First and foremost, I'd like to start by stating that I'm a huge carbs lover - especially when it comes to bread, pasta, ramen, udon, etc. etc. However, once in awhile, I like to find substitutes for my unhealthy cravings. I believe eating in moderation and finding ways to incorporate vegan and/or healthy meals in-between my other not-so-healthy meals.
When I recently shared with my co-worker that I wanted to lower my carb intake, she told me about "shirataki" noodles. Per Wikipedia, shirataki "are thin, translucent, gelatinous traditional Japanese noodles made from the konjac yam (devil's tongue yam or elephant yam)." Unlike past Asian clear 'glass' or 'cellophane' noodles I've tried in the past, shirataki noodles are purely plant based (and not made from starch and water).
I believe you can find shirataki noodles at Japanese markets, but I happened to find some in the vegan fridge aisle at my local Whole Foods. They're branded as Miracle Noodle (see image below)! I was definitely skeptical, since the noodles are stored in a squishy bag of water. Also, after opening the bag, the smell was very potent and gross. I trusted the directions, which said that the smell would go away after rinsing the noodles. It did.
Unsure of how I should make the noodles, I decided to repurpose my old recipe for Yaki-Udon. This felt fitting since that was also a Japanese dish. The name spoke for itself...these were miracle noodles! After taking my first bite, I would have never known it was 100% plant based. The texture did not bother me at all, and definitely just reminded me of typical cellophane noodles.
I can't wait to buy more of these and turn them into other dishes (e.g. with hot broth).
Try it and let me know what you think! (I'm also dying to know if they're a lot cheaper at Japanese markets)
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 15 min
1 package of shirataki noodles (~7 oz)
1 tbsp white onions (minced)
2 cabbage leaves (julienne cut)
1/4 carrot (julienne cut)
2-3 shiitake mushrooms (julienne cut)
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp 'Tsuyu No Moto' (or similar Japanese soup stock), or to taste
1 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
Optional: Scallions and bonito flakes (for garnish)
*Note: I opted not to use meat for this recipe. However, feel free to add pork belly if you're inclined.
To make the shirataki noodles, follow directions on the package. (Typically, you will just need to rinse under water and boil). After boiling, drain water and set aside.
In a shallow pan or pot, heat up olive oil on medium high heat
Add onions and sauté until onions no longer translucent. Add cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, and mix together for about 2-4 minutes.
Add the shirataki noodles to the pan. Season with black pepper, Japanese soup stock, and soy sauce. Mix all ingredients together evenly.
Turn off heat and transfer noodles to serving plate. Optional: Just before serving, garnish with scallions and bonito flakes.