Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Shirataki Noodles

I’ve been reading up on shirtaki noodles, mostly because I REALLY continue to miss Pasta Putanesca with bucatini.  I used to make this delicious dish every 10 days in my carb loving days, and I savored every briny, pomodoran bite.

And with most things low-carb, you quickly figure out that you don’t miss the pasta, you miss the sauce.  I thought about spaghetti squash, but it just isn’t the same for this particular recipe.

I first learned about shirataki noodles, which are made from yams and have a miniscule carb count, at Sugarfree Sheila’s website.  After doing some research on the nutritive effects – good and bad – I decided to make a purchase.  I hunted and hunted at my local grocery store and could not locate them. 

Curse you, Texas grocery stores, for only stocking grain-based noodles!   What if I don’t want rice noodles!  What if I want the veggie noodles that skinny people eat!  Why do I have to order on Amazon!  Why is it…oh, there’s an employee; let’s ask him.

Uh, I was in the wrong section.

Shirataki noodles are located in the refrigerated section next to the tofu and seitan (satan).  It’s a good thing I’m an introvert and didn’t have a visible temper tantrum.  J

Instead of using the noodles with my coveted Putanesca, I used them in a recipe I have from Wheat Belly.  We hadn’t had Asian cuisine in a while, and a chicken and veggie stir fry seemed like the most logical experiment for these yam-based noodles.  Note: some shirataki are made from tofu, so if you have soy issues, beware.

The package I purchased advertised 4.5 servings, but we got 3 out of it.

When you open the package, it smells like a place where kelp and fish go to die.  Quickly rinse.

Instead of boiling them, I just put them in my stir-fry for the last 2-3 minutes of cooking.  The noodles sort-of absorbed the sauce, but not as much as I would have liked.  I can’t tell if that is due to my cooking method or their inherent limitations.

Nutritionally speaking, these noodles had 1 gram of carbs per serving.  They have no fat, are calorie free (which is illogical because 1 carb must have a calorie equivalent), and have no stated vitamin nutrients.  Hmmm.

They resembled glass noodles, but were not as chewy because there’s no gluten.  They mostly slipped down our throat, and they did not compete with the taste of the stir-fry which contained chicken, mushrooms, green beans, bamboo, sesame, ginger, and tamari.

My conclusion:

I’m not sure I’ll be eating these things on a regular basis except for once every couple of months when I have an urge for stir-fry.  As for the Putanesca, I’m planning to serve it over fish.

Have you tried any new low-carb foods lately?



Jodie (aka mummaducka) said...

oooh shall have to investigate and see if they are available in AUS

Alex M said...

I am lucky because I live around the corner from a real Asian supermarket. This has given me a chance to try lots of stuff (now I have something new to try). Bean thread noodles are dried and don't have to be refrigerated. I put them in soups a lot. We do eat thin rice noodles too. Yum!

P said...

Have you tried zucchini noodles? There is a great recipe for them in the cookbook Well Fed (by Mellissa Joulwan, over at TheClothesMakeTheGirl.com). I really recommend you try them. The book is available on Kindle, but the soft cover version is just beautiful. A lot of other great recipes as well.

Anonymous said...

Jodie - It's an interesting try; I have another package in the fridge ready to go for next week's taste testing.

Alex - I haven't found any real Asian markets in Austin. Seattle was full of them. Lucky you!

P - I have tried zucchini noodles with lots of butter and lemon zest (yum!). I wanted to see if there was another product out there that would be more noodle-y. Unfortunately, the shirataki don't have the nutrition that I was looking for, but they do allow the other flavors in the dish to shine. What I love about eating a plant-based diet is there are so many variations we can incorporate in our directive to avoid wheat!

Ank said...

Have you tried mung beans noodles( glass noodles). I lead a low-carb , low-gi lifestyle for a couple of years and I know that soy noodles( or peas noodles) are low-gi so they don't promote a high sugar-spike. I make them into my own nostalgic version of macaroni and cheese using an egg a pack of noodles and plenty feta cheese.

Anonymous said...

Ank - I haven't found the mung beans noodles or the kelp ones. The grocery stores around here are pretty limited as far as non-traditional cuisine goes, and I live in the same city as the corp. headquarters of Whole Foods! I'll keep on the lookout, though. Mac n cheese with feta sounds scrumptious!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review, have been wondering about trying these. Let us know how the next test goes!