I must admit that I haven’t really cooked in nearly two weeks, a most unusual state of affairs. I love to cook, but I’ve been on the feast end of the freelancer’s feast or famine cycle for the past month. This was fine while I was visiting family for two weeks, working during the day and visiting at night, where they fed me amazing meals each day. It doesn’t work so well, however, when I’m all by my lonesome, because not only do I not cook, I forget to eat ( so it doesn’t really register.) Having finished one very extensive project and another smaller one, I wanted to cook tonight a) because I have time, and b) to prove to myself that I do still know how.
I had decided to marinate some boneless chicken thighs I thawed, but when it came time to actually make the marinade, I discovered the unthinkable. Out of both sesame oil AND soy sauce. No ginger root, but fresh garlic is always in good supply around here. Off I went to on my second trip to the grocery. As I perused the “oriental” isle, pondering which one of the many brands and kinds of soy sauce to buy, I noticed a bag of some sort of weird-looking noodles. Curious, I picked up the package of noodles in liquid and looked for the nutrition information on the back. Shirataki yam noodles are called “miracle noodles for for a reason! They have zero everything. Zero calories. Zero fat. Zero sodium. Zero carbs. Zero nutritional value, other than fiber. In an effort to reduce my already low-carb diabetic diet further, I thought I’d try them out. I bought a bag and ventured out of my comfort zone this evening.
Shirataki yam noodles have an odd smell and texture, especially right out of the bag. They are made from the konjac yam. The instructions say to drain and rinse them well to get rid of the faintly fishy odor (although they 100% vegan, if you care). Then, you can either use them as they are, drained, or you can put them in soup, or if you’re adventuresome, you can try serving them in dishes the same way you would regular spaghtetti or angel hair pasta. They are also incredibly long, so you probably want to cut them to more slurp-friendly size before you cook them or add them to anything else.
I marinated and cooked the chicken, and when it was done, there was still some sauce left in the pan. After removing the chicken, I added the noodles and stirred them into the sauce, turning them to coat them as they cooked on high.
The verdict: Not only have Shirataki noodles no nutritional value, they have no taste. They are supposed to assume the taste of whatever you’re cooking. While the chicken was delicious, the noodles were, in a word, weird. They are a bit gelatinous to begin with, so cooking them actually helped. I had forgotten to cut them up before adding to the sauce, so I took my kitchen shears and cut them up while they were cooking. The texture is pretty chewy, not like pasta, and they probably work best when used in traditional Asian dishes. I perused some recipes that use them as you would spaghetti, but I’m guessing I won’t substitute them because of their texture. Aside from that, they’re pricey.
Shirataki noodles may, indeed, be miracle noodles for some who sing their high praises, but for me, they were just a mouth full of gummy, chewy worms.