Cooking with Konyaku (The Zero Calorie Food)

If you are interested in dropping a few pounds without a dramatic diet change, try cooking with konyaku. Konyaku is a zero calorie gelatinous food that is made from ground Konjac plant or devil tongue root. Shiratake is also made from konyaku but in noodle form. Although Konyaku may not have the most appealing look or smell when right out of the bag, it can be transformed into delicious meals taking on the spice and flavors it is cooked. The bouncy and chewy texture give one something to bit into and is quite filling. It is also considered a gut sweeper helping to clean our the stomach and intestines. Low calorie and economical, trying one of the recipes below and enjoy! ** If you are feeding konyaku to a small child make sure to cut into small pieces to prevent choking.

Cooking with Konyaku

What is konyaku?

It is a gelatinous block of water and pulverized konnyaku powder. Konyaku is devil tongue root in the West which is a Devil Tongue Rootturnip-like root which blooms with a flower that people believe looks like a devil. Konyaku has no flavour in plain form, but some konyaku is now sold flavoured with citrus, miso or seaweed. Konyaku usually has zero calories but can have
up to 100 if seasons have been added. Konyaku has no sugar, fat, nor protein. It is 97% water and 3% fiber which helps the digestive system. It has a bouncy and chewy texture – cutting thinner cuts, or noodles are less chewy.

How to prepare konnyaku and shirataki for cooking?

Both konnyaku and shirataki come packed in water in plastic bags or containers. Konyaku is usually located next to the tofu in supermarkets. Open the package over the sink to drain and immediately rinse under water to remove the “odd”
smell. Once washed and trained and then lightly blanch in boiling water for 1-2 mins to remove the “odd” smell. Once the konyaku has been blanched, you can use in any of the recipes below. Blocks of konyaku can be cut into any shape desired for cooking. Shiratake (konyaku noddles) can be cut to desired lengths. Some Konyaku also sold in cool twists and shapes which are very pretty.

Konyaku can be cut and put in soups and dashi, sauteed, marinated and grilled, or eaten raw like sashimi. Experiment and find your favourite way, while cutting calories. If you have a favourite recipe of your own, add below.

Cooking with Konyaku

Konyaku Recipes

1.  Piri Piri Konyaku by Yutaka.coPiri piri konyaku – Piri Piri is the onomatopoeia for spicy. This dish is a great combination of daikon (Japanese radish) and konyaku with lots of spices. It is very filling and a textural due to cutting patterns into the side of the konyaku. This makes a great main dish for dinner. My teens really like this dish. Recipe here.

pork and konyaku rolls

2. Pork and Konyaku Rolls at – For the pork-loving family here is a great hearty recipe for dinner. Have not met a person yet who did not like these. Thin cut pork strips wrapped around blocks of konyaku. Very economical and also easy to whip together in 5 mins. Recipe here.

Beef and Konyaku

3. Simmered Konyaku with Beef by SeriousEa – If you love beef so much that you can not give it up completely but would like to reduce intake, try this recipe which is part beef and part konyaku. By marinating and also slightly charing the konyaku, you can fool a palate to think it is almost 100% beef. Details here.

Shiratake noodle rice4. Shiratake Noodle Rice by – I personally did not really believe this recipe until I tried it. You actually can fool your palate that you are eating rice, when in fact it is zero calorie shitake konyaku noodles. Replace the 200 calories in a bowl of rice with zero!  Honestly it works. Check out how.

spicy konyaku 5.  Spicy Konyaku and Enoki Mushrooms from I am a huge enoki mushroom lover so this recipe is one of my favourites. A great side dish with grilled fish or chicken. The complementing texture of the mushrooms and konyaku make it even more fun to eat. Check out the recipe here.

Cooking with Konyaku

Organized by Seasonality here are our favorite Japanese ingredients and recommend family friendly recipes. 


Japanese Gingko Nut Recipes (Ginnan – ぎんなん)

Japanese Persimmon Recipes – Autumn Shun

Japanese Sweet Potato Recipes

Nashi Japanese Pear – In Season Now – Best Recipes


Japanese Mushroom Recipes

Japanese Hot Pot Recipe – A Quick & Nutritious Winter Meal


Komatsuna Recipes – Spring Shun

Bamboo Recipes – Spring Shun (in season)!


Cooking with Okra

Our favorite places to shop for groceries!

Bikuri Vegtable (various locations in central Tokyo)

Organic shopping offline in Tokyo

Organic shopping online in Japan

Sakana no Bacca (Fish)

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