Thursday, January 24, 2013

SHIRATAKI NOODLES WITHOUT SOY: NASOYA PASTA ZERO

Suffering from pasta withdrawal? Here's a clip from Portlandia to show you how hard it can get! (Thanks to Laurie-Avalanche Rosen for sharing this.)


I'm still looking for the perfect pasta substitute. Dreamfield's contains wheat; spaghetti squash is, well, squash; spiral-sliced zucchini, sorry, still squash; shirataki is rubbery and tasteless; tofu shirataki contains soy...

Regular shirataki noodles are not really food. They have no calories, no carbs, no nutrients, and no taste. They are 100% konjak fiber. If I came across a bowl of shiritaki noodles in the wild, I would never say, "Yum, food!" I'd be no more likely to eat them than to eat the tablecloth or the carpet. The version made with soy tastes better. They have the texture and taste of soft egg noodles, like the ones my mother-in-law used to make. But the soy is a deal breaker for me and I'm sure I'm not alone about that.

Nasoya, makers of all-things-soy, must have heard our complaints because they now have a soy-free shirataki combination called Pasta Zero. It is made with a little potato starch and chickpea flour and it has 1 net gram of carbs, 20 calories, and 3 grams of fiber per serving. It comes as fettuccine and spaghetti.

The only store near me that sells Nasoya is Safeway, where it can be found in the cooler with the tofu and the other vegan-friendly stuff. There is a store locator at:  http://www.nasoya.com/

All the recipes on the website are low-fat, but they are easy to convert. I'll put a couple of my revised versions of them below. It's still not exactly like pasta, but it tastes pretty good for a "freebie" food!

Shirataki Fettuccine Alfredo
Makes 3 servings


1 pkg Nasoya® Pasta Zero Shirataki Fettuccine
4 oz full-fat cream cheese
¼ cup organic butter
¼ cup heavy cream or half and half
Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse and drain pasta in a colander. In a non-stick skillet, toss pasta over medium-high heat until dry, about 2 minutes and set aside in a bowl. In the same skillet add the remaining ingredients and heat on low until smooth and creamy. Add the pasta and cook on medium for two minutes. Enjoy!

Shirataki Noodles with Red Curry Broth
Makes 4 servings

1 pkg Nasoya® Pasta Zero Shirataki Spaghetti Noodles
3 tbsp red curry paste
15 leaves fresh Chinese basil or Italian basil, chopped
8 stalks scallions, chopped
1/2 cup shitake mushroom caps thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
8 fresh Thai chilies
4 tbsp hot sesame oil divided
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
Soy sauce to taste, gluten-free
Prepare noodles according to the package and set aside. Place whole chilies onto aluminum foil and coat with 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Close foil loosely and broil until soft, about 10 minutes.

In a pot, bring broth to a boil. Add tops of chopped scallion and 1 chopped garlic clove to broth. Keep at a simmer. Heat 3 tablespoons sesame oil in wok or large, cast-iron sauté pan to medium-high heat. Remove stems of chilies and place into pan with garlic, curry and then scallions, basil and mushrooms. Sauté for 8 to 10 minutes.

Add noodles and sauté for 3 more minutes, adding soy sauce to taste. Place contents of wok into four bowls. Ladle 2 scoops of broth into each bowl. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve.

Note from Judy: I rinse the noodles well, heat them to a boil, rinse again, and then drain to get rid of the "fishy" taste before using them in recipes. I cut them into manageable lengths with kitchen shears.  

(C) 2013, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com


8 comments:

Jennifer said...

Hahaha!! The you tube is hilarious as are your comments re pasta substitutes!

Best Shirataki Noodles said...

Nice Blog..

Laurie-Avalanche Rosen said...

Personally I love spaghetti squash. Has so much more flavour than pasta. I'll try and look for the Nasoya but it might be hard to track down here in Ontario, Canada. The Portlandia clip is hilarious eh?! I love it when he says about the "raw bolognese" sarcastically "Yum! Is this from Italy?!" lol!

Maggie said...

I like the Pasta Zero noodles as well, but all shirataki noodles, including the Miracle Noodles that are pure konjac and nothing else, can be rendered a LOT tastier (and with little to none of that yucky "bouncy" texture) by following these steps:

1. Rinse incredibly well. I typically prep four packages at a time, put them in a strainer, and pour over a whopping 10 gallons of water, swishing the noodles with my left hand as I pour. Yup, 10 gallons. It doesn't actually take very long, and it gets ride of all the nasty fishy smell.

2. Put the noodles in a smallish saucepan, and cover with a tasty liquid. I usually use chicken broth (the stuff in a carton; I now buy it by the case), but other broths would work, and I'm betting almond milk and coconut milk would work, too. Water would probably work as well, but shirataki suck up flavor like nobody's business, and it seems a shame to lose the opportunity. Bring the liquid to the simmer, and then turn the heat to its lowest possible setting. Let the pot simmer, uncovered, until the liquid is almost entire absorbed; expect this to take anywhere from 1.5 to 3-4 hours. You can poke at the noodles when you remember, but really, they don't need anything from you.

3. Take them off the heat when all but about 1/4 cup of the liquid has been absorbed (don't worry if you go too far and the noodles "catch" a little on the pan; a slight scorched taste is actually very nice). Put them in a bowl with the remaining liquid (add a little, if it has all been absorbed; you want a moist environment here), cover, and stick in the fridge overnight. In fact, you can eat them immediately, but trust me, they will be much more delicious after a rest overnight.

I use these in lots of Asian dishes. If I'm hungry and want to keep a strict lid on carbs and calories, I will often nuke up a bowlful and drizzle on a little soy sauce (you could use a good fish sauce instead), with perhaps 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil, and half a minced scallion. I also use them as a bed for stir-fries and curries, and I particularly love using the Pasta Plus (cut into 1/2-inch pieces) to make fake fried rice.

FWIW (and apologies for going on so long), I use the Miracle Rice, along with konjac powder, unsweetened almond milk, and sugar substitute to make a really tasty tapioca-style pudding. (Fry the Rice, rather than simmering it, in a nonstick pan over incredibly low heat until all the liquid has evaporated and it "squeaks" a little as you stir -- this will take a few hours.) Without sweetener, a use the same process to make something quite close to congee, which is what a lot of Asians eat for breakfast; it's essentially rice gruel with tasty stuff on top. I use, jeez, anything from leftover curry or stir-fry to chili; just like real rice, it makes a nice, bland foil for strong flavors.

I LOVE shirataki.

Judy Barnes Baker said...

Thanks to all of you for the comments!

Maggie, that's an amazing amount of info! I also heard from someone that cooking the regular shirataki in a slow cooker inproved the texture. Lots of things to try!

sheils said...

Hi, Your Shirataki Fettuccini Alfredo recipe looks delicious. I will try it with my favorite Miracle Noodle fettuccini or angel hair. Miracle Noodles do NOT contain any soy, or calories or carbs..lots of great varied shapes and easy to find. Many Whole Foods carry them or online at www.miralenoodle.com. they have a great Facebook page too with lots of recipes. Bon apetit!!

Judy Barnes Baker said...

Sheils: My apologies. I didn't realize "Miracle Noodles" was a brand name. I changed the title of my post so as not to mislead.

I haven't actually tried the Miracle brand. I will look for them, especially since I have gotten so many suggestions about how to prepare shirataki. Thanks!

Best Shirataki Noodles said...

Shirataki noodles are different from common types of foods in a western diet, and sudden changes in diet patterns or sensitivity to ingredients in the noodles.

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