Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tofu Shirataki Noodles to the Rescue

Every since I was diagnosed almost two years ago with Type 2 diabetes I've said goodbyes to a host of high-carb foods. At the top of the list? Pizza and pasta. I've never been a huge pizza fan, although I've had my moments. But pasta? That was devastating. I've found some good whole wheat pastas but they still tend to raise my blood sugar so I don't eat them often. It can be frustrating to crave something so basic and have the no be so resounding so when I stumbled across shirataki noodles I hoped I'd hit pay dirt.

Shirataki noodles--the original version--are made with yam flour and have negligible carbs. For those who are gluten free, they're perfect for you, too.

I headed over to Mitsuwa Marketplace, which is the largest of the Japanese supermarket chains in San Diego and found myself dizzy with possibilities. Not only are there several brands with several choices of shirataki noodles (which are wet and in the refrigerated section of the market, near kimchi and tofu), but there's a whole other choice you can make--tofu shirataki, made with tofu and water with a little yam flour. And these, made by a company called House Foods, are going the extra distance with varieties in shapes like spaghetti, angel hair, macaroni, and fettuccine. Crazy! They also have no cholesterol, 0.5 grams of fat per serving, are extremely low in sodium, and are all of 20 calories per serving.

Now are they truly like wheat noodles in terms of flavor and texture? No. Let's not make them into something they're not. But if, like me, you've been craving traditional pasta and simply can't have it this is not a bad substitute. You can add them to soup; mix them up with vegetables, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese; make mac and cheese; or, as I did with my package of macaroni, add them to turkey chile.

The noodles have a distinct odor to them, acknowledged in the package's preparation directions. But all you need to do is rinse them under water, put them in a bowl, and heat them in the microwave for--get this--a minute. The smell goes away and you have warm noodles with a bit of chew to them and a neutral flavor. Ready for pretty much anything for which you'd use regular pasta.

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