Shirataki Noodles: Four Tips for Using this “Miracle” Low-Carb Pasta
Shirataki noodles are often called miracle noodles. Looking at their seemingly impossible nutritional stats, it’s no wonder: The fiber-rich pasta has no net carbs and nearly zero calories.
That’s because the noodles are not made from grains, but from water and glucomannan—a starch with almost no caloric value made from the Japanese konjac yam. Noodle smiths in Japan make shirataki by pulping the konjac bulbs with lime water, then forming the dough into blocks called konnyaku, which can be eaten as is, or shredded into pasta-like strands.
The nutritional benefits of these yam noodles are plain, but as a first-time shirataki chef, the pasta’s unusual texture can be a challenge. Armed with these four simple steps, however, you’ll be making delicious low-carb pasta dishes in no time.
1. Rinse it
Shirataki noodles come packed in water, so it may seem strange to have to rinse them. But once you open the noodles’ packet, the reasoning is evident. The glucomannan leaves behind a slightly fishy smell. Don’t be alarmed, though, you can wash it away. Just place the noodles in a colander and rinse under a cold tap as you squeeze the water from the package.
2. Parboil it
After rinsing, boil the yam noodles for two to three minutes, making sure to drain away any of the water you cooked the noodles in. This should finally rid your shirataki noodles of that fishy odor.
3. Fry it
Next, place the noodles in a pan over medium to high heat, with no oil or liquids. Fry the noodles for about 10 minutes, using tongs to continuously separate the noodles so they don’t clump together or dry out. Shirataki is about 97% water, so you’ll likely see a lot of steam here. That’s good—it means the noodles are cooking down to a nice, toothsome texture.
4. Sauce it
There’s a lot to like about shirataki noodles, but there’s a single qualm: They don’t offer much in the way of flavor. To solve this problem, dress up the noodles with something bold.
Try cooking the noodles with a peanut-chili sauce for a low-cal version of pad thai, or stir-fry them with a curry and plenty of veggies, allowing the noodles to absorb the flavors. Or, if you want to slowly introduce shirataki noodles into your diet, opt for tofu shirataki noodles, which have slightly more calories than the pure glucomannan variety, but a more familiar soy flavor and texture.
Patrick is an Alabama transplant to Chicago who writes about food and leisure for the Guide. He spends his free time writing sketch comedy and hunting for good barbecue.