While 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!
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:
KIBUN RAMEN PASTA (180g)
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
KIBUN FLAT STIR-FRY NOODLES (180g)
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
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
TOPVALU CHINESE STYLE NOODLES (180g)
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
TOPVALU ORGANIC DOMESTIC KONNYAKU (100g)
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
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!