healthy fat, will not only protect your heart, but whittle your waist as well.
You see, the “miraculous” nature of these noodles is in the glucomannan, which absorb a significant amount of water in your gut, expand, and make you feel fuller, faster. When trying shirataki noodles for the first time, start small and see how your tummy reacts to it.
Shirataki noodles contain only 3 grams of carbohydrates and 20 calories per 4 ounce serving. That’s an amazing savings when you realize that a 4 ounce serving of cooked pasta has 400 calories and 86 grams of carbs.
HOW TO COOK WITH THEM
We’ve already explained that the first thing to do is to rinse and drain the noodles. We think the best ways to use them is to add them to a very flavorful broth, like miso soup, or toss them into a stir fry. Shirataki noodles are like tofu – bland and will take on the flavor of whatever sauce you put with them.
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms
- 2 cups sliced baby bok choy
- 1 cup diagonally-sliced Chinese pea pods
- 2 cups shredded green cabbage
- 8 oz. shirataki noodles, rinsed and drained
- 1 pound fresh, wild, Alaskan salmon, cubed
- 1 tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tbs. seasoned rice vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. dark sesame oil
- 1 tsp. fish sauce
- 1 tbs. cornstarch
- In a bowl, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, fish sauce, and cornstarch. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet or wok over high heat until hot. Coat with nonstick cooking spray. When hot, add all of the vegetables and cook, stirring constantly for 7-8 minutes, until soft. Remove the vegetables to a plate or bowl.
- Add the noodles to the skillet or wok and cook 2 minutes. Add to the vegetable bowl.
- Place skillet or wok over the heat and add some more cooking spray. Add the salmon cubes and cook 1-2 minutes, turning once during cooking. Add the vegetables and noodles back to the pan. Add the reserved sauce to the pan and toss to coat and cook until the sauce thickens and coats the food. Remove from the pan to the serving bowl and serve to a hungry crowd.
This recipe can be made vegetarian by substituting cubed extra-firm tofu for the salmon