Exotic shirataki noodles in our stores appeared recently, although this product has been known in the East, as some researchers believe, for almost two thousand years. This noodle is not much like its European cousin, but (forgive the fans of Italian spaghetti) this is all its charm and useful properties.
What is shirataki
Shirataki, or Japanese noodles, is a popular oriental product. It is a long and thin translucent white noodle, without taste and pronounced smell. Unlike traditional noodles, Japanese is not made from wheat flour, but from the root of the plant amorphophallus cognac, also known as cognac.
Konnyaku is a thermophilic culture, distributed mainly in Japan, China and in Southeast Asia. Usually grows in the mountains. Due to its unusual appearance, this plant received other popular names. The local population calls amorphophallus cognac the devil's tongue or snake palm. The root of this plant, which is actually used for shirataki, resembles a large beet in its shape (it can grow up to 4 kg). It can be consumed both raw and processed. Usually, young tubers are dried and ground into flour, from which shirataki is then prepared. The roots of a snake palm are almost entirely composed of poorly digestible fibers. For this reason, Japanese noodles have gained incredible popularity among people who follow their figure.
Nutritional value and chemical composition
In Asia, shirataki is one of the national dishes and its popularity is almost not inferior to rice. If someone tried to choose a different name for Japanese noodles that is more familiar to the European ear, then it would probably not be better to find a literal translation of the original name. "White Waterfall" - this is how the Japanese word "shirataki" is translated. The product really looks like the falling waves of a waterfall. White, translucent thin pasta, almost tasteless, but have a characteristic smell. This is due to the fact that the shirataki has only two components: the root of the horse and water. Some manufacturers still add salt. The resulting mixture is boiled, and then poured into forms for noodles or rice.
Shirataki contains a lot of water - almost 97% of the total composition, and only 3% of fiber.
This is the lowest calorie noodle in the world. Only water seems to have fewer calories. In 100 g of noodles, there is only 9 kcal. This is almost 12 times less than in a green apple, and it, we dare to recall, is considered very low-calorie. But in fairness, it must be said that in Japanese noodles there are not only calories. It also has no vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins (well, unless you add them in the cooking process), but there is a huge amount of fiber and a little carbohydrates. But do not be scared. Shirataki contains only 2.3 g of carbohydrates per 100 g of product, which will not affect the figure at all.
Separately, it should be said about the features of fiber obtained from a snake palm. It is an insoluble substance, which, getting into the intestine, swells, creating a feeling of fullness of the stomach. But besides this, as long as the fiber of the cognac remains in the human body, it absorbs toxins, excess cholesterol and glucose, and then is completely eliminated.
The benefits of shirataki
On the Internet, one can often read that shirataki is a very useful product. They say that he:
- lowers cholesterol in the body;
- improves digestion;
- reduces the concentration of sugar in the bloodstream;
- affects intestinal motility.
Is this really the case or is it just a gimmick for advertisers? To understand how Japanese noodles are useful, first you need to take a closer look at it. Besides a special type of fiber, there is nothing more in shirataki. But it is fiber that provides the main advantages of this product. Although the average portion of Japanese noodles contains no more than 3 g of fiber, this is enough for the body to feel its advantages.
Dietary fiber derived from horseradish tubers helps to lower cholesterol and blood sugar. This means that Japanese noodles are not only allowed, but also beneficial for people with diabetes and certain cardiovascular diseases. Fiber-rich noodles from snake palm tubers are an excellent way to improve bowel motility. For this reason, shirataki is useful for people with constipation, hemorrhoids or diverticulitis. Speaking of the intestines. Researchers have proven that this product of Japanese cuisine, or rather fiber in its composition, has the properties of a prebiotic. In other words, it contributes to the formation of proper microflora in the intestine and prevents dysbiosis.
Do not forget that Japanese noodles do not contain wheat flour, which means that it does not have gluten (gluten), which in some people can cause allergies. Thus, shirataki can be a real salvation for people with celiac disease.
How to lose weight with noodles
If we are talking about ordinary noodles, then nothing. But if the traditional product is replaced with super-diet Japanese noodles, then it is very possible. Some on a noodle diet won't even have to radically rethink their diet. In order to start the process of weight loss, it is enough to replace ordinary pasta or potatoes with shirataki.
