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Konjac Flour: Pasta and Rice with only 8 calories per 100g… Surely not!

This is seriously my first try with those pasta and rice replacements, the Konjac Flour ones, that are mainly water.  With 8kcals per 100g of drained rice in the version I just tried, its a serious way to reduce calories for those who watch their carbs like me.   How bad could it be?    It only has 0.1g Carbohydrate per 100g.  That’s almost zero calories for a lot of food.

This is rice shaped konjac noodles, not actual rice itself.  I think I expected a more ricey texture and shape, and that’s where I failed at the outset.  The product doesn’t try to pretend it’s something that it’s not, but I did misread the label and half expected a rice like texture.  I’ve left my image until the end, in case it hits you the same way as it does me.

What are Konjac Noodles?

Well, they’ve been hailed as a dieter’s dream.   There are several brands, mostly around noodles.  barenaked rice, Zero Noodles, Slim Rice / Slim Noodles / Shirataki Noodles.   They’re all made of the same thing.  The Konjac plant is a red flower with one leaf, and a long spike, that’s grown in Asia.  Most noodles will come from and be imported from China.

It’s generally known as a starchy tuber, that is processed into glucomannan flour, which is then used to make the noodles.  The rice I have, actually looks like pasta, but far too much like squiggly little worms for my eyes to come to terms with.

Although they’ve been around in Japan for years, they’ve only recently been gaining popularity over here, and I can’t believe I’ve gone all this time without even ever hearing about them.  It all started when I spotted a pack in Sainsburys and picked them up to read the pack.  My first thought was that it was a con, and complete rubbish.   Some people know these as water noodles as they’re so high in water content, which probably explains why they actually taste of nothing until they’re mixed with other ingredients.

The generic Google bumf says these noodles are to fill us up, or to bulk out our food.   I do love pasta, and I miss it now that I rarely eat it, so finding something to replace that would be perfect, but Sainsbury didn’t have the pasta version, so the rice it had to be.

The rice/noodles contain 96 per cent water and less than 4 per cent glucomannan fibre.  I checked reviews, and there were so many positive ones, I thought I’d give it a go.  I already had my “barenaked rice,” to try them out, but wished I’d gone for the proper pasta versions and ordered online. The rice is just tiny rice sized pieces of the larger pasta versions.

There were also as much negative reviews as there were positive, so I was a little cautious from the outset.  Complaints included a fishy smell when the packet is opened, to the rubbery texture when it’s eaten.  So here goes.  I added it to a mix I make frequently for myself, with Dolmio Light Sauce and peas.

Konjac dolmio light

My Ingredients

  • 1 Pack konjac noodle rice replacement – 250g drained. (20 calories)
  • 50g Peas.
  • 200g Dolmio Light Sauce. (78 calories)
  • Salt.

My Cooking Method

Step 1

On opening the pack, the fishy smell was there.  I put my rice into a sieve and ran it under cold water for a couple of minutes, and the smell was gone.  In truth, the smell was no worse than buying fresh cod or haddock and getting it home, so it didn’t smell half as bad as the reviews said – to me – anyway.

konjac barenaked rice 2

Step 2

Cook the rice on the hob for around 8-10 minutes, with a little salt.  I didn’t want to take the chance of the fishy smell still being there.

Step 3

Sieve off the water and rinse through again.

Step 4

Return the hob, add the peas and Dolmio sauce, heat thoroughly.


To be honest, it didn’t soak up the Dolmio like rice does, and it looked pretty awful in the bowl.   Eating it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but as rice, it slides down and the texture is more rubbery than rice.

It didn’t replace my rice craving, but it did fill my belly with a couple of spoonfuls.

I think the fact my dish looked more like little worms in my Dolmio put me off, and I might prefer this rice in a stir fry.  The taste wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, so I’m prepared to try it out with some different dishes, and one that doesn’t look like squiggly worms when I’m eating it.  

I couldn’t finish more than two small spoons of this, but it’s given me ideas, and I think I could tolerate it better as a proper pasta dish, where it doesn’t look off-putting in the dish.  Actually, I might not even notice it isn’t real pasta at all, as it has a similar mouth feel to pasta for me, but slightly more rubbery.

How it looked was what stopped me eating it, rather than how it tasted.  It didn’t taste terrible at all.  It took on the flavour of the Dolmio very well, so although it isn’t a true replacement for rice, it does reduce calories going into the belly.  I couldn’t cope with it as a rice replacement, but as a pasta one, I think Konjac and I will get on very well.

See what I mean below…  Little worms.  I just couldn’t…  It’d be much better in a stir fry for me I think, but if the appearance doesn’t put you off, it could be a very good bulking agent for other foods indeed.

Konjac barenaked rice featured