Cooking with Shirataki “Miracle Rice”

by Jimmy Akin

in Diet, Food and Drink

I love rice. But it's high in carbs, so naturally I've wanted a low-carb substitute for it.

I've tried a number of things. For example, grading and cooking cauliflower. Texture-wise, that's not a bad substitute, but it tastes like cauliflower and not rice. Even when fried with oils and spices that you would use making fried rice, it still has that cauliflower taste in there somewhere.

I've thought for a long time that low carb pasta makers ought to make low carb orzo, which could be used as a rice substitute, but thus far I haven't found that–at least with Western-style low carb pasta.

I have found basically that with Eastern-style low-carb pasta.

Recently I tried a rice substitute made from shirataki, which is the root of a plant in Asia. It's the same material as shirataki noodles, just in a different shape.

I ordered a box of "Miracle Rice" from Amazon, and here's what an individual package looks like (click to embiggen):


As soon as I got the stuff, I realized I've seen it repeatedly in Asian markets. It's just that since the label wasn't in English I wasn't sure that what I was looking at was shirataki or that it was meant as a rice substitute. 

Here's what it looks like out of the package:


In this picture I was rinsing it (something you're supposed to do with a lot of even regular rice), prior to blanching it, which is all the cooking this type needs. It's already soft, but the blanching removes shirataki aroma and makes it smell and taste neutral. Same as with shirataki noodles.

And here it is all blanched:


Next I made a stir-fry with beef and vegetables so as to make beef fried rice. Here's the stir-fry in progress. As it was cooking, I thought, "This looks and smells so good, all I need to do is add my final spices and soy sauce and I'd have a great stir fry even without the rice. Mmmmm!"


And here's the final product: low carb beef fried rice made with shirataki rice:


So how was it?

It was quite good!

It was certainly the best low carb rice substitute I've had thus far–and by far.

The mouth feel is quite similar to that of regular rice. It's not unduly rubbery or anything. You can bite through an individual grain of this the way you can an individual grain of regular rice. The neutral taste does not stand out against the flavors and seasonings added to it, again like regular rice.

One point of difference is that this stuff is not as sticky as regular Asian rice, and so it is not easy to eat with chopsticks (assuming you're used to eating rice with chopsticks). However, I have an idea about how to fix that (more on that in the future).

I'm interested to try it in other rice applications soon, such as risotto, in a casserole, etc. Or in place of barley in soup (Mmmm. Vegetable beef soup. A childhood favorite.)

I'll let you know how it goes!

In the meantime . . . 


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Sentient October 16, 2011 at 4:24 pm

For goodness’ sake, Jimmy, the whole focus on carbs is misplaced. Eliminating carbs can be helpful because it levels out spikes in blood sugar and therefore eliminates hunger pangs, which helps one consume fewer calories. Ultimately, though, weight control comes down to calories consumed vs calories expended. Period. Sure, avoiding carbs can be a useful assist to consuming fewer calories, but focusing overly much on the type of food tends to distract from the problem of just flat-out eating too many calories.
You did hear about the guy who lost 21 pounds in 2 months on an all-potato diet, right?

Catholic Bibliophagist October 17, 2011 at 4:45 am

Eating only one food for two months would make anyone loose weight!
Though I am not convinced that restricting carbs is always a good idea for the average person, some people do need to — for instance, people who currently consume way too many carbs.
People who are diabetic can also benefit from restricting carbs. (Though I do not advocate cutting them out entirely.)
–C.B., a Type 2 diabetic

LeeAnn Balbirona October 20, 2011 at 7:07 am

Thanks, I appreciate this information! I am very sensitive to high carb foods and also have celiac, so this new gluten-free product is good news to me. I highly recommend Erin’s Bearing Blog posts on weight-loss, gluttony and Catholic spirituality, found here:
She has some good posts about low-carb and calorie restriction. Thanks again!

Simon November 5, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Sentient – The Calories of shirataki noodles (and rice) is also negligible. A decent sized serving is less than 10 calories! I’m addicted, I am fighting to get over the ‘downstairs’ problems of eating shirataki noodles though…

chonteleña April 10, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Nice and all, but nowhere does it say anything about how many carbs it is.  Guess I’ll have to look the product up on the net. 

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