Friday, February 27, 2009

Nothing Noodles aka Shirataki

Shirataki is Japanese yam noodle. It’s a little weird- it seems to have nothing in it if you look at the nutrition facts. 

This is good news! It is a blank canvas waiting for the cook to add any assortment of flavors and textures.

The low carb count is good for dieters and for people, like me, who do not tolerate the massive amount of refined carbs that can creep into a gluten free diet.

There are two kinds of Shirataki; the one pictured (JFC) is the variety most readily available to me. I get it at an Oriental Grocery Store. It contains water, yam flour and hydrated lime.

The other variety, “House Foods” is actually labeled “Gluten Free” on the package, and has more specific cooking instructions. Both varieties are vegan.

I avoided trying these for a while. I am suspicious of anything having an Internet advertising link to it titled something like “Miracle Noodle”. Being the geek-chef that I am, however, curiosity eventually won out and I researched them a little bit. That, and they looked pretty benign sitting next to the tofu at the Whole Foods Market.

There is a process to handling these- otherwise they smell like garbage can after you left a tuna can in it overnight. I have no idea why. When you open the package, rinse them thoroughly, then blanch them for 2-3 minutes in boiling, salted water. Drain the water off, and continue as you would with any noodle. At this point, they really have no flavor or odor. Strangely, these do not easily get mushy, especially the House Foods variety.

These are great for making a noodle salad to pack in a lunch box. The recipe I have below is actually leftover curried chickpeas and tofu that had lots of “sauce”. I tossed the saucy curry with the blanched and cooled noodles, and topped with chopped cilantro.

Curry Noodle Salad

Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a side

Coconut milk- (1) standard can. You can use “lite”, but your sauce might curdle

Beans- your choice- if you use canned, rinse first- 1 cup

Tofu- firm or extra firm- 1 cup, diced (or cooked, diced chicken or shrimp)

Fish Sauce- check label for gluten- 1 teaspoon or to taste

Sugar- 1 tablespoon

Ginger, fresh, grated, 2 teaspoons

Green Curry Paste, 1 teaspoon, or to taste

Cilantro, fresh, chopped, 2 tablespoons, divided use

Shirataki Noodles (spaghetti shaped), 8 oz, rinsed, blanched and drained

Combine all ingredients except the noodles, scallions and 1 tablespoon of the cilantro in a large saute pan. Simmer for 10 minutes or so. Taste and adjust flavor. Add noodles, scallions and rest of cilantro. This is best at room temperature or cool.


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