While realizing that shirataki noodles are in no way paleo, what do you think about including them as a low carb substitution for other noodles? Every once in awhile I find myself craving spaghetti and this is a way to get over it, so when I can find them I occasionally eat them.
Shirataki comes from the root of a plant (Amorphophallus Konjac, or a few other closely-related species) grown in various parts of Asia, and given many names in different places, including Konnyaku potato (or just konnyaku), konjac, konjaku, elephant yam (although as far as I can tell, they are not related to any other plant commonly called ???yam???), and others. The fiber is also known as glucomannan.
Get Free Paleo Recipes Instantly
You are correct. Konjac is not related in any way to yam or potato. It's a fibrous tuber. Pure shiritaki noodles are basically like eating fiber. Metabolically, I think they are probably fine. If your GI is irritated, the fiber may cause problems. Personally, my digestion has no probs with shiritaki, but I have heard a few people who eat a lot can get a bit of the trots. Many brands of shiritaki in America have about 20 % soy added to improve texture. These would be less healthy because of the soy, but 20% would not be much soy unless you are eating tons of these noodles.
From a practical perspective, make sure not to overcook them. They say boil for a few minutes, but really you just need to rinse them thoroughly. They have a funny smell before they are rinsed. Then just heat them lightly. Overcooking or overheating makes them kinda rubbery. Unlike regular pasta, they also do not soak up sauce at all. If anything, heating seems to cause them to lose a bit of water back into the skillet. So make sure your sauce is plenty thick before adding shiritaki. SOme people like to pan dry the noodles slightly in advance. Stick in a hot pan and flop em around to heat and dry them for just a minute or two. Do this instead of the boiling. I havne't tried it yet, but it supposedly gets some of the water out of them.
Texture and tastewise, shiritaki come in a variety of tradition shapes, spaghetti, fettucini, etc and taste and feel very similar to regular pasta. But they do not give that starch/sugar rush and will not destabilize blood sugars. Personally, I think the are fine in moderation. They are not paleo, but when I cheat on paleo, this is the kind of thing I usually cheat with, ie something that is probably not too harmful biologically. This is also the kind of thing I pull out when nonpaleo eaters might be eating with me.
I wasn't too big a fan of shiritaki noodles... just too gelatinous somehow. But I could see how Eva's advice on pan drying them would be helpful. I was never a big pasta person, but ever since I got my spiralizer, I love making raw zucchini noodles. Then just fry up some ground beef, add some pasta sauce, and voila, a perfectly paleo meal.
I really miss noodles above all other grain-based things. I recently discovered shiritaki noodles, fortunately at a local grocery store that caters to the local Asian population so there are several types including pure shiritaki, no soy, and the prices are very reasonable compared to how much people are paying to mail order the noodles (OMG!).
I have to say I'm THRILLED to be able to have noodles again. I was soldiering on with zucchini "zoodles" and such, but it was just not the same. While the texture of the shiritaki noodles is a little odd, they satisfy my desire for noodles 99.99%. I do find they soak up the flavor of the food they are in, but no, they won't add starch to thicken up a sauce--not a problem for me. I do "dry fry" them before adding them to the dish, to get all the water and smell out of them, and that seems to help them soak up the flavor of the dish they are in. It's easy to do this, as they don't stick as starchy noodles would.
So far I've had them in the following dishes and they've been great: 1. Smoked salmon pasta (a sauce made with smoked salmon over the shiritaki noodles). 2. Homemade (from scratch) pho--wonderful!!!! 3. Asian stir fry with chicken.
I haven't had any GI distress, and I love having noodles again. I fed them to my husband and the least picky of my kids last night and she asked for seconds. Not sure I could get away with feeding them to the older, pickier one, who is an avowed pastatarian. I'm sure she'd pick up on the texture and complain.
Because they lack any of their own flavor, it helps to make the sauce or liquid they are in a little more intense. My first try with these noodles was the pho, and having bean sprouts to garnish the soup with helped the texture of the shiritaki noodles feel less odd, because if I had to describe the texture of the noodles they have that same kind of crunch you get with bean sprouts--though to a lesser degree.
I'm personally not too big of a fan of shiritaki noodles... less so of those with the soy added... If you're going to cheat, then these aren't too bad, and they work well with asian noodle dishes a bit better than western/euro. As mentioned they don't take in extra moisture so best to have your sauce at consistency, and possible pan dry before use.
Of note, however is kanjac glucomannan itself, the binder for shiritaki noodles. Which works pretty good as a sauce thickener/stabalizer and has a really filling effect as a supplement. It is all water soluble fiber, so not great to have too much without non-water-soluble fiber.
I've used shiritaki noodles for panang, which worked well.. they also work okay with a thick pasta sauce. The various shapes (ie macaroni) other than the longer varieties (angelhair, linquini) don't work as well as their wheat flour counterparts in the dishes imho.
I would say if you really want to go off ranch and have pasta, just go for something like Dreamfields sparingly (you can order on amazon). That is just my two cents.
Look for brands that are 100% Konjac root. The brand I buy does NOT contain any soy, is imported, does NOT smell at all and is quite pleasant in making a transition from pasta products, for adding bulk if satiety has been an issue, AND can help with constipation.
I use it on occasion to make a "casserole" when I miss those things. Pure Konjac root is said to be used by some to provide a feeling of fullness to an individual when the hunger signals are not yet normalized.