Even though I follow a largely vegetarian diet and am completely vegan for one full month out of every year, I’m pretty far from being a health nut. My general approach to eating healthy is to avoid eating too much junk food because we all know what it is. My doctor appears to believe that I am currently responding well to it. Shirataki noodles—those slick, slippery, yam starch noodles you find next to the tofu at your supermarket—have a reputation as a low-calorie health food, which is why I’m starting the article this way, for better or worse. But that’s not the topic of this article, and it’s certainly not the reason I always have a few packages of shirataki in the fridge.
Although I had previously consumed shirataki or other similar yam noodles, I hadn’t noticed any pouches of them suspended in water until I began to see them in American supermarkets more recently. Admittedly, when I first saw them in the refrigerator display case, I thought, “Oh man, another “health” food hopping on the crazy gluten-free train.” However, despite flashy packaging and big starbursts with claims like “Zero Calorie!” and “Gluten-Free!,” what’s inside those bags is essentially the same as the traditional Japanese dish. Depending on where you are in Japan, shirataki (or ito konnyaku) may differ in appearance and texture, but they are all made with glucomannan starch that is extracted from devil’s tongue yams. It is an undigested dietary fiber that essentially passes through you without being absorbed, providing you with a noodle that has no net calories and no net carbs.
Does the mention of carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and calories cause your eyes to glaze over? I share your sentiment. More power to you if you consume shirataki noodles as a diet food. However, their texture is the real reason I adore them (and perhaps why you should too), so that’s all we really need to discuss when it comes to shirataki. Since they are essentially flavorless on their own, they are excellent at absorbing the flavors of any sauce they are in. They have a slick, slippery texture that resembles a combination of spaghetti and Chinese green bean jelly, and it is this texture that makes them so enjoyable to eat.
I love cold wheat noodle salads. One of my favorite Sichuan dishes is Dan Dan Noodles, and one of my go-to simple late-night meals is a spicy peanut noodle salad. But even I have to admit that sometimes making wheat noodles can be frustrating. Sometimes all I want is the flavor of those Sichuan peppercorns, vinegar, and chile oil without leaving a bowl feeling heavy and sluggish. Additionally, the presence of wheat noodles in a sauce can cause starch to be released, turning what was once a light and refreshing sauce into a starchy and stodgy stew.
Shirataki noodles solve both of these problems. Shirataki have no loose surface starch, unlike pasta or Chinese noodles, so they don’t stick together or change the texture of a sauce at all. The last bite of noodles you prepare in the kitchen will taste just like the first one, when you’ve perfectly balanced the flavors and textures.
You can find shirataki in a variety of shapes and flavors if you visit a particularly well-stocked supermarket. Some varieties are made solely of yam starch, while others also contain tofu or other proteins and starches to give them a particular texture that resembles more conventional noodles. I generally avoid advancing foods that pass for other foods and stick to the traditional variety.
Shirataki are so mild in flavor and texture that you can really fill up on a bowl of them and slather on all that flavorful sauce without feeling as though you’ve just consumed a six-pack of hot pockets, as you could back in college. When eating wheat noodles, my body always speaks before my mouth and tongue. With shirataki noodles, theyre on relatively even footing.
Then, of course, theres the convenience aspect. Shirataki noodles need only a little draining and rinsing to be ready to eat. Drain, rinse, dress, and youre ready to eat. It takes me longer to simply heat up a pot of water to cook wheat noodles than it does to complete the entire process of making a cold shirataki noodle salad. I always keep a small deli container in my refrigerator that is filled with dried chile-infused oil and Sichuan peppercorns to make things even simpler. All I need to do is combine them with some shirataki, vinegar, soy sauce, and a few stray aromatics to create a fresh, flavorful snack that can be consumed like a meal in under five minutes. For pure convenience-to-flavor ratio, thats pretty darn tough to beat.
