I used to think there were no miracle foods. I tried a new product that made me reconsider.
If you love or once loved pasta and you follow a wheat-free, gluten-free, egg-free, grain-free, legume-free, soy-free, low-carb, low-starch, low-cal, candida, diabetic, paleo, or celiac diet, or have elevated cholesterol, you’ll want to try the Miracle Noodle.
Please note that this noodle would not be appropriate for people who follow an the Specific Carbohydrate Diet because it is made from a starchy tuber that is excluded from that healing regimen. I previously listed the noodle as something followers of that way of eating could consume, but have since learned otherwise from people with more experience with the SCD approach.
What’s a Miracle Noodle?
The noodles are made from a Japanese plant called Konnyaku Imo, which roughly translates to mean elephant yam. They’re called yam noodles or shirataki noodles. (FYI: They bear no relation to what Americans call yams.) You may have seen tofu shirataki noodles in Asian markets. These noodles are similar but soy-free. They don’t require cooking…they are ready to eat!
Konnyaku, used widely in Japan, is also called Konjac root. It contains glucomannan, a healthy, naturally occurring water soluble fiber. Free of fat, sugar, and starch, the noodles contain zero net carbohydrates and zero calories. They’re also kosher. Research supports Konnyaku’s beneficial effects for people with Type II Diabetes, constipation, obesity, and elevated cholesterol.
Picture courtesy of Miracle Noodles (Strumba Media, LLC)
Miracle Noodles are made by Konjac Foods USA. They come in a variety of shapes, from angel hair and fettuccini to linguini, from rigatoni to ditalini (short cut pasta), and from orzo and mini pearls to lasagna. They easily absorb the flavors of any soup, salad dressing, or sauce, and you can serve them warm or chilled.
The Miracle Idea
Dr. Jonathan Carp, a confirmed Japanese food addict, discovered the noodles while visiting a friend in Japan. He liked them so much he started selling them over the Internet.
How do they work?
The soluble fiber in the noodles slows digestion and the release of carbohydrates into your bloodstream. This provides a feeling of fullness, prolongs the return of hunger, and supports more even blood sugar and energy levels. The soluble fiber in Miracle Noodles also binds with bile acids secreted by your gall bladder, allowing your body to excrete rather than recycle them to make more cholesterol. This accounts for the cholesterol lowering effect of the noodles.
My Noodles Arrived!
I’ll admit I was skeptical about the noodles. My order arrived without ice in individual pouches, packed in water, in a Priority mailer. The instructions said that the angel hair shirataki noodles have a shelf life of 1 month at room temp, 3 months in the refrigerator. The company’s other varieties noodles have a shelf life of 1 year at room temperature.
I’m used to eating more perishable food. Although I consider myself an adventurous eater, I thought they looked funny sitting in water. Pasta has not been a staple in for at least a decade. I’ve probably eaten it once or twice a year, if that. So, they sat in my refrigerator for several weeks before I ventured to try them.
Finally, I tried them. First the linguini, then the fettucini. First I tried them cold with a toasted sesame oil, ginger, tamari, and garlic sauce with a dash of maple syrup, and a garnish of minced green onions. Then I tried them with a sesame-tahini-white miso and garlic sauce. The next time I tried them warm slathered with a thick chicken-peanut-and vegetable stew.
I liked the chewy feel of the noodles against my teeth and the way they picked up the flavor of whatever I served or sauced them with. I think they’d be great with red sauce and meatballs or pesto and blanched broccoli. Now I’m curious to try their mini pearls, orzo, lasagna noodles, agar agar bars, and konjac root powder.
Now I'm curious to try their other noodle shapes: mini pearls, orzo, lasagna noodles, as well as their konjac root powder (used as a thickener) and agar agar bars (used to make a vegetarian version of Jell-O). I'll let you know what I think. Keep checking back for updates.
What's a serving?
Each package contained 1-1/3 cups of pasta. The company considers this 3 servings. For a couple of my tastings I figured 2 servings per package. A couple times I ate the entire package in one sitting with my meat and vegetable side dishes. I felt satisfied but not stuffed.
FYI: The Miracle Noodles require special handling detailed on the Miracle Noodle web site—including tips for dry roasting in a skillet for a minute so that the noodles will be completely dry and will better absorb the flavor of whatever you add to them.
For Nutrition information the angel hair shirataki noodles, click here
How you prepare the noodles?
1. Open the package over a colander (they’re packed in water). Don’t freak out if you detect a slightly fishy odor. That’s normal. It’s from the natural calcium additive they add to the water in the bag to keep the noodles’ shape intact.
2. Rinse with warm water for approximately 2 to 4 minutes. This eliminates the smell.
3. Pat dry with a paper towel or small hand towel or dry roast, which only takes a minute or two, to ensure that the noodles will absorb the flavor of what you add to them.
How to dry roast the noodles
The company recommends this procedure to thoroughly dry the noodles before adding a warm or chilled sauce or other flavored ingredients.
1. Heat a cast iron or non-stick skillet with a little olive oil or cooking spray over high heat.
2. Add the shirataki noodles and dry roast for about 1 minutes
3. When the noodles are dry you may hear a speaking noise as you move them.
4. Drizzle with a little oil or not, or add the stock or sauce you plan to use with a recipe.
For recipes using shirataki noodles see The Japanese Home Kitchen and Washoku: Recipes from The Japanese Home Kitchen
If you want to cook the Miracle Noodles
Add them to your sauce, stir fry or other dish at the end of your preparation process. Heat the noodles for no more than 3 to 5 minutes. The thicker shape shirataki noodles such as fettucini, rigatoni, lasagna, can withstand more heat than the angel hair, but you still want to watch them. Extended cooking can adversely effect the texture.
Let me know what you think if you try their products when you try them. If you try the Miracle Noodles, let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you.