After first finding fame on BBC’s Dragons’ Dens, Ross Mendham and his company Barenakedfoods have quickly gained attention for their health-conscious range of low calorie, low carbohydrate and added protein rice and noodles.
On the show Ross explained how he had always struggled to control his weight and Barenakedfoods is the result of that struggle: the products are not only beneficial for weight-loss, but can help control blood sugar and energy levels and reduce cholesterol for a healthy heart.
Similar to Japanese Sharitaki noodles, all Barenakedfoods are made from Konjac, a pure vegetable starch that is high in fibre, naturally wheat and gluten free and contains no fat, sugar or starch – perfect for vegetarians, vegans and those with health issues such as diabetes and Coeliac disease. Unlike Sharitaki, these are actually edible.
How? Thanks to the addition of soybean flour and oatmeal flour, Barenakedfoods have a flourier texture than Sharitaki with the reassuring colouring of standard white rice and noodles. They’re still a little gelatinous, although nowhere as slimy (or fishy), arriving in a water-pack with the simplest of cooking instructions:
There’s no denying they’re an acquired taste and the shape of the noodles means they fare better than the tiny chunks of rice, which are so bitty they lack any real texture or substance. However, while the rice is no substitute for the real thing, Barenaked noodles are particularly – and surprisingly – tasty when used as a base for strong flavoured Asian-inspired stir-fries. So much so, they’re not just edible, they’re enjoyable.
Promoting Barenaked noodles as a low-carb alternative to pasta still seems a little optimistic. The noodles are too wet to ever be mistaken for spaghetti and refuse to cling to tomato or cream-based Italian sauces. However, at only 8kcal per 100g, it’s clear why so many people are happy to make this compromise and, as a stand-alone noodle, these really do hold-up in their own right.
All in all, Ross has done a pretty incredible job of making such a sinless ingredient so much more than just a diet food. You only have to glance at their customer testimonials to understand just how effective this stuff can be, and even for those of us who aren’t counting calories, Barenakedfoods offers a light and filling gluten-free alternative to your typically carb-laden recipes.
Available from Morrisons, Waitrose, Holland & Barrett and online here.