Shirataki noodles defy rules of pasta

Shirataki noodles are giving dieters a fresh — albeit slightly different — way to have their pasta and their New Year's resolutions.
By JIM ROMANOFF Published: January 23, 2013
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Second, while they certainly are filling, in keeping with their lack of carbs and calories the noodles have virtually zero flavor. But Grace Young, author of “Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge,” considers that an advantage. She says a lack of flavor makes shirataki the perfect ingredient for dishes where the other ingredients or the sauce define the dish.

Young was first introduced to shirataki by a home cook in the Philippines, who used the carb-free noodles all the time because she was diabetic, but still wanted pasta. Young says she adds them to homemade broth with fresh vegetables, or simply prepares them with a good quality soy sauce and toasted sesame oil.

Because of their bland flavor and chewy texture, Young advises picking companion ingredients for shirataki carefully. Salty and bright, tangy flavors work well, along with crisp textures and even the toothsome quality of cooked mushrooms and meats. This way, she says, every bite will have that perfect blend of taste and consistency.

To give shirataki a more pasta-like consistency, also try dry roasting them in a well-oiled or nonstick skillet over high heat for about a minute (be careful not to burn them) before adding them to your favorite dish.

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CHICKEN AND SHIRATAKI NOODLE SOUP

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Servings: 6

10 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

2 cups shredded carrots

1 large stalk celery, coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

2 tablespoons minced garlic

Three 8-ounce packages fettucine-style shirataki noodles, drained and well rinsed

4 cups shredded cooked skinless chicken breast (about 1 pound)

3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

• In a Dutch oven over medium heat, bring the broth to a boil. Add the carrots, celery, ginger and garlic. Cook, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.

• Add the shirataki and chicken, then simmer until the noodles are just hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the dill and lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper.

Nutrition information per serving: 150 calories; 15 calories from fat (10 percent of total calories); 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 45 mg cholesterol; 10 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 24 g protein; 1020 mg sodium.

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