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Konjac



Konnyaku

Inflorescences
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Order: Alismatales
Family: Araceae
Genus: Amorphophallus
Species: A. konjac
Binomial name
Amorphophallus konjac
K. Koch

Konjac (Amorphophallus konjac; syn. A. rivieri; Japanese: 蒟蒻/菎蒻; こんにゃく; konnyaku; Chinese: 蒟蒻; pinyin: jǔ ruò), also known as konjak, konjaku, 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.

Additional recommended knowledge

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.

Cultivation and use

  Konjac is grown in China, Japan and Korea for its large starchy corm, used to create a flour and jelly of the same name. It is also used as a vegan substitute for gelatin.

In Japanese cuisine, 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 seaweed. It is valued more for its texture than flavor.

Japanese konnyaku jelly is made by mixing konnyaku 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 (see shirataki noodles) and used in foods such as sukiyaki and gyudon.

Japanese historical novelist Ryotaro Shiba claims in a 1982 travelogue that konjac is consumed in parts of Sichuan province; the corm is reportedly called moyu (魔芋), and the jelly is called moyu dofu (魔芋豆腐) or shue moyu (雪魔芋).

Konjac can also be made into a popular Asian fruit jelly snack, usually served in bite-sized plastic cups. Due to the concern in the late 1990s about the risk of small children and seniors choking on the snacks, there have been subsequent recalls in the U.S. and Canada. Unlike gelatin, konjac gel does not dissolve readily in the mouth. The snacks usually have warning labels advising parents to make sure that their children chew the jelly thoroughly before swallowing.

The dried corm of the konjac plant contains around 40% glucomannan gum. This polysaccharide makes konjac jelly highly viscous.

Konnyaku has almost no calories but is very high in fiber. Thus, it is often used as a diet food.

References

  • Kaidō wo Iku, vol. 20: Chūgoku—Shoku to Unnan no Michi (On the Road, vol. 20: China—The Roads of Shu and Yunnan) by Ryotaro Shiba (1987), Chapter 3.

See also

  • Muk (Korean food)
 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Konjac". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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