Shirataki noodles are a traditional Japanese noodle or noodle substitute that you can find in most health food sections of your local grocery store. They are perfect for pasta cravings, and are being advertized by fitness experts as a "wonder noodle" or "noodle substitute" for low-carb dieters.
Originally only made from the konjac plant (often called the elephant yam or an array of other names), most Shirataki noodes in American markets are now made with tofu, which adds a bit of opacity and a few calories (the yam-only noodles are zero calories). In most cases, the noodles weigh in at a whopping 40 calories for the entire bag, which is enough for a generous serving for one or a modest serving to share.
Shirataki noodles come with a slightly pungent, fishy odor in their packaging; it's billed as an acquired taste but can be a real turn-off for some people. Package recommendations state to boil the noodles or let them soak for a few minutes after rinsing to remove this odor. We find that once rinsed, if you boil the noodles for about three minutes in a broth, the fishy odor will be gone and the noodles will soak up some of the broth's flavor and saltiness (the noodles are near flavorlessbut will take on the flavor of your seasoning).
When the noodles are cooked, they have a slightly rubbery texture but are still satisfying. We tried them out with a simple tomato sauce and chicken breasts, and it was a decent substitute, nearly undetectable to an oblivious family. Although they are not a permanent replacement to some tasty semolina noodles, they work fine for now.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.