Konjac is a tuber that the Japanese have used for almost two thousand years in cooking and traditional medicine. Its main assets? First of all, its high content of glucomannan, a fiber forming a kind of viscous gel in the stomach, quickly causing satiety. In other words, an appetite suppressant. Another good point: konjac is very low in calories (less than 5 calories per 100 g). Incidentally, it also helps regulate the blood cholesterol level, fights against constipation and eliminates toxins from the body… The icing on the cake: this food is suitable even for people intolerant to gluten, because it contains no trace of it.
Where to buy it?
Konjac is quite easy to find on Asian supermarket shelves or in Asian grocery stores, in one of its many forms: vermicelli (shirataki), Japanese noodles (kishimen, which look like tagliatelle), round konjac rice (or gohan konjac), konjac paste (konnyaku), konjac gum … It is also sold as a dietary supplement (capsules or powders) in pharmacies and drugstores.
What does it taste like?
Konjac doesn’t really taste. On the other hand, it easily takes that of other foods: it is therefore enough to play with spices, spices or vegetables (for example, onions, tomatoes) to obtain a delicious and low-calorie dish.
How do we use konjac?
Shirataki can replace a spaghetti dish or decorate a soup, like classic vermicelli. They are kept in a liquid whose smell reminds that of fish: they must be put in a drainer and rinsed thoroughly with cold water so that they no longer smell anything. Then, just boil them for a few minutes (2 to 3 minutes depending on the brands in general), then drain them: easy! It then remains to accompany the shirataki well: zucchini rings, a chopped onion and a little pesto will do the trick, for example.
Kishimen can be used to replace classic tagliatelle, with just a good homemade tomato sauce, for example, or in a gratin. Like shirataki, they must be drained and rinsed thoroughly with cold water before being placed 2 to 3 minutes in boiling water.
The konjac gohan can replace rice in our dishes, to accompany a meat, a fish … It also allows to prepare tasty risottos (think the gohan risotto with mushrooms) or even desserts, like a “konjac rice cake”, much less caloric than the traditional version. On the preparation side, the same principle as for konjac pasta: drain, rinse well and immerse the gohan 2 to 3 minutes in boiling water.
Konjac gum looks pretty like cornstarch: it is mainly used to replace the fat in a recipe while thickening the preparation. As its taste is neutral, it can be used to thicken a mushroom sauce as well as in a chocolate cream for example. In general, it is recommended to pour the konjac gum in fine rain and to mix well to avoid lumps (a blender is the best). The preparation must then be left to stand for about fifteen minutes.
Konnyaku (photo) is a kind of elastic dough: you can cut it into pieces and eat it raw with a little wasabi, for example, or even sauté in a pan, with a little garlic and soy sauce… They also do wonders in soups. Again, it will first drain and rinse the konnyaku before using it.
Don’t abuse it!
Nothing prevents starting a konjac diet provided you do not abuse it, because in too large doses, glucomannan can cause diarrhea. It must also be absorbed at least one hour after oral medications, so as not to limit their absorption by the digestive system. If you have diabetes, seek medical advice. Konjac products in high doses can cause hypoglycemia. Finally, if you opt for food supplements, strictly follow the instructions for use to avoid side effects.
Read also :
> Our gourmet konjac recipes
> I tested for you: 3 weeks of konjac!
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