I have been hearing a lot about these noodles lately, mostly on TV, and I felt compelled to give them a try to see if they were really as good as everyone is saying. Shirataki noodles are a traditional Japanese noodle and have been around for a very long time. They are known for being a low-calorie pasta substitute. The are packaged in liquid and sold in the produce department in the refrigerated vegetarian section over by the tofu, which makes sense since these noodles are made up of tofu, water and yam flour. But who cares if the noodles are low-calorie if they don’t taste good? To find out I prepared these two different ways: in a vegetable noodle soup and also Italian Style with sauce and parmesan cheese. Here is what I found out…
OK, first things first. It does says on the back of the package to rinse thoroughly and to par boil to reduce aroma – do not take this step lightly, and you won’t once you open the package. They do smell kinda funky to be honest. I rinsed them in a mesh strainer for about a solid two minutes and I would say that got rid of about 80% of the “aroma”… but do not despair – the cooking process really does take out the rest of the smell. Whew!
For the soup I just brought a few cups of chicken stock to a boil and threw in about a cup and a half of chopped veggies – I used mushrooms, onion, carrots, celery and corn. Added in few pinches of salt and pepper and a sprinkle of garlic powder and then let it simmer for about 7 or 8 minutes then put in half of the shirataki package. Gave it a good stir and let it simmer for another 2 or 3 minutes and served in a bowl.
For the Italian style spaghetti I boiled the noodles in water for 3 minutes, drained them, put them back in the pot, and stirred in about 3 tablespoons of room temperature, straight from the jar spaghetti sauce. After plating I topped it with 2 teaspoons of grated parmesan cheese.
The verdict: I gave these noodles three and a half out of five bees. As low-calorie food for someone who really wants to eat spaghetti (I can sympathize) eight ounces of noodles (an entire package) is only going to set you back forty calories. Add a bit of spaghetti sauce, say 1/4 cup and a pinch (or two or three…) of parmesan cheese you are still well in the neighborhood of under 100 calories. As a soup noodle they are even better in my opinion, and the more veggies you can serve them with the more satisfying and nutritional the dish will be. These would make a great mid-day snack however I would not eat these for nutritional purposes, as there really are none. But I don’t believe that is what people are looking to these for either. If you are looking for a spaghetti substitute that will leave your tummy feeling satisfied and while keeping carbs and calories under control, these will do the trick for you.