Sunday, 27 October 2013

Shirataki Pasta: Zero Calorie, Seriously!

In my quest to eat healthier foods, I discovered Shirataki.

My favorite way to cook Shirataki: sautéed in garlic, olive oil, chili peppers and a generous serving of shrimps
What exactly is Shirataki? It is a noodle that is traditionally eaten in Japan. It is not something new, at least in Japan. But  now, the western world has discovered Shirataki and its low calorie, low carb properties.

The Shirataki Noodles I use

Where is Shirataki made from? Shirataki is made from the root of the konjac plant. If the word konjac sounds familiar, it is because Shirataki is made from the same ingredient as those delicious, low calorie fruit jellies most Asian kids love : konyakku jellies.

Zero calorie, Seriously? Well, practically yes! My brand of Shirataki, the Dukan brand, has only 18.5 kcal per 200 gram pack. And I usually make two pasta meals out of each pack. So that's less than 10 kcal per meal. Of course the total kcal of your meal will depend on what you put in as the sauce. But for someone who is either looking for a low cal alternative to wheat-based pasta, cannot tolerate other grain-based pasta (such as corn, rice or barley based noodles), Shirataki does seem like  pasta from heaven.

Where is it available? Where I am at the moment, Shirataki is available in most big groceries, but at a slightly premium price. A 200 gram pack costs about 300 pesos. I imagine that this should be cheaper in Japan, China and Korea.

How to cook Shirataki: Most Shirataki come prepackaged in water. Once you open the pack, there is a slightly fishy smell that might offend those who are not used to it. Don't fret, the fishy smell can be easily removed by draining off the water, and washing your Shirataki noodle with water until the fishy smell is gone.

At this point, the Shiratake noodles are  translucent, jelly like and is ready to use for the traditional Japanese shirataki soupy noodle recipes.

if however, you want your noodles to be like opaque al dente pasta, you have to either dry fry the Shirataki in a wok, or stir fry the noodles as I do until you get your preferred noodle texture. It doesn't get the pasta texture perfectly but for me (and for practically zero calories!) it is a good enough alternative to carb-rich wheat pasta.

Have you tried Shirataki? Let me know if you liked it too!

1 comment:

I'd love to hear from you!