The most famous weight loss program in which shirataki is held in high esteem is the Ducan diet. To people who observe it, shirataki can be consumed in unlimited quantities. By the way, in Japan more than 200 tons of these "pasta" are eaten annually and, it should be recalled, overweight people in this country are not often seen.
As already mentioned, Japanese noodles contain almost no calories, carbohydrates, fats, sugar, protein or gluten. And those carbohydrates that are in the product are digested very slowly in the small intestine. But the most important thing for losing weight is that shirataki includes a special type of fiber, known as glucomannan. When this substance combines with water, it swells very much, increasing almost 17 times from the original volume. In the human body, everything happens in about the same way and after eating Japanese noodles, a gel-like mass forms in the stomach, which maintains saturation for a very long time. In addition, dietary fiber slows down the production of ghrelin in the body, also known as the hormone of hunger. And comparing these data, it becomes clear: on Japanese "pasta" you really can very effectively lose weight.
The harm and side effects of Japanese noodles
For some people, overuse of Japanese noodles can cause diarrhea or bloating. However, shirataki is considered safe for use in almost any serving. But as is the case with any kind of fiber, glucomannan must be introduced into your diet gradually, starting with small portions.
Shirataki should not be overly carried away by people with insufficient weight, with intense physical exertion or after serious illness. In these cases, Japanese noodles are not able to give the body those nutrients that it needs most. Therefore, it is better to replace shirataki with other products with a richer chemical composition.
People taking medications need to know that glucomannan worsens the body’s absorption of certain medications, including drugs for diabetics. For this reason, all drugs are best taken one hour before consuming shirataki or 4 hours after.
How to cook and serve
Many may not like the specific smell of shirataki. You can get rid of the characteristic aroma if you fill in the noodles for a while with cold water or at least rinse it. But this is not the only way to "purify." You can get rid of the smell if you boil the product for 2-3 minutes in salted water. By the way, after this, the noodles will become a little softer and more elastic. You can give the product elasticity in another way: fry the washed noodles for several minutes in a frying pan preheated without fat.
Many stores sell not only dry shirataki. Often you can see noodles in a marinade. To prepare such a product, the marinade should be drained, rinse the noodles under running water and then boil or boil in boiling water.
Shirataki itself is almost tasteless, but this is its beauty. This product easily absorbs the smell of spices and other components of the dish. Due to its neutral taste, Japanese noodles are combined with different products. It can serve as the basis for soups and main dishes, as part of cold appetizers and various salads.
A typical Japanese-style vegetarian lunch is a shirataki plate with seafood tofu and vegetables. Many add horse noodles to miso soup or garnish with beef, fish, or chicken. Shirataki goes well with vegetables, especially with broccoli or cauliflower. But it would be wrong to say that shirataki can be the basis of exclusively oriental recipes. Many use this non-nutritive noodle as a dietary substitute for Italian spaghetti. Some gourmets prefer to cook shirataki with cream or sour cream, adding a little bell pepper, carrots, herbs and spices to the noodles. To improve the taste of the product, you can always add garlic, ginger, soy sauce, paprika, curry, olive or sesame oil, sesame to it.
It is good to add oregano or coriander to Japanese noodle dishes.
But so that the shirataki dishes do not harm, you must remember the rules for storing Japanese noodles. The product in sealed containers can be stored at room temperature for several months. The contents of the open package should be eaten immediately, and kept in the refrigerator for no longer than 1-2 days.
Shirataki with cheese
You will need:
- 1 pack of shirataki;
- olive oil (to lubricate the form);
- 100 g cheddar cheese;
- 1 tablespoon butter;
- 0.5 teaspoon of sea salt.
Heat the oven to 175 degrees. In the meantime, rinse the noodles under running water (at least 2 minutes), then fry in a dry frying pan for 5-10 minutes (stir constantly). Lubricate portioned baking pots with olive oil. At the bottom of the mold put a piece of butter and put the noodles mixed with salt and cheese (you can add your favorite spices). Bake for 20 minutes.
Shirataki is a good alternative to traditional noodles. This unusual dish will not only bring oriental exoticism to your traditional diet, but at the same time protect it from being overweight, high cholesterol, intestinal disorders and diabetes. And although this product contains almost no nutrients, Japanese noodles can still benefit the body.