All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Konnyaku to daizu no pirikarani / mildly spicy braised konnyaku yam cake and soybeans

The humble pair of soybeans and konnyaku get together for a simple, refined dish. The two ingredients are simmered with minimal seasonings, cooled, cooked again, cooled again, and reheated. The repetition allows both soybeans and konnyaku to absorb full flavoring without being taken over, which is a basic and proven technique for many nimono simmered dishes. Adapted from Tataki Konnyaku to Daizu no Nimono by Takashi Tamura, the owner chef of Tsukiji Tamura in Tokyo.

1/2 of recipe:
138 calories; 10.5 g protein; 6.0 g fat; 9.6 g carbohydrate; 4.0 g net carbs; 86 mg sodium (with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce; approx. 203-220 mg with regular soy sauce); 0 mg cholesterol; 5.6 g fiber


120 g boiled soybeans (50 g when dry; soaked overnight and simmered until soft, about 1 hour)
1/2 (100-130 g) konnyaku yam cake (120 g in photo)
1/2 taka no tsume red chili pepper (slices in photo)
200 cc dashi
1 tbsp sake + mirin (equal parts)
1/4 tsp rice vinegar
1 1/8 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp oil


Prep boil konnyaku (starting in cold water, boil for 1 minute).

Drain, and slap konnyaku against cutting board to soften texture. 
Make shallow crisscross cuts on top and bottom surfaces. 

Cut into somewhat small 7-8 mm thick rectangles.


Heat pot, and dry saute (without oil) konnyaku until moisture almost disappears.
Add oil, and continue sauteing.


When konnyaku is coated with oil and becomes toasty, add soybeans and taka no tsume, and continue sauteing until soybeans are coated with oil.


Pour dashi, sake, mirin and rice vinegar, and bring to boil.

Lower heat, add soy sauce, and place otoshibuta drop cover directly on konnyaku and soybeans; simmer on medium low heat until only small amount of broth is left.


Remove from heat, and completely cool.


Cook again, this time until broth is almost gone.
Completely cool.

Reheat before serving. 

  • Ingredients absorb flavor better when letting the half-done dish cool longer after Process 5 and again before final reheating. For this reason, the dish tastes much better the next day.
  • Making shallow cuts on konnyaku surface helps it to absorb flavor. The cutting process takes a bit of time but is well worth the effort.
  • If you prefer not to have anything spicy, skip taka no tsume. You can always sprinkle ichimi pepper on portions for those who prefer something spicy.
  • If you find this bland, try a topping of katsuobushi bonito flakes when serving, instead of adding more soy sauce or salt, especially if you are watching sodium intake. Dry toast katsuobushi in a frying pan before putting it over the dish to bring out the best aroma.


Tony said...

If soybeans are anything like navy beans, pinto beans etc. they would get tough if cooked from raw with acidic ingredients. I think this might be the reason they are simmered first in water to allow them to soften before cooking again with rice vinegar, sake, mirin etc.

neco said...

Hi Tony,

Thank you for the tip on cooking beans. I didn't know about the acidic ingredients and beans. For the above recipe, the simmer-rest-simmer process for flavoring is for any ingredients. Just like stews, a number of nimono simmered dishes taste better when prepared in advance and reheated. The process is often skipped at home mainly because it takes longer to prepare, but it works well to achieve satisfying, deeper and more refined taste without using additional seasonings (without adding more sodium than necessary).