Konjac Noodle Konjac Root Glucomannan Low Calorie & Low Carb Diet Food


               
Konjac Noodles Demystified

                                                                                            By: MarcieLynn
                                                                                            www.ilovelowcarb.com


Konjac?

Shirataki?

Konnyaku?.................. Where am I, Japan?

Nope, you’re not in Japan. But, with access to exotic ingredients from all over the world, you almost could be. There used to be a time when the standard Joe didn’t know that a “latte” was a coffee drink and “wasabi” was the Japanese version of horseradish. Now, you can find lattes on every corner and get wasabi roots, wasabi in a tube and wasabi powder at your local grocer. My, how times have changed.

WHAT IS KONJAC?

Basically, the Konjac root (a tuber or “yam” unique to Asia) is the source of Glucomannan; a water-soluble dietary fiber that expands many times its size when consumed. This makes the “consumer” feel full with less food and provides a nice bit of fiber in the process.

In addition, some small studies have suggested that Glucomannan aids in lowing blood pressure and assists in regulating blood sugars. Interesting, eh? We’re talking about a plate of this stuff (in noodle form) having virtually no carbs because it is almost 100% fiber!

It’s so low in carbs, cals, AND fat (for those of you counting fat grams as well) that you can practically call it a “free” food.

There are two main types of the noodles. The plain yam noodles, a.k.a. Shirataki, are made mainly with the yam flour itself and are a white, semi-transparent color…



Tofu Shirataki is made with the addition of tofu which makes the noodles a creamy white, opaque color and ups the carb content a little.



I generally use the plain noodles (without tofu) for two reasons. One, I try to stay away from too many NON-fermented soy products and two; I prefer to get my carbs in veggie form as much as possible.

The traditional uses consist of mostly soups and stir frys but these noodles can also do a decent job doubling as pasta. True, konjac noodles have their own special texture and they will never take the place of perfectly cooked, al dente pasta but if you can learn to finesse them, you’ll be able to add a pasta-style dish back to your weekly menu any night you wish, as often as you wish.

TRICKS OF THE KONJAC TRADE

First, you need to rinse them and snip the noodles with kitchen shears so they aren’t so long…



The water them come packed in takes on a rather odd aroma. Believe it or not, they come out of the package with a slightly fishy smell that is not very appetizing. You really must rinse them off before using. But please, don’t stop reading! Just give it a shot. I bet half of you will be surprised at how well they work for a pasta substitute.

SIDE NOTE: After they’re rinsed, you can just nuke them until hot, top with sauce and serve, but the noodles tend to “weep” (giving off water) if they aren’t sautéed a little first and you end up with watery sauce. I recommend the following method.

After you’ve rinsed them, pat dry in a few paper towels and place in a sauce pan or skillet on HIGH with 1-2 tablespoons of fat/oil that can withstand high heat such as bacon fat, lard, or coconut oil. Don’t use too much. You just want to barely coat the bottom of the pan.



I’ve tried this without the fat but the noodles dry up unevenly and get a very strange, rubbery texture. Besides, the fat you use adds a bit of flavor and helps get rid of any leftover “oddness” from the packing water. Bacon fat is my favorite thing to use for this.

As the noodles sauté, they will reduce in size by about half. You don’t want to cook them down too long or they will be difficult to chew. Some moisture must remain to get the best texture. Here’s an example of what they’ll look like after cooking…



On the left are the noodles directly from the package. On the right are the noodles I sautéed in bacon fat for about 10-15 minutes. Cooking time will depend on how many noodles you are cooking. I usually do two packages at once on HIGH.

As soon as the noodles have reduced in size, add your sauce and toss until well coated and heated through.



Use any type of sauce you normally would for pasta; bacon-shallot cream sauce, cheesy alfredo or a basic meat and tomato. The possibilities are endless. Drizzle with a little olive oil, add some grated parmesan and serve.



Here’s an example of my “spaghetti” after eating half the portion. I am tipping the plate and notice there is NO water pooling towards the bottom of the picture. This is because I used the sauté technique before adding the sauce.



I know that some of you will try these noodles and not like them. That’s OK, don’t worry about it. Myself, I’ve really fallen in love with them NOT because they taste just like Barilla but because of what they MEAN...

- They provide fiber
- Help with blood pressure and blood sugar levels
- Assist in making you feel fuller
- And best of all, you can eat a HUGE plate of spaghetti for about 10 carbs.

If you use a cream sauce instead of a tomato sauce, your carb content will be closer to 5 carbs. That’s pretty amazing. (If you use the Tofu Shirataki noodles the carb content is slightly higher)

Bon Apetit!

Marcie

Copyright 2005 M.L. Rathbun including Photos