Monday, April 26, 2010

Share the Shirataki


The other night I came home late and needed to make a quick dinner for myself. I scanned the fridge and my eyes lit on a new gluten free item I had purchased called House Foods brand Tofu Shirataki Spaghetti Shaped Noodle Substitute (8 oz./$ 1.99). The word "Tofu" on the package may send others running towards the packaged cereal aisle, but since I visit the tofu case weekly, I was eager to try this product. What did worry me was the phrase "noodle substitute". The item looked like a noodle. I hoped it would taste like a noodle. Why couldn't it be called a legitimate "noodle"?

I grabbed the package and set to making my now famous spicy peanut noodles. Before Rosie was diagnosed with a peanut allergy I would make this dish almost weekly. Since then, never for the family, rarely just for me.

The "noodle" preparation instructions are fairly easy. You must first rinse the product well to get rid of its "authentic" aroma. I read that this is really a fishy aroma. I rinsed the ersatz noodles very well in a colander to avoid any unpleasantness. Then one can either microwave the product for 1 minute or parboil for 2. I chose the microwave (I was really hungry). As it cooked, I whisked together the dressing, and then dumped in the noodles when they finished cooking.

The noodles do have the appearance of Ramen-style noodles, and I thought they would work well in an Asian style dish like a noodle bowl or Pad Thai. Upon my first bite, I was struck by the texture. It was quite what I imagine rubber bands would taste like if eaten. However, I got past that and concentrated on the flavor. Like tofu, the flavor of the noodles are neutral---I did not taste any fishiness once cooked. They were the perfect foil for the peanut sauce.

Although I feel the price is high for the portion size, I do think the convenience and nutrition outweighs the price. As well, the Shirataki noodles are no more expensive than your average gluten free package of noodles. As far as nutrition goes, there are only 40 calories for the whole package, 1 gram fat, 4 grams fiber and 6 grams carbohydrates. That's pretty good in my book! I would like to see larger packages that are more appropriate for family sized dishes.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my noodle dish made with the Shirataki noodles, and especially enjoyed the ease and quickness of prep. I decided that Shirataki noodles could be the Ramen of the gluten free world!

This recipe won me a finalist position in a Crisco sponsored cooking contest. I didn't win, but the recipe is a "winner" according to family and friends. You may also substitute 1-12 or 16- ounce package gluten free brown rice spaghetti for the Shirataki noodles.

Spicy Peanut Noodles

2 - 8 ounce packages Shirataki noodles
1/3 cup peanut oil
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup gluten free soy sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
2 scallions, chopped

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, place in a large bowl and set aside.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together next 7 ingredients. Pour sauce over noodles and toss well to coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions.

May be served warm, or cold. Toss before serving.

Yield: 4 servings

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this family favorite.. I'm making it again for Shabbat at my husband's request!