Saturday, August 10, 2013

Shirataki Noodles - The Miracle Noodles

Frankie and I were riding along in the car listening to NPR on the radio when they had a segment on something they called a Two-Day Diet.  We are both in the process of losing weight through counting our calories and exercising and have had success so we were intrigued.

The basic principle of the Two-Day diet also called the 5:2 diet or the Fast Diet is that on two days of the week you eat only 500 calories for women or 600 for men for the entire day and then on the other five days you eat normally but within reason.  The two days can be consecutive but I have found that if I do two days in a row that the second day I don't have as much energy due to the reduction in calories

We are doing this diet slightly modified. We are not lowering our calories to 500 and 600 on the "fasting" days because we are still lowering our calories on the other five days to a reasonable level.  For the entire week we easily are at the goal of eating less than 3,500 calories to loss one pound. With the help of this diet and My Fitness Pal, after only two weeks, we are seeing the pounds come off.  (Slowly and in a healthy way as it should be.)

On our "fasting" days I wanted to still be able to cook meals that were low calorie because we plan on doing this even while at work.  Restaurant meals were not going to work for this!  So to the internet I went.

All of this to say, that as I was looking at recipes I kept seeing ones that used shirataki noodles.  I brushed it off at first knowing that I would not be able to find such Asian delicacies where I live.  But then I saw where they were called Miracle Noodles and that they had ZERO, yes you read that right, ZERO calories per serving.

Wait, wait, wait....ZERO calories for noodles!!

All other noodles I have EVER seen have at least 200 calories for a 2 oz. serving.  ZERO calorie noodles deserve a second look.  This was the best resource I found that helped explain shirataki noodles.

They are made of  Japanese vegetable that is very very low in calories. The vegetable is dried and then ground into a flour like substance.  Noodles are simply flour, water, and eggs or another bonding agent.  So once you have the flour the rest comes together fairly easy.

Now I had a mission.  Find some online!

There are many places that sell the stuff but once you see the shipping charges it becomes way overpriced or you have to buy in bulk.  After searching and searching, I found a site called Dr. Vita that sold shirataki noodles AND had free shipping!   They are little more expensive than I really wanted to pay for a mere 7 oz. of  noodles but with ZERO calories I wanted to try one pack at least once.  (I will have to look for them at the next Asian grocery store we go to, for sure!)

My ZERO calorie noodles arrived six days later and I used them that night.  Here is my account with these new-to-me noodles.

Here is the packaging for this particular brand.  The brand is Miracle Noodle but you can see it does say shirataki so  if you are looking for it in the store that is the word you would look for. After a little more research I have also learned they could be called konnyaku noodles. There is also a type that has added tofu to it which gives a little more traditional pasta feel in your mouth from what I have read but it does add calories.  The tofu kind has to be refrigerated so you would not be able to buy that kind online more than likely.  If it is tofu it should say it right on the front.

The back of the package gave information about the pasta and how to cook it.  I did follow the directions given.

This was the most beautiful sight of the entire packaging.  ZERO calories, and yes, I have to capitalize that every time.  In fact, it seems to have nothing in it at all.  So, what exactly IS in it?

The ingredient list is water, konnyaku flour (which is the Japanese vegetable powder), and calcium hydroxide.  After looking up calcium hydroxide, I was a little concerned but the FDA does claim it to be safe. It helps the flour bond together and is used in many other foods.

The noodles come packed in water and only have to be refrigerated if opened.

They technically are ready to eat right out of the package, but when I opened the package there was a fishy smell.  According to the package directions the noodles needed to be rinsed, boiled and then pan fried.  After the boiling step I did taste one and while it wasn't really like real angel hair pasta it was exactly like other kinds of Asian noodles such as rice noodles. There was still a very faint fishy taste at this point.

After pan frying and then putting them in my chosen dish, which was sausage and peppers pasta, the noodles had no fishy taste.  They take on the flavor of what they are cooked with so unless you eat them plain, I doubt the fishy taste will be there at all.

So the verdict?

I would say a plate all but licked clean speaks volumes compared to mere words.

It was good and I have plans to buy more.  These will be great anytime but especially useful on those "fasting" days.

I hope you have learned something new with me and will give shirataki noodles a try!