If you’re on a low carb diet and miss noodles and pasta, or are just watching the calories and so are cutting back on carby portions, behold shirataki noodles your new best friend.
Now US readers might be well aware of these already as people like Lisa Lillien (aka Hungry Girl) have been using them for a while. In the UK though they’re still a bit of an unknown quantity. Made from a type of yam called konjac or glucomannon, the translucent shirataki noodles are effectively strings of soluble fibre that your body can’t digest – this means they technically have no carbs and no calories. Admittedly eaten alone they also have no taste, but they do play well with sauces and soups so this isn’t a massive concern.
Personally, I think they work best in Asian dishes, particularly soups, as an alternative to normal noodles. This is because they’re pretty slimy and so to me, they don’t quite cut it as an alternative to pasta which I like for its dry, starchy texture. To me the best bit about eating Italian is not the saucy bits of pasta, but the uncovered dry bits round the edge and these just don’t give you that – however lots of people disagree with me and do use them in Italian dishes. If you’re pining for Spag Bol, they could be your answer.
If you want to keep things traditional though and try a simple asian soup recipe using shirataki noodles, here’s mine for the dish above….
Shirataki and Miso Soup
300ml chicken stock
2 teaspoons of miso soup paste
3 sheets of nori, cut into strips
1 pack of noodles – drained, then rinsed in cold water
Mix the stock and miso paste and bring to the boil, add the noodles, seaweed, mushrooms and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Pour into a bowl and add the chopped spring onions to serve. Folks who like things spicy can also add chilli flakes, or swap the onions for chopped red chilli.
If you want to find shirataki in the UK, you’ll find them in most Japanese food stores – look in the fridge. Also see Zero Noodles that have just arrived in Holland & Barrett.
There’s only one thing to watch out for – bloat. The noodles keep you seriously full because they travel slowly through your digestive system – however, if like me, your digestive system seems to be full of little bacteria that love to feed ravenously on anything that hangs around in your digestive system creating large amount of air as they do so, you will puff up. It helps if you eat them in small mouthfuls and chew them well, but if they’re in a soup, this gets tricky. I wouldn’t eat them the day before a big night out where you’re wearing a tight dress just in case.
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