Not sure how I missed these. They’ve been around in this commercial brand (Miracle Noodles) for more than a decade, and have been used in Asia for thousands of years, going by their traditional name of Shirataki noodles. The old adage that if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is, is really an exception in this case. These really are too good to be true, but with some reservation, they really are true. Imagine being able to eat as much warm steamy noodles as you like with no calories, fat, or carbs. They are made from the root of the konjac plant.
People in India and Asia have been using the konjac root for thousands of years. It is comprised almost entirely of soluble fiber. They dry the root and make a flour out of it from which they then make noodles, and many other products. Since it is 100% fiber it has no calories, carbs, protein, etc.; it is purely a filler. Interestingly, if you read the ingredients list, it’s just konjac root preserved in a natural broth, nothing else. So it is entirely natural, traditional (for the Asians) at least, and “authentic”. Of course, it is not authentic to pasta, and can lead to some disappointment if you compare it to traditional Italian style pasta. On the other hand, they compare very favorably to Asian rice noodles.
On an additional positive note, since it is 100% soluble fibre, it also takes a while to digest, leaving you feeling fuller longer, plus has the benefit of naturally reducing cholesterol by binding up bile acids in the intestine and excreting them (all soluble fibres do the same thing, e.g. oat bran). Since bile acids are primarily built up of cholesterol, the fiber forces the system to pull cholesterol from the blood in order to make more bile acids. Bottom line: It’s real good for you.
Now comes the big issue: Taste. I had my first batch a couple of nights ago in a Pad Thai. They are completely neutral in flavour and absorb the taste of whatever you cook them with. I personally like the texture since it’s a little al dente (they don’t soften as you cook them), but people who like a mushy pasta may not like them. It is best to pan-dry the noodles after a brief boil of about 1-2 minutes. You put them in a non-stick pan at medium-high heat for a few minutes and it removes excess water, making it possible for your sauce to adhere much better.
So far, I have used the Angel Hair (my favorite), the fettuccine, and the “rice”. I loved the first two, especially following the recipe on the web site for Hot or Cold Sesame Noodles. I wasn’t nuts about the rice, it reminded me of tapioca. You can also download a very nice, free recipe book from the web site, or at the link below.
As a final note, avoid the Shirataka Tofu noodles sold in grocery stores, like the plague. They are quite awful and hold no comparison to the Miracle Noodles brand. And as a major rousing endorsement, Mr. Italo, the consummate food authenticity snob, loved my sesame noodles so much, he split a 20 pack order with me!