Some can’t stand the texture, but for others, that’s the best part! Konnyaku is a jiggly grey-coloured food made from the corm of the konjac plant, which is sometimes (mistakenly!) referred to as a type of yam. Made up of mostly water, konnyaku also contains a dietary fibre called glucomannan, which helps clean out your digestive system as it passes through. Its high fibre content and low calorie count make it a favourite with dieters, but I love konnyaku for its texture, and the way it absorbs the flavours of the ingredients it’s cooked with. Just remember to rinse it well (or even blanch it) before incorporating it into your recipe, because the seaweed powder added to it gives it a distinct odour…
The texture of konnyaku is valued in Japanese cuisine as well, and one of the techniques used to enhance this mouthfeel experience is to twist the konnyaku into a shape known as tazuna, or reins. This is done by cutting the konnyaku into slices, cutting a slit down the centre of each slice, then pulling one end through the slit. The resulting twisted shape makes it more chunky and fun to chew. Another technique is to simply rip the konnyaku into large bite-sized pieces, which creates a rough surface that absorbs broth well.
This Japanese recipe is called konnyaku inakani, or country-style simmered konnyaku. Using honey gives the konnyaku a particularly shiny look, but feel free to replace it with the sweetener of your choice (I highly recommend maple syrup!)
- 1 block konnyaku about 240 grams
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp honey
- 200 mL water
- Drain the excess water from the package of konnyaku and rinse it under running water. Cut into 7-8mm thick slices and cut a slit inside of each slice, lengthwise. Pull one end of the slice through the slit, twisting it into the tazuna shape. Do the same for the rest of the slices.
- Place the konnyaku twists on a plate and cook in the microwave for 2 minutes. This helps remove moisture, which will allow them to absorb more broth, as well as better retain their tazuna shape.
- Put the konnyaku twists in a pot and heat over high to further remove the moisture, flipping the twists after a minute or two.
- Add the simmering ingredients and cook over medium heat until almost all the liquid has evaporated, about 15-20 minutes. Serve and enjoy 🙂