A type of gelatinous black bean curd or yam cake. It is processed from the taro-like, glutinous root of konnyaku yams or 'devil's tongue' (snake palm) into either solid, gelatinous, brownish cakes or into ito-konnyaku, i.e. spaghetti-like threads. The tubers are peeled, pounded vigorously, boiled and the curd precipitated out. It is calorie-free, is 90% water and helps cleanse the digestive system. Konnyaku is valued more for its spongy texture than flavour and is cut into strips and added to vegetable soups, salads and simmered dishes. It can either be unrefined, in which case it is a dirty grey, or refined by bleaching and filtering, in which case it is pearly white and comes in several different shapes. It is also available in tins.