The konnyaku (konjac) plant is also known as the Devil’s Tongue plant. Konnyaku is made from the core of this plant. Even though it is barely eaten in the West, it has been eaten for about 1500 years in Japan. Not too surprising, as it is proven to be beneficial to your health and although you might have to get used to it first, is can be made into a tasty treat as well!
Konnyaku has close to zero calories, which makes it an ideal choice for people who are concerned about their weight. It is also very filling so it has also been called the “broom for the stomach”. Besides that, it does not contain any fat and has a high amount of dietary fibre which is a great aid in relieving constipation. Studies have found that konnyaku also helps to normalize the level of cholesterol and sugars in the blood. Moreover, it prevents high blood pressure and diabetes. Konnyaku can rightfully be called a superfood!
Konnyaku has a rubbery jelly texture and is almost completely devoid of flavor. Since it is almost tasteless, it usually cooked with broth, such as oden.
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Konnyaku is also used to make long, soft noodles. These Konnyaku noodles are also known as shirataki, which literally means white waterfall. Shirataki are also called the “Miracle Noodles” (because of their healthy properties).
Another way to enjoy the Konnyaku is by having it raw. You may find konnyaku sashimi being sold in packets at the supermarket. Sashimi konnyaku is usually green or yellow in color, depending on its flavour that can range from seafood to citrus. You can enjoy this sashimi konnyaku with wasabi, soy sauce, mustard sauce, or sweet miso.
Konnyaku has also been used for cosmetic purposes. There are konjac sponges which are meant to be used for cleaning the face thorough and gentle at the same time. The konjac sponge is hard when it is dry, but it becomes very soft when it is wet, so it does not cause harsh abrasions on the skin.
Then there is also the ‘konnyaku bridge’, which is not really made from konnyaku, but it is named so due to the way it tends to wobble similar to konnyaku jelly.
When you are eating konnyaku, you have to be careful and chew it properly as there have been incidences where the konnyaku gets stuck in the throat and caused suffocation. Hence, the elderly and kids should be extra careful when consuming konnyaku. Enjoy the taste and health benefits, but don’t get harmed by the Devil’s Tongue!