All About Shirataki Noodles
Shirataki Noodles: Where to Buy Them, What They Taste Like and What Health Benefits They Offer
Shirataki noodles are high fiber, with a very low carb count and have almost zero calories. Originally hailing from Japan, these noodles, also known as konjac noodles, are made from a gelatin that comes from Japanese yams. Read on to discover the nutrition of shirataki noodles, their health benefits (and some hazards), noodle and pasta recipes, what shirataki noodles taste like and where to buy them!
What are Shirataki Noodles?
Use and Nutrition of Shirataki Noodles
Shirataki noodles are just another type of noodle or pasta. They can be used pretty much in the same way as 'normal' noodles. There's no real need to make special shirataki noodle recipes. You can replace the ordinary, high carb pasta and noodles in your favorite recipes with shirataki noodles.
Konjac, or shirataki noodles come in various sizes and shapes, and there is also a variety called 'tofu shirataki noodles' which have a few more calories, but also contain more protein. Shirataki noodles are made from soluble fiber, rather than carbohydrates. This means that they are essentially calorie free (or, more exactly, they have about 6 calories per kilo) as fiber tends to move straight through the body, rather than being digested.
Shirataki noodles are also very low in carbohydrates and contain no gluten, so they're great for those with gluten or wheat allergies or anyone on a low carb diet.
Are they a 'miracle food'? Well, they are pretty awesome, but they aren't perfect. Many people find they don't like the taste of shirataki noodles, or don't like the texture of them. Also, aside from the benefits of the fiber, there's very little nutrition in konjac noodles.
But, add them to a bowl of sauce and vegetables, and you'll be able to get your nutrients in other ways.
Too Good to be True? - come on, nothing has zero calories...
- Are Shirataki Noodles a Miracle Food?
A brief article detailing the chemical composition, health benefits and pitfalls of shirataki noodles. It includes a description of some of the benefits of shirataki noodles for diabetics and others who have blood sugar difficulties.
- A Recent Wall Street Journal Article on Konjac (Shirataki) Noodles and Weight Loss
This article describes some recent research on konjac both as a noodle and as a supplement.
- Gluten Allergy Site
Shirataki noodles are gluten free, which makes them ideal for those who suffer from celiac disease and gluten and wheat allergies. Learn about the symptoms of gluten allergies and celiac disease at this informative website.
- Wikipedia on Shirataki Noodles
This speaks for itself.
- A Guide to Preparing Shirataki/Konnyaku
A very interesting guide to shirataki noodles and slabs, from a Japanese ex-pat chef. Also includes some recipes.
- A Website Dedicated to Different Health Aspects of Konjac
This site even includes a how-to guide so you can make your own noodles at home!
- Hungry Girl on Shirataki Tofu Noodles
A short blurb comparing them to ordinary noodles.
Shirataki Noodles on the News
A short news report on shirataki noodles, asking both an expert and an ordinary guy what they think.
Health Benefits of Shirataki Noodles
Because these noodles are so low in calories, they are going to help you out when you're losing weight. And in many cases losing weight will help your health, so that part is a no-brainer.
However shirataki noodles are good for people with other conditions as well. They don't contain any wheat products (although it's possible they might have been processed in machinery that also processes wheat) so they are perfect for those who are allergic to wheat.
We've heard a lot recently about the evils of gluten and it seems unfair that you have to give up noodles as well as bread and everything else. Shirataki noodles can help you with that, as they are gluten free (again, with that disclaimer that they may have been contaminated with gluten during processing. If you have a serious condition that prevents you from eating gluten, bear this in mind)
Ordinary noodles are often made of only flour and water, so they aren't the best when it comes to maintaining blood sugar levels. But, shirataki noodles are perfect fare for diabetics and others who have to watch their blood sugar, since they don't have any carbs or calories, so they shouldn't affect blood sugar much at all.
High in Fibre
The noodles also have a fair bit of fibre which is perfect for people on a low carb diet who often can't get enough fibre into their diet.
What Do Shirataki Noodles Taste Like? Just My Opnion
Shirataki noodles are not for everyone. Quite a few people dislike them, although just as many love them. Personally, I found them difficult to like at first, but they got better as I went along. This may have been because I got used to them, or because, as I've heard from other people, they taste better when they've been chilled and then reheated.
(Just as a side note, while you can chill them in the fridge with no problems, don't try to freeze shirataki noodles. They come out looking and feeling like shrunken bits of plastic!)
The closest thing to the texture of shirataki noodles that I can think of is a very soft gummy candy, obviously without the flavor. They don't really mash up, they just chop into smaller and smaller pieces when they are chewed. They really do taste of nothing... it's like someone has invented water-flavored gummy noodles. Apparently the tofu version is less rubbery but I haven't tried those.
Once I got used to them, I really liked them. After all, pasta is supposed to be al dente, and you can't get more al dente than these. Plus, most recipes out there will smother them in other ingredients.
I think for the most part my original dislike was psychological anyway. Even if they weren't super-diet-miracle-getouttahere-noodles, I'd probably eat them, just for the variety.
How Do You Think Shirataki Noodles Taste?
No one knows better than you what you like. So, give them a try!
What's the Verdict?
Shirataki Noodles Review and Recipe
A woman tries shirataki noodles for the first time on camera and demonstrates using them in a low calorie pasta dish.
