In Praise of Shirataki Noodles

A lot of foods claim to be miracles. This one actually is.
  1. Shirataki noodles, also known as ito konnayaku, are a traditional Japanese noodle. You can usually find them in plastic, liquid-packed bags near the tofu.
    Asian grocery stores often have several varieties.
  2. They contain no calories, carbs, fat, sodium, or gluten.
    They are made from an indigestible starch that comes from yams, and therefore have zero impact on your waistline or blood sugar. I know. It's insane.
  3. The traditional variety doesn't taste much like wheat pasta, but it's damn similar to rice noodles, making it a great noodle for many Asian applications.
  4. The House brand makes a shiraraki noodle that contains tofu. They are great for anywhere you would want a chewy wheat noodle, like in ramen.
    They're not quite sturdy enough to serve like traditional pasta with a heavy sauce, but I have enjoyed them with a light pesto or a mixture of olive oil, lemon, and Parmesan.
  5. They come in these handy bags which contain enough for one serving.
    This is less about portion control, and more about convenience.
  6. When you open them up, they will smell very fishy.
    The liquid they come packed in smells weird. Don't worry about it, just rinse them under cold running water in a strainer for about 30 seconds.
  7. The instructions on the package will tell you they are ready to eat once you rinse them but I disagree.
    Boil them in salted water for about five minutes. This makes them chewier and more rice noodle–like. It also does away with any remaining fishy smell.
  8. After cooking, strain them and rinse under cold running water.
    Unless you want them to be hot, in which case, no need to rinse.
  9. Now they're ready!
    I put them in soups, salads, and anywhere else I would use noodles. I especially love to use them in place of Asian rice or wheat noodles in dishes I love but usually stay away from because of their high carb content. Pad Thai, Vietnamese rice noodle salad (bun), and sesame noodles are all wonderful with shiraraki noodles.
  10. For a quick lunch or dinner, chop up a bunch of vegetables and maybe some nuts, and make or buy some peanut sauce.
  11. Toss with the cooked, cooled noodles, top with chicken or tofu, and dig in. Super quick low-carbohydrate NOODLE dish!
    I'm telling you--these noodles are a complete miracle.
  12. Further reading: this comprehensive piece about shirataki noodles by @thefoodlab is great: http://bit.ly/1NZIypN