Whatever you do, you cannot empty a packet of shirataki, douse the shirataki in sauce, and call it dinner. Despite containing no fish, shirataki carry a strong fishy taste, which must be rinsed and replaced with other flavors.

Shirataki shine in Japanese braises and stews with rich broths. Think of dishes like sukiyaki (leeks, shiitake mushrooms, and other vegetables mingle with thin slices of beef in a sweet soy broth) and oden (daikon, carrots, eggs, and fish cakes simmered in a rich dashi). Shirataki will take on the flavors of the broths without losing their chew.

While tofu and non-tofu shirataki varieties can be used interchangeably, below find suggestions for each application below.

Stir-Fry

Shirataki’s Japanese roots indicate that it adapts excellently to stir-fries, including those that would commonly include a starchier noodle like yakisoba. The advantage of shirataki is that it will never overcook and turn to mush, so err on the side of cooking longer rather than shorter to ensure maximum flavor transfer. Below is one of my go-to preparations, in which I use tofu fettuccine shirataki for its thicker texture:

Slice an onion (or some alliums of your choice) and sauté with julienned carrots, sliced cabbage, and mushrooms. Season with salt to taste. At this stage, drain and rinse one package of shirataki and add it to the pan. The shirataki will release quite a lot of liquid as they are stored in water, so take a minute to cook off the liquid until the pan is dry. Add a tablespoon of sake, a teaspoon of soy sauce (or more to taste), and continue cooking until the shirataki has absorbed the seasonings. Fry an egg on the side to top your dish and finish with a final scattering of bonito flakes. Feel free to play with the seasoning; this is also delicious with Worcestershire instead of soy.

Simmer

While it is classic to add shirataki to dishes like sukiyaki and oden, the noodles can also be adapted to other dishes where you would want to add texture to a flavorful broth. I recommend using classic (non-tofu) shirataki for its more toothsome texture in such applications. For example, you can even use shirataki in a tomato sauce, as long as you take care to simmer the drained and rinsed shirataki in the sauce for at least five minutes so that it can absorb the flavors.

Chill

As much as shirataki is a dish best enjoyed simmered with other flavors, they also adapt marvelously to cold preparations because they’re so delightfully slippery and silky. For this style, use the thinner tofu spaghetti shirataki so that the dressing can more easily season the noodles. After you have blanched shirataki for at least one minute in hot water, drain and cool the shirataki by rinsing them in cold water. Now top the shirataki with ingredients of your choice, such as kimchi, julienned cucumber, poached egg, nori, and sesame dressing; wasabi, grated ginger, wakame, and mentsuyu (a dashi-based soup base); or sliced radishes, natto, ponzu, and a scattering of sesame seeds.

Once you get a taste of a thoroughly seasoned shirataki strand, there really is no turning back. Diets are fickle, but shirataki is a constant.