Recipes for Shirataki Noodles
- Three Recipes From HungryGirl
Two recipes that treat the noodles more as pasta... and a shirataki noodle desert! If you search this blog, you can find more shirataki noodle recipes.
- Recipes from MiracleNoodle
Some lovely recipes here.
- A Site Dedicated to Shirataki Noodle Recipes!
A large number of recipes for both original and tofu noodles.
- Shirataki Noodles and Spicy Peanut Sauce
A delicious shirataki recipe.
- Living La Vida Low Carb
A list of all their information on shirataki noodles, including a bunch of recipes.
- Shirataki Noodle Recipes
Over 60 shirataki noodle recipes and counting! (Thanks Adam!)
- Noodling Around
Some tips on using shirataki from a gourmet chef.
Where Can I Buy Shirataki Noodles? - 'cuz I wanna get me some of that!
The best place to buy shirataki noodles is your local Japanese grocery, supermarket or specialist store.
They may be available as dry noodles and/or powdered glucomannan (basically, Japanese yam flour, which can be used as an alternative to cornflour).
But, the most common and easiest form to work with is shirataki noodles which have been packaged in water. They might also be packed in a slab form.
They might be kept in the fridge section of the store, although technically, non-tofu noodles shouldn't go off even without refrigeration. Noodles with tofu do need to be kept in the fridge and used within a few days.
Often they aren't labeled 'shirataki', although if the proprietors of the store are Japanese they will know what you want if you ask for them by name.
I've seen 'sirataki' and 'yam powder noodle' and they are also known as konjac or konnyaku noodles. Sometimes, especially online, the noodles are put under "vegetable products" rather than "noodles" although as they are becoming more popular they are being placed more prominently.
I've grouped sellers under different countries, but a lot of the major websites listed under the United States and the UK will ship overseas, so be sure to check them out.
USA and Canada Shirataki Sources
MiracleNoodle sells a very wide range of shirataki noodle products, including konjac flour and a rice size version. They also deliver in Australia and Canada. They will give you 40% off your order if you sign up to have a regular, monthly delivery of noodles through their Auto-ship member program.
Peapod sells them, and delivers to a few states in the USA.
Low Carb Connoisseur delivers worldwide, but their shipping outside the US and Canada seems to be very expensive. ($100 to send a $3 pack of noodles to New Zealand? No thanks!)
The Asian Food Grocer also sells the noodles and delivers to most of the USA. They have quite a wide range, including tofu noodles, and ready made noodle meals. Their prices are quite reasonable.
LoCarb-You Foods, in spite of their silly name, have a fairly wide range of noodles and some packs have free shipping (unfortunately, they ship within the US only).
Alternatively you can buy them from Amazon, or eBay as shown below.
UK Shirataki Sources
The Low Carb Megastore also has them, but are also often out of stock!
Japanese Kitchen is yet another online store that sells the noodles, and yet again is often sold out of them. However, they do usually have slabs in stock. Remember, the slabs are made of the same stuff as the noodles, they just aren't cut into strips (something you can do at home). These guys deliver to the UK and all European Union countries.
I'll continue to seek out places that UK'ers can get a regular noodle fix.
Ichiba Junction, an online Asian food store has them and will deliver within Australia. They have big packs of dried noodles, or the usual small wet packs.
Kongs in East Victoria Park sells shirataki noodles (thanks, Lee!)
I'm told the Formosa Asian Market , in Sunnybank sells the noodles.
New Zealand Sources
The Asian Food Warehouse sells both noodles and the block form; they are based in Christchurch so the delivery fee is less there.
Update Currently this website is down, I suspect because the company was affected by the Christchurch earthquake. I'm going to leave the link here in case they get back on their feet and need the customers.
Edible Planet has one type of noodle, for $4 at a $9 shipping charge (seems to be less in the south island). The good news is that it looks like that $9 is a flat rate, so you can order by the boxful if you want.
If you live in Auckland, I can confirm that JapanMart in Sylvia Park definitely has them, both the white noodles, the brown noodles, and both colors of 'block' which is like a block of tofu and can be sliced into pieces of whatever size you want. JapanMart is also in Newmarket, so they probably have them too. I think they were about $3 but I forgot to write that down.
Made in Nippon on Queen St also has them according to their website but I have not confirmed this.
I've also bought the noodles (white and brown) in Tauranga in an Asian food store, but forgot to write down the name. Sorry I can't be more specific!
Never was able to find them in New Plymouth.
Japan City in Cuba Mall has shirataki noodles and blocks! They are about $3.60 I think.
Asiana Metro on Tennyson Street, which is around the corner from Tory Street near Courtenay Place has them for the cheapest I've seen in NZ so far at $2.47 for a standard bag. Unfortunately, they are new so the website is still under construction. They had the standard range with noodles and slabs available.
I will continue to update this as I find places where they are available. I will only be able to directly confirm the places in New Zealand though, and mostly Wellington and surrounds at the moment.
If you know other places they are available anywhere in the world write it in the comments please! Thanks for all your help.
Buy Shirataki Noodles Through Amazon!
Matsuda Shirataki Noodle Dumplings are delicious noodle dumplings rolled into bundles, low-carb, and good for a healthy diet. Shirataki noodles absorb the flavor of whatever you add them to, so don't be shy with the sauce. These weight-loss noodles leave you feeling full and satisfied all-day long. Shirataki noodles contain little carbs or calories, and are rich with dietary fiber.