Miracle Rice is a mystery. It has no genetic modification. No carbs. No gluten. No calories. So what exactly is this stuff?

It’s actually shirataki noodles (Miracle Noodles), cut into orzo-sized pieces. Originating from Japan, the noodle is made from a yam-based flour which contains a fiber called glucomannan. This fiber is the secret to shirataki’s delicious success. Glucomannan is a polysaccharide (a scientific term I don’t understand because I’m not a Bio major) that can’t be fully digested by the human body. And because we can’t fully process the material, we don’t absorb any of the carbs it contains. And because it has no taste, shirataki’s main function is to fill us up. Which is both terrifying and pretty freaking cool.

Glucomannan, the non-digestible edible.

Glucomannan, the non-digestible edible.

The beauty is that you can eat a big meal and not waste carbs on noodles. The shirataki serves as a delivery method for whatever else you serve with it. In order to get energy from Miracle Rice, it needs to be combined with other ingredients. So what does one do with this  non-noodle? Simple: treat it as as you would tofu. Shirataki’s flavor profile is a blank slate. You can make it taste like anything from sriracha to eggplant, from pesto to Spam. That’s the miracle of Miracle Rice, its versatility. If you’ve got this in your fridge, you’ve got filler for almost any meal your heart desires. Edamame, sesame, tomato, lime, coconut curry, roasted red peppersare you starting to catch on? Yeah, this is the calorie-free chameleon of the culinary world.

Because it’s packaged in water, you’ll need to strain it. I recommend using a wire colander. And, while you’re at it, give the rice (or noodles) a good rinse. Combine it in a pan or a pot (depending) with whatever you so choose. If you’re feeling like a soup or a stew try rice (or noodles) + beef stock + bean sprouts + egg for a kind of protein brew. I also like rice (or noodles) + chicken stock + carrots + celery for a twist on chicken soup. Though, if you’re ready to wock-n-roll (PUN) you can always pair the noodles with your favorite veggies for a stir fry that’s interstellar. (My personal favorite is snow peas, diced onions, broccoli, and strips of lean beef. Though, you can always skip the meat and go for a vegetarian option.)

Here’s Spoon’s challenge to you: create your own recipe with shirataki (be it the noodles or the rice) and share them with us in comments. We just might make your ideas into one mouth-watering post in the future. You never know.

You can find regular shirataki noodles at your local Asian grocery store (in Columbia, there’s one on Bakersfield Road near Dutch Square), the refrigerated section at Whole Foods, or you can buy Miracle Rice online here.