Shirataki are equally delicious and convenient in hot preparations. There are two good reasons not to cook your fresh ramen noodles directly in the pot of hot broth on your stovetop if you’ve ever been tempted to do so (like, say, these awesome ones from Sun Noodles). In order for wheat noodles to properly set and acquire a nice chewy, bouncy texture, they must first be cooked in boiling (or at least nearly boiling) water. Most ramen broth shouldn’t be heated above the bare simmer once it has been seasoned and is ready to be served in order to preserve flavor (and to make sure that it doesn’t break or coagulate). Second, and more importantly, while cooking, wheat noodles release a large amount of starch that drastically changes the texture of your broth by making it thick and gummy.
Shirataki noodles can be cooked in the hot soup you’re going to serve them with, which not only makes it possible but also preferable because it gives the noodles more flavor and eliminates the need to heat up a separate pot of water. Simply add your rinsed noodles to a saucepan of broth, then heat everything up on the stovetop.
I am aware that some of you won’t be persuaded by this. Many East Asian foods have a slippy texture that is common, but it may not be one that the Western palate finds familiar or comforting. I’m sorry, but I can’t help those of you who can’t get past the slippery noodles. But for the rest of you, I strongly urge you to set your reservations about shirataki noodles and everything they imply aside long enough to try a bowl. A good place to start is with this Sichuan-style shirataki noodle and cucumber salad.
What do they taste like?
They have very little personal taste, as Wikipedia notes. When you open a bag of noodles, there is frequently a slight odor (some would say a fishy odor), but this is eliminated during cooking. Following that, you can eat them plain or use them as a fantastic vehicle for any flavors you want to try!
Skinny Noodles, who also make a great range of shirataki products, offers the following advice about the smell:
They are made from glucomannan, a type of fiber found in the konjac plant’s root, and quickly cause satiety while offering only 5 calories per 100g serving. They benefit people following low-calorie, low-carb, low-GI, fat-free, sugar-free, or detox diets because of this.
I dare say that as long as you chew your food and start slowly so that your body gets used to increasing amounts of fiber you’re unlikely to experience these side effects as ZERO Noodles are generally well-tolerated but like most high-fibre products, they may cause digestive problems like diarrhoea, loose stools, and flatulence. However, these side effects were reportedly experienced after excessive consumption.
The average person consumes about 400 calories of high-carb pasta or rice at one sitting (x7 = 2800 calories), so if you substitute ZERO Noodles for regular high-calorie pasta and rice dishes once a day, you’ll cut, on the conservative side, at least 2800 calories per week. Thats 11,200 calories per month!.
Are they difficult to prepare and cook?
No! Open bag. Rinse. Cook in boiling water for two minutes. Drain. Dry fry or add to dish of choice.
Can shirataki noodles spoil?
The shelf life of preservative-free Skinny Noodles and Skinny “Rice” shirataki is one year. Please look up the expiration date on the package’s back. Unopened packages can be kept in a cool, dry place, but for the best results, we advise keeping them in the refrigerator.
Can I eat shirataki noodles after expiration date?
Yes. The noodles last past their recommended shelf life, but we advise observing the date They are safe to eat for a period of 2-3 months after the date if they have been refrigerated and the noodle shape is still present.
Do konjac noodles expire?
They typically last up to a year on the shelf. However, these typically don’t last more than two or three days before going bad.
How long does Miracle Noodle last?
If you decide to only eat half of the bag after it has been opened, put the unprepared portion in water in a sealed container and store it in the fridge. These noodles will last another 7 days this way. It is advised to replace the water every few days.
Does pasta zero expire?
The shelf life of ZERO Noodles, Rice, and Pasta is two years (from the date of production) when kept at room temperature. They are shelf stable, so you can keep them in the pantry. The rice or noodles don’t need to be refrigerated, but DO NOT freeze them because that will render them inedible.
How long do cooked konjac noodles last?
Miracle Noodles Storage Yes, you can prepare this miracle noodles recipe in advance. It reheats really well. Store them in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.