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Shirataki Noodles: For Those Who REALLY Miss Pasta

Shirataki Noodles: For Those Who REALLY Miss Pasta

Shirataki Noodles took the world by storm a few years ago. While not quite Dalgona Coffee, they still had a few moments in the spotlight due to their ‘miraculous’ nature: they’re possibly the only noodles in the world used for weight loss. Per 4oz standard serving, they contain 0 calories, 0g of fat and less than 1g of carbs.

Well no, there are no noodles out there that have precisely 0 calories. But shirataki noodles contain less than 5g of calories and less than 1g carbs per serving, which is as close as it gets.

How is that possible? Let’s dive a bit deeper.

What are Shirataki Noodles?

Shirataki noodles are white, long, gelatinous noodles. They’re of Japanese origin and made from Konjac root. Konjac yam – also referred to as konnyaku – is an edible corm found in East and Southeast Asia. It is especially popular in Japan, but is widely used in China and South Korea as well.

Shirataki noodles are made by mixing konjac yam flour with regular water and concentrated lime solution. The mixture is boiled and then shaped into noodles (and also rice, though shirataki rice is not nearly as popular).  

These miracle noodles consist of mostly water (in fact, shirataki noodles are over 95% water) and a bit of glucomannan fiber. No calories, no fats, no digestible carbs.

As such, shirataki noodles come with certain potential benefits, among them most notably: 

  1. They can help regulate glucose and insulin levels, especially among those who suffer from Type 2 Diabetes;
  2. They can help with weight loss due to their filling nature and low-calorie content;
  3. They may help with inflammation and help lower cholesterol due to glucomannan fiber content.

Despite their potential benefits, shirataki noodles are not really that popular when it comes to long-term dieting. They’re perceived as a good tool to lose weight, but not something one would always keep in the pantry.

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Common Complaints about Shirataki Noodles (and How to Fix Them):

One would think the 5 calories, 0 fat and next to no carb features would make them a household name by now, especially in Keto world, but no. The problem is people tend to not enjoy shirataki noodles all that much due to the following reasons:

1.   Unpleasant smell – shirataki noodles are known to have a very pungent fishy smell. Some even go as far as to say that it reminds them of rotten fish. This is fixable by rinsing the noodles for a prolonged amount of time. Rinse them for several (around 5) minutes after draining them. The smell will subside (in some cases disappearing altogether).

2.   Texture – shirataki noodles have a gelatinous, very chewy texture. The texture is somewhat fixable by the dry-roasting method. Drain and rinse the noodles, boil them for 3-4 minutes, and let it dry for a bit – then roast on a hot, non-stick pan. This makes the noodles somewhat pasta-like in consistency.

3.   Taste – since they’re mostly water, shirataki noodles don’t taste much like anything. Unfortunately, this one cannot be fixed. Shirataki noodles by themselves will stay neutral. This just means you have to choose carefully what to cook with them. They’re good for a ‘loaded’ stir-fry with meat and veggies, or a pasta-type dish with a ‘heavy’ flavorful sauce, particularly meat-based. Other flavors usually overpower the noodles, and they act more as a ‘sauce-and-spice transport’ rather than an independent ingredient of their own.

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