Posted by Bangzkie Thursday, March 15, 2012
Konjac, also known as konjak, konjaku, konnyaku potato, devil's tongue, voodoo lily, snake palm, or elephant yam (though this name is also used for A. paeoniifolius), is a plant of the genus Amorphophallus. It is native to warm subtropical to tropical eastern Asia, from Japan and China south to Indonesia. It is a perennial plant, growing from a large corm up to 25 cm in diameter. The single leaf is up to 1.3 m across, bipinnate, and divided into numerous leaflets. The flowers are produced on a spathe enclosed by a dark purple spadix up to 55 cm long. The corm of the konjac is often colloquially referred to as a yam, although it bears no marked relation to tubers of the family Dioscoreaceae.
Konjac is grown in India, China, Japan and Korea for its large starchy corms, used to create a flour and jelly of the same name. It is also used as a vegan substitute for gelatin. In Japanese cuisine, konjac (konnyaku) appears in dishes such as oden. It is typically mottled grey and firmer in consistency than most gelatins. It has very little taste; the common variety tastes vaguely like salt. It is valued more for its texture than flavor. Ito konnyaku is a type of Japanese food consisting of konjac cut into noodle-like strips. It is usually sold in plastic bags with accompanying water. It is often used in sukiyaki and oden. The name literally means "thread-konjac". Japanese konnyaku is made by mixing konjac flour with water and limewater. Hijiki is often added for the characteristic dark color and flavor. Without additives for color, konnyaku is pale white. It is then boiled and cooled to solidify. Konnyaku made in noodle form is called shirataki and used in foods such as sukiyaki and gyudon.