Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Preparing Shirataki Noodles the Right Way

Ok, so maybe you're like me and you have an obsession with noodles. Like you cook pasta three times a week. Then let's say you are trying to cut carbs from your diet. Then what?

You turn to the only things you can, zucchini and shirataki.

To quote wikipedia, "Shirataki noodles are very low carbohydrate, low calorie, thin, translucent, gelatinous traditional Japanese noodles made from devil's tongue yam (elephant yam or the konjac yam). The word 'shirataki' means 'white waterfall', describing the appearance of these noodles. Largely composed of water and glucomannan, a water-soluble dietary fiber, they have little flavor of their own."

So these things are noodles without gluten and the tofu version (which are the only version I can get in the store) have only 10 calories, 3g of carbs and 2g of fiber per serving.

The trade-off here is that most people who haven't had them prepared correctly hate them. Usually this is because they smell fishy with you open the package. Others don't like the texture.

I've been cooking with these noodles more and more and have come to this conclusion as to how to prepare them. It's kind of a combination of methods (rinsing, boiling and dry-frying). Most people do two of the three methods, I do all three.

And best of all, it's super easy and yields great results.

I will premise my praise of these noodles by saying I've yet to try them in a Italian application. I've been using them solely in Asian dishes. Pad Thai, Pad See Ew, Ramen, etc.

I've been using zucchini noodles for the Italian stuff with great results.


Preparing Shirataki Noodles the Right Way

I used 2 packages of Tofu Shirataki, Fettuccine style, though the thin noodles are prepared the same way.
1 gallon of water
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
Colander and matching bowl
Non-stick frying pan


To start, get a pot of water on the boil and salt it.

1 gallon of water to 1 tablespoon of salt, just like regular pasta.

While the water comes to a boil, start rinsing the noodles. 

They will smell really fishy out of the package, ignore it. 

I like to rinse in a colander set over a matching bowl with warm water. 

Get in there and agitate the noodles and when the bowl fills up, dump it out and let it fill again, agitating the whole time.

Repeat for 5 bowls of water. It'll take you probably 3 minutes of constant rinsing. It's ok, you can do it.

When your water comes to a boil, drain the rinsed noodles (notice the smell is virtually gone) and toss them into the boiling water.

Boil for 3 minutes.

Drain the boiled noodles well, try to get all the liquid off of them. No need to rinse.

Toss into a pan over medium-high heat for another 3 minutes, tossing well the entire time.

This will cook off any leftover moisture in the noodles and gives them a more traditional rice noodle texture.


As I said these noodles are great for Asian style applications. Their texture is more rice noodle than Italian semolina noodle, though I bet these would work fine in a simple preparation of garlic and olive oil or something like that. Their texture doesn't soak up sauce very well, so I'd leave the Bolognese for zucchini noodles.

In the end, I've made a few dishes with these so far and I'm telling you, the taste and texture is indistinguishable from a standard rice noodle so long as you prep them right, so give them a try if you're toying around with cutting calories and carbs but still love noodles, like I do!


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