Thanks to a suggestion from my fellow writer Sam here at So Good I went off on a mission to find Tofu Shirataki.

The lament of many a soul who has gone on a low carb diet, gluten free diet, or is very calorie conscious, is the loss of pasta. As a result, a myriad of low carb or diet pasta options have been brought to market. At 20 calories per serving, or 40 for the whole darn bag this product looks like a miracle, if it’s good. However the surreptitious mentions of a possibly fishy odor is enough to scare some people off.  So lets get to it shall we.

The recipes that people tend to make with this stuff are very low calorie, which isn’t very appealing to me, so I decided to go for Fettuccine Carbonara with mushrooms. Of course I had to try it plain as well.

The mere fact that they are packed in liquid and sold in the refrigerator case is kind of off putting to begin with. Squishing them around in the bag like it was a mad ball full of bugs was perhaps not the best choice

The package had some very clear and simple instructions. Open the bag, pour the noodles into a colander to drain and rinse very thoroughly to reduce the “Authentic Aroma” dry the noodles well, then parboil for 2-3 minutes before serving. I don’t know what the “Authentic Aroma” is supposed to be but it smells as if the Flying Spaghetti  Monster Himself vomited up his fish dinner.

Mind you, I had some fair warning on the smell so I stuffed my nose in and took a big whiff straight from the bag for your amusement. I should have recorded a video. What a mistake. The smell is nasty, no two ways about it. But how about the taste? Since this is essentially a vegetable product it is safe to eat right out of the package, and I did. Amazingly the flavor, or lack thereof, of the raw product is really not bad. It didn’t taste like much of anything and most importantly it did not taste like it smelled.

The texture was very odd as well, it had a bite to it like squid sushi. It was soft but seemed like it was more dense than it should be. Your teeth almost snap through it. Hopefully cooking it would fix that.

I let it drain while I browned up the bacon and made the sauce. When the sauce was close to done I blanched the noodles for 2 minutes, drained again and took another taste. Again the smell was completely gone which was a very good thing. No real taste to speak of, though they did have an almost wheat like aftertaste. The texture did not really improve though.

I tossed it into the pan with the bacon and mushrooms, added the rest of the ingredients and served it up for the family. The final result? Pretty good. It had no real flavor to speak of and the texture was masked in many ways by the similarity of the mushroom texture. The smell was nowhere to be found which was really its saving grace.

If you are desperate for pasta but can’t or won’t eat it for dietary reasons, I would give this product a try. Otherwise I would stick with the real thing, even if it is less often than you might like.

If you have any suggestions or ideas what I can try next I’m always open to new ideas.

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