I wish I was one of those people whose favourite food is kale, but no matter how much I learn about nutrition I struggle to pass up on a piece of deep-fried chicken.
Pasta is another favourite, especially when it’s smothered in a gooey carbonara sauce. Since wheat sits uneasily in both my stomach and my saddlebags, it’s mostly an unrequited love affair, but I’ve recently discovered a different kind of pasta that has been a game changer – so far only in my tummy, but I have high hopes for my booty.
It’s made from konjac, a root vegetable that the Japanese have been cooking up for centuries. Konjac is hard to come by in Australia, and while you can hunt down konjac noodles in Asian grocery shops, there’s a brand called Slendier that is available in the health food section of both Woolies and Coles.
Slendier offers konjac fettuccini, lasagna sheets and rice among others, packaged up in 400g (250g drained) satchels that serve two people with a grand total of about 25 calories. You simply drain off the liquid, soak in hot water for a minute, and your noodles or rice are ready spaghetti. Sounds too good to be true, right?
The catch is that konjac pasta is not the same as noodles as we know them. The texture is slightly bursty, a tad jelly-like and slipperier than wheat pasta. I enjoy the pasta varieties but I find the rice is kind of like eating pomegranate seeds without the sweetness – the taste is bland, similar to normal pasta.
I love a good back story, and when I got in contact with Slendier via the website I was pleasantly surprised to find co-founder Ray on the other end of my email enquiry. Ray’s wife Mai is of Japanese heritage, and she implemented konjac in their diet with amazing results.
Slendier’s konjac is imported from China for the simple reason that it is very hard to come by in Australia:
“Konjac is actually very hard to grow,” Ray explained. “It takes three years before we can harvest it and has to grow in a certain climate and at least 500 metres above sea level. We initially imported the konjac from Japan but then the tsunami struck and it was prohibited to import food from Japan due to contamination concerns. We found a very good alternative in China with one of the biggest and oldest konjac suppliers in the world.”
Tips from the OG
Ray’s own success with the pasta alternative is showcased on the Slendier website, and he has some tips for anyone trying konjac noodles for the first time: “Make sure you rinse the noodles or rice well under the tap, or leave it in a bowl of water overnight and the faint smell will be gone.
“Prepare your meals as you normally would, according to your preferences – that is how you will appreciate the pasta the best. The veggies, meat and sauce won’t make you fat. It’s the carbs that do the most damage.”
Why I love it
There are three main reasons I keep buying these squeaky noodles:
- It’s clean. Ray assured me that there are no hidden nasties – they basically take the konjac root, pulverize it into flour and wham bam thank you m’am, pasta for dinner
- It makes my tummy happy. Sure, my taste buds would prefer the real deal, but my body is smarter
- Such a low calorie count means I can nosh until I am fully satisfied with out feeling eaters remorse! #foodgoals
Check out slendier!