Monday, May 16, 2011

Shirataki Noodle-Mushroom Broth...and Kitty Cohabitation!

I swear I'm not a crazy noodle lady or anything like that, but here comes yet another post about noodles...I haven't posted in a while, but my last was about kelp noodles. This time, I branched out to try some shirataki noodles, and I can say unequivocally that I'm a fan.

I've seen people posting about them on various blogs for quite some time, and I bought a package that sat in my fridge for a couple of months...not sure why it took me so long to dive into them other than that through the package, they looked like they would be soft and mushy, which is not an appealing characteristic of noodles in my opinion. Looks can be deceiving though, because these cook up nice and firm.

They're made from the fiber of the Konjac plant, and like the kelp noodles, they're very low in carbs and calories. They smell bad when you take them out of the package, but once you rinse them and cook them the smell goes away.

I've made them a few times now. The first time I tried them in a stir fry with lots of veggies and a peanut-miso dressing...I wanted to post about that, but I accidentally deleted the photos. So, here's another dish I made with them; they're great in soup, just like ramen noodles.

This is a brothy, gingery, sweet and sour soup with Thai flavors. The measurements are approximate... I didn't measure everything precisely, but can serve as a guideline:

12-inches worth of lemon grass, with tough outer leaves removed and chopped into fine rounds
3 or 4 kaffir lime leaves ( I use dried ones)
4 or 5 good slices of fresh ginger
1 hot chili pepper sliced
About 1/2 - 3/4 of a pound of mushrooms: I used shitake and alba clamshell
~ 5 cups rich veggie broth or mushroom broth ( I used a combination of veggie broth and mushroom broth)
1 package of shirataki noodles
carrot and/or other veggies of choice, thinly chopped 
1/4 cup tamari
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar (if you don't use seasoned vinegar, you'll need to add some agave syrup or brown sugar to balance out the acidity)
1 generous teaspoon tamarind paste, or to taste
green onions
toasted sesame oil
fresh lime juice
daikon radish and sambal oelek to garnish

Put the lemon grass, ginger, chili, and lime leaves in a large sauce pan  and let them simmer in a little broth for about 5 minutes.

When the herbs are beginning to soften and become aromatic, add the shitake mushrooms and the rest of the broth and let it simmer gently for about 30 - 40 minutes.

The broth becomes flavorful from the mushrooms and the herbs. 

Next, add the tamari, seasoned vinegar and tamarind and stir through. 

Bring a small pot of water to the boil and par-cook the shirataki noodles for about 2 minutes. Drain the noodles and toss them into the simmering broth along with the clamshell mushrooms and some thinly sliced carrot and let it cook for another 4 - 6 minutes. 

Right before you serve it, stir in some cilantro (baby spinach would be good too) and the green onions. Drizzle a few drops of toasted sesame oil  over the top (not too much, or it will overpower the other flavors), and finally add a couple generous splashes of fresh lime juice. It's nice served with shredded daikon and some sambal oelek.

Now, on to some really exciting news: our kitties are beginning to like each other!  We adopted Lucky, the tabby cat, last September (I know that's a naff name, but it was his shelter name and it just stuck), and it has been a bumpy road in catville around here since then. Our longtime family member, Cheeky, didn't like the idea of having him around at all.  If Lucky came into a room where Cheeky was, she would leave and hiss at him every time she passed by.

We did everything to ensure that they each had their own space and places to sleep and eat...but it seemed like the best we could hope for is that they would ignore each other.  Well, over the weekend, I caught them napping together:

And more than once too...the sunroom is a favorite napping spot:

I'm delighted and hoping for the day when they actually snuggle together.  


  1. it sure looks good and it would be a great warm soup for these cold days we are having here in Ohio. I love it.

  2. That soup looks like something we would realllly like. Yum! I love Thai flavors- my absolute favorite cuisine.

    Lucky & Cheeky are adorable together. Crystal and Sophie have never gotten close, but they will hang out at the fireplace together. I think Crystal likes her little sister's company but just won't admit it. :)

  3. what an improvement! hopefully they WILL snugle soon, that would be so fun to see:)

    so you say these noodles firm up...and dont taste funny after you cook them, i will def give them another chance!!i love your broth, it sounds so good Rose.

    what is "naff" ?

