“ Brand: Shirataki / Type: Noodles „
** What are Shirataki noodles? **
Konnyaku is a substance widely used in Japanese cuisine and is made from the root of the Konjac plant. It has a firm gelatinous type substance with little flavour of it's own so its commonly used to thicken broths or stews as well as being a vegan substitute for gelatine. You can buy Konnyaku in a solid block (often called "cake") but in it's noodle form, Konnyaku is known as Shirataki (literally meaning white waterfall).
Noodles have a store cupboard shelf life of up to 1 year.
** Discovering Shirataki.....**
I wouldn't describe myself as a permanent dieter, but I am a healthy eater and am always on the look out for new and guilt free options. Similarly although I have never properly done the Atkins diet, I do try and limit my carbs eating brown pasta and rice where I can etc. I was browsing on the lowcarbmegastore website (because I wanted to find a lower carb option for my beloved pasta), where I happened upon a section called Zero Carb foods. Instantly curious I waded through the endless sugarfree sweets on offer and found a product called Shirataki Noodles. Having never heard of them before I clicked on and read that these are quite simply a dieters dream: no calories, fat or carbs!
Sadly they were not in stock but I didn't think that would be a problem as surely other places would stock them. Not so - every website I tried was sold out citing the reason as their appearance on Channel 4's Diet Show. It seems they were referred to as a miracle diet noodle and sales have soared leaving not a trace of Shirataki to be found in the UK!
Even my local Japanese supermarket got a delivery in one morning and by lunchtime they had totally sold out. It seems the word has spread and they in massive demand.
The only place I found them were some canny ebay sellers but they were selling for such ridiculous amounts for one measly packet that I avoided it. Plus I'm not sure how I feel about buying food on ebay...:)
I happened to mention them to my sister who lives in California and bless her heart, she sent me three packets in the post.
"Never again" she said "the Korean shopkeeper thought I was mad sending noodles half way round the world plus it cost me $30 to post"!!
So after this batch I will have to wait until the UK webstores are fully restocked whereupon one 200g bag will cost around £1.65
** Cooking and tasting **
The noodles are packed in water and must be consumed within three days of opening - I cant anticipate this being a problem because you don't exactly get a huge amount per packet - it is just the right amount for a meal for one person.
I drained the noodles and rinsed them extremely thoroughly in cold water for about 5 mins. I had read that there would be a strong odour which may be unpleasant to those not used to it and indeed, the smell is quite fishy and would have been more off-putting if I wasn't so determined to like them for the sake of my waistline!
It's hard to describe but its more of a fishy smell that you get from glue for instance and not from an actual fish.
A thorough rinse got rid of it though, and I set the noodles aside to drain.
Bearing in mind that the noodles have no flavour of their own and that they are supposed to pick up the flavour of whatever you are cooking, I thought I would try my first batch in a dish with a bit of sauce. I wont dwell too much on the recipe, but I stir fried some cubed chicken breast, broccoli, leeks and some flaked almonds in a sauce of 2 tsps of honey and a good splash of soy sauce.
I added the drained noodles and mixed them in for a couple of minutes - they don't require a long cooking time so I just made sure that they were hot.
So what did they taste like?
As promised, nothing really ! The texture was sort of rubbery but nothing too strange or unfamiliar. The closest thing I can compare them too are glass noodles that you get in Japanese soups. It was true that they took on the taste of the dish, and it didn't really feel that different to eating normal noodles apart from the lack of noodle taste.
Rather than being a delicious side dish in it's own right, the purpose of the noodles is to bulk out a dish, to fill you up with no extra calories or carbs and it does that perfectly.
I was full after my bowl and would definitely eat them again in similar dishes or perhaps in a soup. Well, if I can get hold of them that is........
crossposted on ciao (ciaomiaow)