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konnyaku (food)

蒟蒻 菎蒻 こんにゃく

A jelly made from the corm of the konnyaku plant grown in Japan and Southeast Asia, also called konjac, elephant yam, or voodoo lily or devil's tongue when referring to the flower shape.

The corms are made into konnyaku ("yam cake"), which is a jelly-like rectangular brick of food-stuff. It is basically flavorless, and is usually used as an ingredient in more complex foods than eaten straight. It is frequently used as the vegan substitute for gelatin. (Which is commonly made of ground fish bones.)

Konnyaku is used in making oden, lychee cups or konjac candy, a thick Jello-like snack made of fruit paste to flavor the konnyaku. Unlike gelatin, however, konnyaku can be a choking hazard if not properly chewed, and there have been several cases of choking from people who don't properly chew their food.

Konnyaku can also be pressed through a mesh to create gelatinous noodles called shirataki, often used in Japanese soups like sukiyaki or gyudon.

Konnyaku is also low in calories and high in fiber, so it is used as diet food.

See Also:
Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konnyaku