Menu Hack: Miracle Noodles

Miracle Noodles with salmonThere are few things that I love absolutely unconditionally.

My children. My husband. Noodles.

(Probably in that order.)

I like discovering healthier versions of pasta, from whole wheat penne to spaghetti squash, in the hopes that it leads to more noodle-like substances entering my mouth in a given time frame. Each has its own merits and its own shortcomings, but in the end they all have a place in my diet from time to time.

When I first heard of Miracle Noodles (also called “shiritaki noodles” and “konjac noodles”) on a low-carbers message board, I was skeptical but read on. There were literally hundreds of comments popping up wherever the term “Miracle Noodles” appeared in search terms. People always felt really strongly about them; they were either the greatest invention ever, or the nastiest food item ever conceived.

Naturally, given my noodle obsession and all, I had to find out for myself.

Miracle (shiritaki) noodles are made out of konjac root, which is the sole ingredient in Lipozene*.

Unable to buy them at our local grocery store, I took the plunge and ordered a six-pack of them from Amazon since I get free shipping with my account. It seemed like a reasonable risk to take, but I was prepared to be disappointed.

In the end, they were slightly different than I was expecting, but I wasn’t disappointed at all. Having practically zero calories and being made from pretty much only fiber and water, they were obviously going to be different than a big bowl of old-fashioned Creamette vermicelli. The only thing that really concerned me at all about the reviews was the complaint of a “fishy smell” when you first open the bag.

Well, I’ll vouch for the fact that right out of the bag they do have a somewhat fishy smell (it comes from the solution they’re packed in to keep them fresh), but the instructions even tell you to rinse them off in a strainer before flash-boiling them, and you know what? It gets rid of the smell in under 30 seconds. (I do recommend using cold water through your sink’s sprayer nozzle if you can.) Additionally, they will immediately take on any flavor you add to them. I like to use a chicken bouillon cube and some dried chives to achieve a flavor not unlike Ramen noodles, which the healthier version of me sorely misses from days gone by.

I’m also glad that I read so many reviewers’ advice to “dry fry” the noodles after boiling them for 1-2 minutes. It really does help their texture to dry them out a little bit after boiling.  (Basically, you heat a skillet with as little oil spray as possible and then add the noodles and keep moving them around for several minutes or until you want to serve them. I found salad tongs to be most effective for this part.)

I also discovered on my own that if you take kitchen shears to them and cut them into smaller bits during the dry-frying, they are much easier to eat. I found one noodle that was over three feet long in my first bag. Haha. My kids didn’t believe it wasn’t a piece of string even when I ate it in front of them! (On a less funny note, my kids now think Mom condones eating long pieces of string as a result. Meh…whaddya going to do?)

Although they go equally well paired with asian dishes or dressed in italian marinara, I’ve actually found that my favorite meal to substitute them into is baked fish. I really like making them to go alongside marinated salmon, and feel like the textures really complement each other. Also, Miracle Noodles and baked salmon both reheat in the microwave beautifully, so I always make some extra of both to take to work with me the next day for a nicer-than-usual lunchbox.

So if you haven’t tried them, I really think you should. You will either love them or hate them, but it seems like a 50/50 split among dieters’ opinions, so if you stand to gain finding a new go-to replacement for pasta (that you can literally gorge yourself on without guilt if you want to), isn’t it worth at least trying?

And if you have already tried them, leave a comment below to tell us what you thought of them. Did you like them? Dislike them? Find a creative way to cook with them in a recipe? Please share!

*Sidenote: Lipozene is a pill marketed as a “diet miracle” with lots of lame marketing ploys like “over 70% pure body fat” — is it pure or was it only 70%? — that’s actually just insoluble fiber that you take with lots of water to combine into a gel that fills your stomach right before mealtime, making you feel fuller faster when you start eating. After a little while, the gel dissipates back into liquid and moves through your system — and presumably by then the smaller amount of food that you did eat on top of it has been absorbed by your body, thus keeping you feel sated. In full disclosure, I have two very important things to say about Lipozene:

1.) NEVER buy it online; if you Google it you’ll see how the online sellers basically steal your credit card information and charge you forever. Instead if you’re going to buy it, ignore the TV/online ads that say it is only available through their exclusive offer — it has been available at every supermarket and WalMart in America for years now, two bottles for 19.99, and if you’re not attached to the name itself, just go on Amazon and find konjac root pills for like four dollars and get those instead from a reputable seller.

2.) For me, surprisingly, Lipozene actually does work better than any other diet pill I’ve tried, and it’s just fiber so it’s not even really a diet drug, and therefore also doesn’t give you the shakes or an increased heartbeat or anything else. That said, it’s not going to boost your metabolism or anything like other actual “diet drugs;” it’s basically just a temporary appetite suppressant coupled with a bonus of additional fiber in your system. Take that for what you may. I occasionally use it in conjunction with diet and exercise if I feel like I’ve been overeating for too many days in a row and i need my general meal-to-meal appetite to decrease again. (Think post-holiday-gatherings.)

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