Psst, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I am a total carb junkie. Most of my favourite meals tend to include a hunk of bread, a plate of fresh pasta, potatoes or a steaming bowl of noodles. In the summer, I attempt to curb this by eating lots of salads for lunch, using grains instead of rice and sweet potatoes in place of regular potatoes. I made the switch to wholegrain pasta and brown rice many years ago, in order to make the carbs I eat healthier, but like many of people in the UK, I simply eat too much of them. It’s all well and good to load up on carbohydrate-rich foods when you’re burning off the energy, but in winter, when we are naturally more sedentary, this carb craving becomes more of an issue.
During the week, I always try to prepare my lunch in advance so that I am not at the mercy of the local corner shop when my stomach starts growling at 1pm, but there is at least one day of the week where I end up desperately grabbing something quick from the cupboard. This is where I tend to hoard cans of soups, tinned fish and packets of noodles. The problem with the instant noodles is that they are not the most diet-friendly lunch and they don’t have much nutritional benefit. So, when we received the box containing Eat Water’s ‘Slim Noodles’, I was intrigued. I had heard of ‘glass noodles’ before, but I’d only ever experienced them very recently, on the inside of a vegetable spring roll. I remembered the texture was a bit chewy, but as the packet boasts only 15 calories for the entire pouch worth of noodles, they had to be worth a go!
These noodles are made from water and Moyu, a vegetable fibre that has been eaten in Asia for centuries. Therefore, they are gluten free, dairy free and fat free, which is excellent for allergy sufferers, vegans and those on low-fat diets. It does also mean that they effectively have no taste whatsoever, so you’ll need to be a bit more creative when preparing dishes with these. They are incredibly quick to prepare – simply open the packet, empty out the water and then rinse the noodles several times to get rid of any excess starch. I noticed that the starch gives off a slight odour when you open the packet, but once you have rinsed the noodles they do not smell of anything. Pop them in the microwave for one minute (or fry for 2-3 minutes) and voila!
I used the microwave method, as I was preparing them in our Express Chemist kitchen. I then popped a splash of soy sauce on them, and topped them with the mackerel fillets I had salvaged from my cupboard that morning. I’ll be honest; it wasn’t the most appetising lunch I’ve ever made. It would have been nicer with a little teriyaki chicken or some grilled vegetables, but I’m trying to eat more oily fish, so mackerel was all I had.
The first thing that struck me was the texture of these little white noodles. They are quite chewy, which can take you by surprise a bit. They feel more solid, somewhat denser, than regular noodles. Ramen (e.g. regular instant noodles) slips down easily, but I had to take my time with these. I think the chewy texture actually benefits the weight-loss ideal, as those who eat slower usually register when they are full more accurately, and so tend not to over-eat as much as those who eat quickly.
The second thing was the taste, or should I say lack thereof. I did put soy sauce on them, but that combined with the fairly mundane taste of the mackerel and the wateriness of the noodles, was not the most appetising combination. In hindsight, they would have been better stir fried with some garlic and ginger, and some vegetables. I think that is where these really come into their own, as much like tofu, they will readily absorb any flavours you combine them with. They are also extremely filling, making it easy to resist the urge for some afternoon snacking.
The packet serves 1-2 people, 1 as a main meal and 2 as side, I would think. Their portable nature and quick preparation time make them an ideal food to stockpile in your cupboards at home, as combined with a protein-rich topping such as fish, meat or tofu, these make a fast, filling and healthy dinner or lunch.
Have you tried them? If so, what did you think of them? If not, would you give them a go?