  4. Awww, yay, I'm sure that does your heart good. I hope they start snuggling, too.

    I was going to say I'd never heard of shirataki noodles until I saw the package. I have eaten those several times but only with pasta sauce. Your dish looks really, really good. Those noodles are so amazingly low cal. We love you, Crazy Noodle Lady!

  5. Oh my gosh! I love the picture of them sleeping on the same chair - like bunk beds! My cat has had to move around with me a few times and has encountered a few other cats that she never seems to like but I guess if you give them enough time, cats settle into each other. So sweet!
    I've got to try those noodles - I've heard great things about them but your soup looks way better than anything I'd be able to make!

  6. I love noodles, especially in soups, great step by step and recipe here!

    And happy that the cats got to know each others :-)


  7. Hi Rose,
    The noodle soup looks so yummy. Thanks for sharing all your beautiful vegan food and stories.

  8. WoW! This looks simply scrumptious. Two of my favorite things combined ~ Asian cuisine and soup. Thank you for sharing this with us. I've been meaning to use some of that fresh lemon grass that I have growing outside my kitchen.

  9. That soup looks so delicious...I could go for a big bowl of that right now! I would love to try those noodles! I can just taste the soup now. :)

    Aww, I hope the kitties start getting along. I don't know which one is which, but the tiger stripped cat looks just like a cat I used to have. His name was Buckwheat. He was the coolest cat that I ever had. :o) I'm with FF...I love the "bunk bed" picture!

  10. Thanks Millie!

    Molly: I know what you mean...cats are funny that way; I think Cheeky secretly likes having Lucky around...sometimes at least.

    DirtyDuck: Kitties snuggling is so cute, I hope they go for it. Naff just means tacky or in bad taste. :)

    Jenny: I really like the noodles! The next thing I want to try them with is spaghetti sauce.

    Maud: It is totally like bunk beds! Cats are finicky about the company they keep, I guess. I went to a cat behaviour talk and they said that cats become anti-social with other cats because they are separated from their siblings at an early age a lot of the time. Cats who spend their first year living with other cats, get to know how to live together and actually prefer living with other least that's what the cat experts said. But, I think you're right, eventually even the unsocial ones settle in.

    Alessandra: I agree, noodles in soup are so satisfying and yummy!

    Grace: Thanks! By the way, I've been wanting to comment on your blog, but can't find the "comments" link...have you disabled comments?

    Chucky: Asian-style soups are some of my favorites too. I think you should go for it with that fresh lemon grass...I have a pot of it too, but it's looking a bit sickly at the moment.

    Michelle: I think you'd like the noodles. Buckwheat is such a great name...I love it!

  11. You might have just convinced me to try those noodles. I always see them in the store, but I've never tried them. This looks like a great recipe.

    Your kitties are so cute - you've got me trying to remember the shelter names of my three. I know one was Tammy, but I can't remember the other two. The shelters give out thousands of names, though. I'm glad they've decided to get along :)

  12. I've been thrown off by the mushy look of these noodles too, but now, I'll give them a try. I'm taking your word on this Rose, don't let me down girl!
    Awwww, da kitties!

  13. I had to keep checking that I wasn't on Zoa's blog!

    Really beautiful soup. I'm not a fan of Shiratakis but I have some Tofu Skin I need to use, this broth would be perfect. Thanks!

    Luck o' the Irish! Perfect name.

  14. Hi Rose and all,

    Thanks for stopping by Vegan Việt Nam. Yes we did disable the comments link :) Things got busy and we didn't want to leave friends' comments without a response or grateful acknowledgment.

    By the way, if possible, please help spread the word for the pro-veg, pro-health documentary "Fork Over Knives":

    We have translated the joint letter by Drs. Campbell and Esselstyn for Vietnamese readers here:

    Here's to a vegan world of peace in our lifetime.

  15. Yay for the co-operating kitties!! How sweet.
    I'm not a vegan and all the recipes I see seem so hard since I don't know what all the stuff is. However...your food images always look really delicious. I need to come to camp at your house and eat well and learn how to cook and shop for these things. Looks yummy!

  16. The soup picture looks almost good enough to eat! It sounds wonderful, too, and maybe I should give shirataki another try. I'm glad to see you're still blogging — perhaps someday soon I will be, too. :)

  17. That soup looks incredible. I can't believe it's still soup season (it was only 57 degrees here today!)...isn't it supposed to be May?

