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!)