What would you say if there was a food that would fill you up and contain practically no calories? What if there was a food that was not just good for weight management was also good for diabetes control and lower cholesterol levels?
I first found out about shirataki noodles from someone who was using it for weight loss. These are traditional thin and chewy Japanese noodles made from a dietary fibre called glucomannan, derived from the konjac root. Although they may look unfamiliar in this form, I found out that it’s essentially the same thing as konnyaku jelly, minus the sugar, which was very popular in Singapore in my schooling days. The shirataki noodles pass through your colon unchanged and unabsorbed, which makes them perfect for helping you feel full.
I got hold of two packets thanks to my cousin who was shopping in Liang Court. They came to me packed in liquid and I stored them in the fridge for a few days because I didn’t know if I could leave them out in the open.
The most common ways to eat them are to fry them or eat them in a stew. They absorb flavours very well and my cousin recommended that I put them in a beef stew or miso soup. With limited ingredients on hand, I decided to go for fried noodles instead. I cut up some vegetables I had on hand, included lettuce, mushrooms and tomatoes. For the sauce, I chose to mix together garlic, spicy bean paste and coconut aminos, which I used as a replacement for soy sauce.
Here are step-by-step instructions on how to prepare them for frying.
Step 1: Get rid of the smell
The noodles smell a bit funny when you first open the packet and the first way to get rid of the fishy smell is to rinse them quickly in hot water. Don’t cook them for too long as they will become rubbery. One or two minutes in hot water should be enough.
Step 2: Dry the noodles
If you are planning to make fried noodles, the best thing to do is to dry fry the shirataki noodles first to get them as dehydrated as possible. A good frying pan is needed so that the noodles don’t stick to the surface or get burnt. They are ready when they are less wet and limp looking. If you plan to cook them in stew, you can skip this step.
Step 3: Cook your vegetables and ingredients separately in your desired sauce
Set the dry noodles aside and proceed to cook your ingredients in the sauce you prepared. I read online that the noodles are best for Chinese-style sauces instead of more Western sauces used in spaghetti.
Step 4: Add the shirataki noodles
When the ingredients are nearly cooked, add the noodles. I used quite a big fire because I wanted my meal to be as dry as possible.
Step 5: Serve!
Enjoy your noodles! These shirataki noodles cannot beat the real thing but they are pretty damn good considering that you can eat a mountain full of them for almost no calories. They were a little too slippery and rubbery for my liking but it may have been because I did not dry them out enough. I read online that the trick was to dry fry them (Step 2) until they are a little crispy.
Here are some other photos of shirataki noodles cooked by other bloggers. Click on the photographs to check out their recipes and experiment!