  18. Okay, I too have had a package of those noodles lingering in my fridge, but you've inspired me to pull the trigger! Thanks!

  19. The cats look like they are living the good life!
    I always see those noodles but always wonder how processed they are........will have to try them at some point. They are cheaper than the kelp noodles.

  20. Jessica: If you try the noodles, let us know how you like them. I think they're a nice change, and they're really cheap too.

    Jennifer: I hope they turn out well for them for just about 4 - 5 minutes seems to do the trick without them being mushy. :)

    Shen: I think it was on Zoa's blog where I first saw those noodles. :) I still haven't got my hands on fresh yuba, and I really want some, but I'm too lazy to go out of my way to the Asian grocery.

    Grace: Will do, thanks for the heads up on the film and the link! :)

    Susan: It's not hard, I'm sure you can do it. But, a backyard cooking campout sounds like fun too! :D

    Andrea: So, from what you say it sounds like you weren't impressed by the shirataki... I really like them, though I've only tried the skinny kind.

    Hope to see you blogging back soon! I know how it goes, sometimes there's just not enough time...or inspiration. :D

  21. Stephanie: 57 degrees! That's pretty much nice weather as far as we're concerned up north I guess it's soup season all year long. But, I think temps have been a bit cooler than normal this year...hope things warm up to what you're used to in CA soon! :)

    Stacy: I think these noodles have a tendency to try them, and let us know what you think.

    Get Skinny: Yeah, the processing aspect of these noodles is probably something to look into...and they are very inexpensive; they sell them at my local co-op for $1.13 a package.

  22. I just discovered your blog! It is creative and so inspiring. Also liked your recipes. Keep up the great work and positives vibes.

    Have a lovely week! =(^.^)=

  23. Rose -- the dish look mouthwatering. Your cats are adorable and will probably be best pals soon. Just a game of territory and who is boss when a new kid moves in. -- barbara

  24. Rhônya: Thanks! You have a lovely week too!

    Barbara: Thanks so much...I know you're right about the kitties...there's also an age difference there: Lucky is 3 and Cheeky is 8, so as Lucky gets a little older I think he'll mellow out and not bother Cheeky so much.

  25. I so want some of that soup right now...seriously!

    Your kitties are so cute!

  26. What a wonderful soup! I bet the flavors work beautifully together. I'll have to try that when the kiddos are at Gramma and Poppy's because the flavors would be too rich for my picky eaters, I think. As far at the kitties, yay, they're getting closer! My two are cranky old ladies who keep a sharp eye on each other. They can tolerate each other's presence, but don't expect friendship from them.

  27. yay! i just picked up some shirataki noodles!!

  28. Hi, Rose!

    What a fun post to read upon my long overdue return to your blog, and on a perfect day for soup, too, all cool and rainy (for about the 12th day in a row)! Nice of you to have a yummy bowl of it waiting for me, don't mind if I do. :-) We really need to invent those interactive blogs that let you reach in and sample the goodies!

    I AM a crazy noodle lady, but you find noodles I have no chance of finding around here and have never heard of but would love to try. So if you don't mind, I think I'll join you and Susan on that backyard cooking-class campout! ;-)

    I adore that last photo of Cheeky and Lucky (and I don't think Lucky is a naff name, it fits him perfectly given his good fortune in scoring a forever home with you!) I'm so glad the two of them have reached a peace accord, and hope they eventually become best chums.

  29. How sweet! That's really great that they're getting along. It's definitely not an easy process getting them to that point! How old is Cheeky?

    The soup looks wonderful! I haven't tried those noodles yet and have wondered similar things about mushiness.

  30. Dreaminitvegan: Thanks! :)

    BlessedMama: I know what you mean about the kiddos...I wonder what I would have thought of such a soup as a kid...

    Janna: Thanks for stopping by!

    Laurie: Oh that would be least in theory if we could digitize food for blogging purposes! I think I'm a crazy noodle lady too after all. The backyard cookout/campout is an inspired idea, maybe someday we an make it happen!

    Cassie: They do look mushy through the package don't they? That was my primary concern, but these ones stay nice and firm if you just cook them for 4 or 5 minutes. :)

  31. Those kitty pictures are so cute! I wish my cats would nap together more often, too.


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