Monday, December 30, 2013

Homemade Konnyaku

Homemade konnyaku, served sashimi style with vinegar-seasoned Saikyo miso

Konnyaku is one of the staple foods in Japanese culture. It's a jelly-like food, made from konnyaku yam root (also called devil's tongue). There are so many different varieties of shapes and types of konnyaku sold in Japan. It's rich in dietary fiber and extremely low in calories (almost none), so konnyaku is also a very popular health food in our culture.

When konnyaku is extremely fresh, we enjoy it sashimi style without cooking it. I brought back ingredients for homemade konnyaku from Japan, so I made my own konnyaku to serve as sashimi! For homemade konnyaku, you can normally find already powdered dry konnyaku yam root, so that's what I got. The ingredients are only the konnyaku yam root (powdered), water, and calcium hydroxide as a coagulator.

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In a pot, you combine 850 ml water and 25 g powdered konnyaku yam root. Set over high heat, then as soon as the mixture starts bubbling, turn down to medium. Continue to stir for 7-8 minutes. The mixture will thicken like glue.

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Remove the mixture from heat and let it cool down to 42C - 43C degrees. Add 1.5 g calcium hydroxide and mix by hand until the mixture forms into one piece. Transfer to a mold and push the surface to make it smooth and let the air out from inside. Let it set for a couple of minutes.

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Remove the mixture from the mold and put in water in a pot. Set over high heat. As soon as the water starts boiling, reduce to simmer and let it cook for 20 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, filled with cold water. Let it soak in the water for more than 1 hour to remove bitterness.

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The homemade konnyaku was ready and so bouncy! As soon as I was ready, I cut a few slices for myself to try. Both the flavor and texture were superb and heavenly. Homemade konnyaku is the best!

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The other day, I made a different variation of konnyaku. I made "ao-nori" (aromatic seaweed flakes) konnyaku. It came out wonderful!

I gotta get more konnyaku ingredients next time I return to Japan. Until then, I will suffer real konnyaku withdrawals.