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Holy Shi-rataki!

By: Briana Salim

It is guaranteed keto-friendly, naturally gluten-free, nearly zero calories, and 100% vegan. Believe it or not, I’m talking about noodles. These shirataki noodles, also popularly known as “miracle noodles”, is exactly what its name suggests -- a miracle.

I discovered miracle noodles during one of my daily calls with my mom, who lives in Jakarta, Indonesia. Among the many family updates and current news, she jokingly remarked, “Did you know that my friend’s husband lost so much weight from eating shirataki noodles and shirataki rice every night? Your dad might as well start doing that rather than exercising with a personal trainer haha!”. My response of “Huh? What’s shirataki?” completely shocked her. Her 20-year-old foodie of a daughter was not up to date with the latest food trends? Turning on her “cool & trendy” mom mode, she told me all she knew of what was once the biggest hype in Indonesia. Now, this conversation happened around this time last year. Surprisingly, it was not until a couple of months ago that I started seeing shirataki noodles on the shelves of my local grocery store here in Davis, CA.

If you are like me, you’re probably wondering, what are these “miracle noodles”? Based on Emma Rose’s article published by Bulletproof (a company focusing on products promoting wellness and nutrition), Shirataki noodles are made from Japanese konjac yam - ito konnyaku. These konnyaku noodles are nothing new to the Japanese, who have long benefited from these noodles. Consuming these noodles boosts digestion and satisfies cravings, without the usual spikes and crashes. The reason these noodles are able to do such miraculous things is because of the way it is made. Traditionally, shirataki noodles are made entirely from water and glucomannan - fiber from the konjac yam. The glucomannan fiber supports weight management by curbing hunger hormones and acts as a probiotic that maintains your good gut bacteria. Additionally, it improves cholesterol and blood sugar levels, thus promoting cardiovascular health.

Want to join in on the craze? I do! After reading all things shirataki, I bought myself a pack of shirataki noodles. As if things couldn’t get any better, these noodles maintained the “quick meal” aspect we all look for and love from instant noodles. All you need to do is drain the noodles, rinse them with cold water and boil them for 2-3 minutes. I put these noodles to the test by subbing out my usual egg noodles in a pork noodle soup dish.

I pan-fried some ground pork with tamari, sesame oil, chili oil, sweet soy sauce, white pepper, ginger, and five-spice powder. Into a pot, I heated up some leftover pork bone broth and added in some mushrooms and bok choy. After preparing the noodles quickly, I assembled the three together and was pleasantly surprised by the final product. The noodles were bouncy and springy, and it soaked up a lot of the flavor from the broth. It was the perfect canvas. The best thing? I stayed full the entire night and didn’t go into a food coma like I usually do after a heavy bowl of noodles.

Still not sold? That’s okay! Here are some links and resources that can provide you with more information about shirataki. I definitely would recommend all of you to try it!

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