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Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Sea Tangle" Noodles - YUCK!

On Monday the hubs and I finally got around to checking out the new Korean owned market that opened up nearby recently.  It's "full sized" -- taking the place of a regular grocery store and pretty much keeping the produce department intact.  I can see getting fish/seafood from there quite often if that department stays as clean and stocked as it was.  

They have a full complement of the shiritake, konjac, yam noodles and such (all the same thing essentially though some have a tinge of soy that makes them look less like cellophane noodles and more like ramen).  These days I avoid those although prepared properly they can be an acceptable low carb/calorie filler.  But I had heard of the kelp noodles and thought I'd like to give them a try.  

So there amongst the others sat a package of Sea Tangle Noodles.  I went to try them yesterday.  They come in a plastic package, much like the shiritake.  I was happy to discover there was no fishy smell that required extensive rinsing.  But that's where the happiness ended.  They are rather springy, almost like cartilage, utterly tasteless (not such a bad thing), but the texture was just gross.  While shiritake noodles are weirdly chewy, these are crunchy! -- and not in a good way.  

I think I'll try frying them up with some chili oil just to see if they might have some redeeming quality/use, but I just thought I'd share my experience to save anyone ever wondering the time and money.  :D

9 comments:

bentleyj74 said...

How are the yam noodles?

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

The fiber they make the shiritake noodles from comes from konjac root that is referred to as "yam". The House Foods brand adds a little tofu so they look like wheat noodles, but they have many varieties that do not. I've had the angle hair of those. Both must be drained well and I wring the rest of the water out with paper towels of a clean towel. It's mostly a texture thing from there as they are kinda rubbery. They don't fry and let out a ton of water when you're cooking them. They really are hydrated nothing -- I once deep fried the linguini ones thinking they might make good chinese noodles, all I got was paper thin brown strips! I think if you don't expect them to taste/feel like real pasta and accept them for what they are, they're actually pretty good. I make asian stir fries or fra diavolo spicey spicey sauce. Haven't had them in ages though.

bentleyj74 said...

I generally like tofu so I wondered if they were good on their own merit [although I have better prospects finding a snowball in h*ll than a decent Korean market nearby] but yeah...I'd just opt for real noodles when noodles are called for :)

Woodey said...

I shop at a local Asian market and I'll cross those off my list of noodles to try if I ever see them. I did pick up a package of Korean Style Starch Noodles, ingredients are sweet potato starch and water. I haven't cooked with them yet, but thought it would be interesting to try something other than rice or wheat noodles.

Genia said...

How did you cook these? I am part Japanese so I am familiar with thses noodles. Americans didn't grow up with many foods which have "unusual" textures according to cultural norms. Theyy may find foods like mochi or in this case, kelp noodles, to be off-putting the same way someone unfamiliar with blue cheeses find them to be disgusting. I think a lot has to do with cultural norms. To many Asians these noodles when prepared properly, are quite delicious.

The cruchy texture means you have not cooked them enough. Also it could be that they were not cooked on the proper way. In Japan, Korea, or Taiwan, these noodles are used more as sides, the same way tofu or vegetables are used. Mainly the noodles are eaten as part of a hearty veggie hotpot-like stew. So it's kind of like sukiyaki but with veggies and tofu , although many people add slices of seafood or meat to the stew. Typical veggies and mushrooms that accompany kelp noodles are: enoki or shitake mushrooms, carrots, lotus root, green leafy veggies, taro, green onions, and so on. The noodles' springy texture is supposed to add/ contrast to cooked veggies like cabbage or greens or nigiri-type tofu. The noodles soak up the soup flavors really well , and to have not the crunchy texure, one needs to boil them at least 15 minutes. They are not meant to be fried or sauteed or microwaved... You can microwave it in soup but not alone/ dry.

I have made spicy beef noodle soup with tomato/ beef stock, seasoned with Chinese spices, and it's quite good and filling. I like my noodles on soft side so I cook them at least 20 minutes boiling.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Ahh, I didn't boil very long. The package had a recipe on it for a noodle salad and it only suggested boiling the noodles for like a minute. I suppose I should have tried boiling the heck out of them. Maybe I'll give them another try next time I make a spicy soup (they weren't expensive). Then again, I'm happy these days with rice or bean starch noodles. I really like the latter. They are packaged in little "nests", throw in boiling water and they are ready in under a minute. Lower in carb than rice noodles, but definitely have carb. The package says "green bean" starch but near as I can figure these are mung beans.

Genia said...

Oh yes I love mung bean noodles too, they're good in salad or for noodle soups. For salad you put sliced, cold chicken with jullienned cucumbers, shredded carrots, and cooled/ cooked mung bean noodles together. Toss them with Japanese toasted sesame oil, tsp of toasted sesame seeds, clove of crushed garlic if you like garlic, shoyu or Japanese soy sauce, and vinegar. So good on hot summer days.

Haystack Bingo said...

I love Sea Tangle Noodles slightly snappy texture. Very versatile and easy to digest.Like them better than mushy pasty rice noodles.

Red Weasel said...

TIP FOR SOFTENING KELP NOODLES:
I was given this awesome tip for the preparation of the Seatangle Kelp noodles. I agree that the texture can be off-putting if you don't like that weird 'crunch'. The health food store I bought them from advised to do the following:
1/ Soak your noodles in boiling water with the juice from half a lemon, soak for approx. 15 to 20 minutes
2/ Rinse to remove lemon flabvour.
3/ Now mix them into your dish or use them as you r 'carb' replacement!

The acid from the lemon juice along with the hot water softens the noodles amazingly well, so that they become almost like a rice noodle. I use these noodles as a replacement for pasta / rice in dishes like spaghetti bolognaise, stir frys, san choy bau and even omlettes to bulk them out! They are particularly good in dishes that will coat the noodle as the noodles themselves have no flavour.
I too would have discarded these if I had not been told about adding the lemon juice! Please try them again.

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