People in Asian countries including Japan have been eating konjac for a long time. Today, people in other countries have started to eat konjac due to the fact that they have now started to be more conscious of their health. So what is konjac? And how can we enjoy eating it?
1. What is konjac made from ?
Konjac plants mainly grow in the northern part of the Kanto area in Japan. The edible part of Konjac plants is the root that contains sugar named Glucomannan, and konjac is made by making the root into a paste and then coagulating it with an alkaline solution
2. Types of konjac
- Ita-konjac…the most common konjac that is formed with boards.
- Tama-konjac… shaped like a ball and boiled.
- Sashimi-konjac… made of konjac powder and can be eaten raw.
- Shirataki… cut into noodles- strips that are pushed out from small holes.
- Tsubu-konjac… shaped like a grain of rice.
- Konjac jelly… jelly made of konjac which is firmer than jelly made of gelatine.
- Konjac noodles… usually used as a replacement of pasta.
3. Health Benefits
More than 90% of konjac is water and the calories per one Ita-konjac (about 300g) is as low as 21 kcals. It is a great food to help reduce weight and the risk of metabolism syndrome as its texture is quite firm, which stimulates the satiety center. Konjac is also rich in dietary fiber which produces a laxative effect. Regulating cholesterol levels and restraining a rapid increase in blood sugar levels are also among konjac’s abilities to help prevent diabetes. Ceramide in the food has anti-inflammatory benefits that can be effective for allergies like hay fever. Under-processed konjac corn has an antimicrobial effect against helicobacter pylori that may cause gastric cancer. The superfood konjac has now started to become known by many health-minded people around the world.
4. Dishes using konjac
As konjac has a pungent taste, it is better to boil it to remove the teste before cooking, which also helps remove the stickiness. When stir-frying, it is good to dry-fry konjac first to give it a better texture. For soup or stewed dishes, put salt over konjac and knead it with a rolling pin so that water comes out from konjac and seasoning easily goes into the ingredients. Here are some Japanese dishes that use konjac.
Japanese traditional dish of radish, eggs, fish cakes, konjac, etc. in soy sauce-based dashi soup. It is usually eaten in the winter to warm you up.
Stewed dishes with vegetables like burdock roots, carrots, bamboo shoots, rotas roots, and chicken and kombu (seaweed) in dashi soup seasoned with cooking sake, soy sauce, mirin, sugar, etc.
Boiled konjac in dash soup topped with sweetened miso sauce.
A hot pot dish that includes sliced beef and vegetables such as spring onion, garland chrysanthemum, shitake mushrooms, grilled tofu and shirataki cooked with soy sauce and sugar.
Other than the dishes mentioned above, konjac steaks (pan-fried, seasoned with soy sauce), cold noodles and pasta with konjac noodles, fried rice with rice mixed with tsubu-konjac are also popular. Rice sandwiches are getting popular lately overseas. they are made of rice dough, grains and konjac mannan sandwiching some ingredients.