This surprisingly tasty entry uses a noodle made of kelp. Yep! That weird stuff that floats around beaches, washes up on shore and generally makes the thought of swimming in it, make my skin crawl. I've actually eaten quite a bit of seaweed in my lifetime. At one point, it was all the rage in high end restaurants and was sliced, diced, pickled, tossed with sesame seeds, etc. Some of it was pretty tasty, too! However, until someone popped onto my Facebook page, proclaiming love for noodles made from Kelp, I'd never even heard of such a thing!
When I looked into them, they did read like a low-carber's dream food. A 4 oz. portion has just 1 carb, and it's all fiber. It's also got only 6 calories, is high in iodine (YAY, thyroid function!)
and other minerals and is also considered good eating by the Raw and Paleo communities. In a sense, it's just water held in place with seaweed fiber, and flavored with just a touch of seaweed salt! No cooking is done, or required. Open a bag and eat up!
So, why aren't people clamoring for more of these? Why aren't they all the rage? Why hadn't I heard of them?! Because they're weird, Man! They're just weird!
I popped open the bag, expecting something along the lines of the Shirataki noodles (another weird noodle, made from Konjac, a southeast Asian yam-like thing)
. Shirataki noodles are very soft, rubbery and packed in bags full of water. This was like little strands of hard plasticy-rubber, packed tightly into a vacuum packed baggy. We're not in Kansas anymore!
I tore a strand of glassy fiber from the bag and put it in my mouth. It felt like plastic, in every way I know. It would not have taken much convincing to tell me that this was the raw material behind cellophane (saran wrap)
. I bit into it. It was actually really pleasantly crunchy! All of a sudden, I COMPLETELY enjoyed the wonderfully cheerful texture of the noodle. Then, the flavor hit me. It was a very subtle taste, like a cross between salt and something like a mildly bitter baking soda. I was back to regarding these noodles with some skepticism.
Yes, you can eat these right out of the package. There are many that love these things and swear by them. People pop the bag, cut up the noodles, slather them with cucumbers and avocados and chow down. Not only is this possible and acceptable, it's quite common! I think from my personal vantage point, I'll need to rise to that particular occasion. I'm more a regular ol' noodle type dude, and these hard elastic strands just kind of weirded me out. I read and read and discovered that prolonged exposure to acid will start to soften them, somewhat. I rinsed them in warm water, cut them into manageable strands, and then tossed them with fresh lime juice, where they sat on the counter for about an hour. Interestingly, liquid pooled at the bottom, which I poured off. The noodles did, indeed, soften somewhat. Cooking them with other ingredients really whipped them into a nice noodley shape! In the end, I think these are kind of a fun product to play with, the flavor is very mild and easily cancelled out by other ingredients and can be tamed into something wonderful like ... Stir Fry Peanut Chicken with Kelp Noodles!
I personally purchased my noodles from Amazon.com
, but I also noticed they sell them at the local asian grocery store. I assume they can be found in some stores, but suspect they can be a bit of a challenge to find. I do recommend them, though, if you're up for something kind of different!