Shirataki Noodles

>>  Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Have you ever heard of these noodles? Shirataki noodles are noodles made of yam. They have this bouncy, texture sort of like jellyfish. It's made out of the same stuff as konnyaku (which I've always loved in hot pot) but in noodle form.

_MG_1891Konnyaku is interesting stuff.  It's been hailed as a great diet food because it actually is listed as having zero calories.  Most of it is water, and the remaining amount is made up of mostly fiber.  It is rather tasteless, and therefore is best prepared in soups where it can absorb the flavor of the soup.

The water in which konnyaku or shirataki noodles are stored has a rather distinct and unpleasant smell. It can best be described as sort of fishy or musty.  To remove the smell, either microwave the noodles first for about a minute, or cook in boiling water for a few minutes.

The nice thing about shirataki noodles is that they don't really get soft, so there isn't much risk in overcooking them.

Having loved konnyaku as a kid, I was really excited to find out that they made these noodles.  As part of the Tastemaker Program with Foodbuzz, I was given $30 credit to spend at Asian Food Grocer, an online Asian grocery company.  I bought some soy wrappers (post about that coming later), and also some shirataki noodles.

The shipment came very quickly - I was quite impressed.  Their selection is not huge, but they do have a nice assortment of snacks (Pocky!) and useful sauces and such. 

To prepare shirataki noodles, remove the noodles from the bag and definitely rinse well. Be prepared to smell that funny fishy/musty smell. It's not too pleasant (although I did not find it completely offensive). You can also boil the noodles for a few minutes to remove the smell.
Chicken Pho
I then made Chicken Pho.

The noodles were delicious. I might be biased because I have always loved the texture of konnyaku. It's bouncy, sort of a firm, gelatinous texture. It's hard to explain, but I think you'll either love it or hate it.
Chicken Pho toppings
If you have ever had those sweet lychee jelly cups from years past (now outlawed in the US and Canada), you've had konnyaku. They were outlawed because they were choking hazards. I used to love those snacks too - so yummy.

Anyway, if you like the texture of jellyfish or squid, you might like these shirataki noodles.  They have the super added benefit of being zero calories!

Just don't try making Italian pasta with them. You will very likely be disappointed.

For a much more comprehensive article on konnyaku, check out Maki's article at Just Bento.

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