Konjac Noodles: Zero Guilt For A Healthier You | CoolJapan

shirataki konjac noodles

In the Japanese language, Shirataki means 'white waterfall', which refers to the appearance of the noodles. (Photo from: Susan Slater/CC BY-SA 4.0)

The obsession with weight loss and Keto diets have seen Konjac noodles rise to fame in recent years. What is it? Remember that healthy Konnyaku Jelly fad about a decade ago? Konjac noodles are made from the same ingredient and boast the same health claims.

But this zero-calorie and high-fibre noodle is not a recent invention. Also known as Shirataki noodles, they have existed in Japan since the sixth century! Way back before they were lauded as a miracle low-carb substitute, konjac was used for medicinal purposes to relieve intestinal and digestive ailments.

Is Konjac Really Good For Your Health?

Chewy and jelly-like, these whitish translucent noodles have made quite a name for themselves, especially within the ketogenic diet market.

Konjac plant

Konjac plants and konjac. (Photo from: HiC)

Shirataki noodles are naturally made from the edible corm of the Konjac plant, a type of yam that is native to China and East Asia. It contains very low calories, zero fat, no sugar, no carbohydrates and is even gluten-free. Sounds amazing? That is not all.

Konjac is also amazingly rich in glucomannan, a dietary fibre that is not easily digested by the body. Besides being used to improve bowel movement and control diabetes, it also promotes the feeling of fullness so that you can regulate your diet. I mean, it is gonna be hard to find other foods that can beat this nutritional score.

The only downside? Konjac noodles are tasteless and contain few other nutrients. The trick here is to pair it with nutritious ingredients and use it as a sponge to soak up flavours. If you are keen to include Konjac into your pantry essentials, here are some simple recipes that will delight your tastebuds!

Eat It The Japanese Way

Before it was lauded as a weight-loss food by the Western world, the Japanese have long been using Shirataki noodles in their everyday meals. There was even a recipe book, Konnyaku Hyakuchin, that was dedicated to Konjac and published in 1847.

Unlike how it is being marketed as a low-carb meal substitute in recent times, Shirataki is usually not served as the main dish in Japan. Instead, it is regarded as a complementary ingredient that adds fibre to the meal.

Sukiyaki with Konjac Noodles

Shirataki noodles is a good ingredient for Sukiyaki because it absorbs the sweet and salty broth well. (Photo from: WordRidden)

One of the most common ways to enjoy this springy Shirataki noodle is in hot pot. The Japanese people like to add it into Sukiyaki or Nabemono dishes because the noodles soak up the broth’s rich flavours. Try this homemade Japanese Sukiyaki recipe for a delicious pot of meat and seasonal vegetables simmering in a sweet soy-based sauce.

Another traditional dish that uses Shirataki noodles is Nikujaga, a Japanese-style beef stew that is well-loved among Japanese mothers. Besides soaking up all that flavourful sauce, the Konjac noodles lend a delightful crunchy texture to the hearty meat and potato stew. You can whip up a wholesome stew that your whole family will enjoy with this easy Nikujaga – Japanese Beef and Potatoes recipe.

Modern Recipes That Will Please All Foodies

Since it already exists in a noodle form, the easiest way to cook it would be as a replacement for carb-laden noodles such as ramen and pasta. Using Konjac noodles result in the same wonderful flavours that you love in your favourite dish, minus the guilt!

Noodle lovers can easily fry up an aromatic plate of healthier Yakisoba, one of Japan’s most popular street foods, with this quick 15-minute Shirataki Yakisoba recipe. If you are on a weight-loss diet plan but have serious pasta cravings, try this scrumptious Shirataki Noodles with Butter and Parmesan recipe.

For more adventurous eaters, you have to give this Thai-inspired Coconut Basil Chicken Shirataki Noodle Bowl recipe a go. It is a great example of how you can creatively experiment with the primary carb source and replace it with a healthier option.

Although it contains virtually zero calories, don’t stuff yourself silly with Konjac noodles. An excessive amount of Konjac may cause bloating and abdominal discomfort. For a smooth slide down the weighing scale, do it the correct way by combining it with nutritious ingredients for a balanced diet!