Foods, Keto In Japan

Shirataki Noodles and Keto (Konnyaku)

Shirataki Noodles and Keto in Japan, Konnyaku Low Carb PastaWhile I love the variety a keto diet allows, it has sometimes been hard to face the fact that some of my most adored foods are now off limits. One of my biggest fears was saying farewell to pasta. While researching alternatives, I soon stumbled across shirataki noodles. My first thoughts were that they sounded Japanese and that I’d never heard of them before.

WHAT ARE SHIRATAKI NOODLES?

Shirataki noodles are made from konjac yams and can be easily found in Japanese supermarkets. They largely comprise of glucomannan, which is extracted from the yam and mixed with water to turn it into konnyaku. The konnyaku is then shaped into many forms, including the noodles called shirataki. They are also commonly known as konjak noodles, konnyaku noodles and miracle noodles.

CAN YOU EAT SHIRATAKI ON KETO?

On average they comprise of 97% water and 3% fibre, leaving less than 1 gram of net carbs per 100g. The noodles are full of indigestible dietary fiber which means no carbohydrates or calories, making them the perfect base for a keto meal. However, this also means they lack any real nutrition and should be paired with other ingredients. They pass right through your body and are known in Japanese as “a broom for your stomach” so be careful not to over consume them!

Shirataki Noodles and Keto in Japan, Konnyaku Low Carb Pasta

HOW DO YOU PREPARE SHIRATAKI?

Shirataki are commonly used in dishes such as sukiyaki or oden and I’ve tried many different brands that vary widely in shape, aroma and flavor. When you first open a packet the fishy smell can sometimes be strong and the slippery texture off-putting; but after rinsing under water, boiling for 2 minutes and dry roasting for 1 minute in a frying pan, I find they become a perfect blank canvas.

SHIRATAKI IN AMERICA

There are lots of brands available in the states offering both wet and dried varieties. Some of the most popular brands include Miracle Noodles, Better Than Noodles, House Foods and Skinny Noodles which are affordable when bought online in bulk.

SHIRATAKI IN AUSTRALIA

Most products are dried varieties found in the health food sections of supermarkets. The Slendier range is available at both Coles and Woolworths and includes fettuccine, spaghetti, noodle, lasagna, angel hair and rice versions. You can also find Chang’s Wok Ready Lo-Cal Noodles at Coles. 

SHIRATAKI IN JAPAN

Shirataki noodles (白滝) are commonly found in all large Japanese supermarkets. Packed in liquid packages near the refrigerated tofu section or as a dried product on the shelf; there are a wide variety of shapes and styles. My favorite brand is Kibun, with their flat translucent noodles perfect for Asian dishes and the rounded yellow ones for ramen and Italian style pastas. They’ve quickly become a staple in my fridge and I’ve noticed they often sell-out. Some common brands include:

Shirataki Noodles and Keto in Japan, Konnyaku Low Carb Pasta

KIBUN RAMEN PASTA (180g) 
紀文糖質0g麺 丸麺

My favorite, these noodles most closely resemble regular spaghetti. They are cut into short pieces and the texture is chewy and a little denser than other brands. There is no smell when opening the pack, so they barely even need washing. Love using these with Italian style pastas.

Dietary Fibre: 11.5g 
Price: ¥156
Website

Shirataki Noodles and Keto in Japan, Konnyaku Low Carb Pasta

KIBUN FLAT STIR-FRY NOODLES (180g)
紀文糖質0g麺

Flat white stir-fry noodles, cut into short pieces. The texture is chewy and bouncy. Just like their ramen variety, there is zero smell when opening the pack, so they barely need washing. Another favorite of mine and perfect for pad thai. 

Dietary Fibre: 11.7g 
Price: ¥156
Website

Shirataki Noodles and Keto in Japan, Konnyaku Low Carb Pasta

KONNYAKU NOODLES (200g)

Thick udon sized noodles, brown in color with specks of seaweed added. These had a strong smell upon opening, so are ideally prepared by boiling and dry pan frying first. Chewy and dense, these might make a nice udon replacement. 

Dietary Fibre: not labelled

Shirataki Noodles and Keto in Japan, Konnyaku Low Carb Pasta

TOPVALU CHINESE STYLE NOODLES (180g)
トップバリュおから入りこんにゃく麺
中華めん風

Long ramen style noodles, cut into short pieces. Bright yellow in color when packaged, however the color fades when boiled which made my ramen look a little sad. The texture is soft and chewy. Strong aroma when opening the pack, but disappears after cooking.

Dietary Fibre: 6.1g 
Price: ¥138
Website

Shirataki Noodles and Keto in Japan, Konnyaku Low Carb Pasta

TOPVALU ORGANIC DOMESTIC KONNYAKU (100g)
グリーンアイオーガニック
オーガニック国産 糸こんにゃく

These are thinner konnyaku style noodles, hence the brown color. This is a smaller pack than most products, so handy for a single serving. They are still sitting in my fridge, so will update with tasting notes when I’ve tried them out! 

Dietary Fibre: 2.3g
Price: ¥98
Website

Note: take care to read the labels in Japanese supermarkets as carb-heavy potato starch noodles are often displayed amongst the shirataki. I learnt the hard way!

Shirataki Noodles and Keto in Japan, Konnyaku Low Carb Pasta
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