Let’s finish the post under this theme of contrasting the seemingly same food with a unique ingredient in Japan – Konjac or Konnyaku as it is called. I googled the word and (forgive me for my unfamiliarity with the term) in English it is sometimes called with interesting names like “devil’s tongue, voodoo lily, snake palm, or elephant yam). Okay, there’s no limit to human’s imagination, this could prove.
In Japan, Konnyaku is eaten in different forms and shapes. If you visit a convenience store, go to the Oden section and try look at the labels provided in front of the pot. You’ll most likely see one item that looks like transparent noodles tied together in a bundle. That is also konnyaku but made into a shape of noodle, called “ito-konnyaku”. “Ito” means thread as suggested by its look. (Below: Ito-konnyaku in Oden; in its own package seen in supermarkets)
Another similar (if not identical) looking product you might see in stores is called “Shirataki”. The first Kanji for “shira” means white, the second Kanji for “taki” means waterfall. It is usually used to give food more texture and volume, especially when one is on a diet. As you would see in the photos below, they don’t look different. And Shirataki is actually not limited to “white” as its name suggests, there is also a brown version that is blended with potatoes, making it even more identical to its Konnyaku counterpart.
They have entirely same ingredients – the konjac potato…so how are they different? Answer: In the way they are made!
Shirataki>> The mixture of potato konjac which is still in the liquid state, is pushed through the slots of the machines (that give it the noodle form), released into the boiling water and solidified.
Thread Konjac>> The mixture is boiled and solidified in a chunk (in other words, it become the rectangular “konnyaku” we usually see), then pushed through the slots to transform it into noodles.
To say simply, Shirataki is made into noodles which THEN become konnyaku, while thread konjac is made into konnyaku THEN into noodles.
It’s a little interesting, no? 😀 Share with your friends!