Diet Buddies: Zero Calorie Shirataki Noodles

They’re noodles. They’re filling. Good for you, too. And no calories whatsoever. What’s not to love about Shirataki Noodles?

Zero Calorie Noodles

Now this is proper cheating.  So much of a cheat in fact that I did wonder whether shirataki noodles actually qualified for this blog. After all, there’s nothing remotely clever or ingenious about substituting a notoriously calorific ingredient with one that has literally no calories. Nevertheless, such an intriguing and, let’s face it, downright excellent proposition couldn’t be ignored – so spurred on by media coverage,  I got out the wok and ordered a big box from Amazon….

Basically, instead of wheat or rice, Shiritaki noodles are made from flour made from the roots of the Konjac plant which grows in Japan and China. This mostly consists of a dietary fibre called glucomannan – yep, they’re high-fibre too – and as a result they’re both good for you AND completely calorie-free.

Now you might have been put off by reports that they’re a bit slimy, or that they have a fishy smell.  Don’t worry about all that. There is a slight odour on opening the packet – apparently not from the noodles themselves but from the water they’re preserved in –  but it disappears as soon as they’re rinsed.  And as for the texture – well it seems the thing to do is boil them for a couple of minutes before adding them to your stir-fry or whatever.  Do that, and I’d go so far as to say that they’re bloody delicious.

Shirataki noodles are essentially glass noodles – so you won’t want to be shoving Bolognese sauce on them.  Not unnaturally, it’s with Asian cuisine that you’re going to get the tastiest results here.

A quick rummage around my kitchen store cupboard – and the internet – and I threw together a pretty respectable and very filling stir-fry which, despite a large portion of chicken and a realistic slug of olive oil (you might manage with less) – and, lest we forget – a huge portion of noodles, came in at under 300 calories.  Make the same thing with ordinary noodles, and you’d be adding a good 250 calories to that.

Even better was Miến Gà  – Vietnamese chicken glass noodle soup – here – and best of all a Vietnamese beef and glass noodle salad – an excellent recipe here – again both these recipes setting you back no more than 300 calories. (And of course, you could muck around with them to get them lower – but why bother?)

Note that with the salad, sweetness is an essential quality of the dipping sauce, so be sure to substitute something like Truvia for all that sugar.  And go easy with the peanuts.

At £2.50 for a 200g portion, shirataki noodles aren’t cheap, so you won’t want to eat them every night of the week.  But they are delicious and extremely filling, and a real godsend for all of us who’ve pretty much had to give up pasta for the duration of our diets.

Shirataki Noodle Recipe