Devil's tongue shiratake

Jim McKenney
Sat, 27 Aug 2005 06:10:00 PDT
I recently bought a remaindered copy of Bruce Cost's Asian Ingredients, A
Guide to the Foodstuffs of China, Japan, Korea Thailand and Vietnam. I
bought it because in glancing through it quickly, I noticed that scientific
names were included for these foodstuffs - and from what I could see at
first glance, they were current, accurate scientific names (although
sometimes misspelled). The occasionally bewildering plenty of unfamiliar
greens now appearing in local markets had me looking for just such a book.


How is this related to the PBS list? Well, I've known for decades that
various Amorphophallus were used as vegetables. But I have never seen a
specific use mentioned. Cost seems to mention one; there is a Japanese
preparation he mentions under the name shiratake. Here's what he says:
"Other Japanese noodles include.shiratake ("white waterfall"), made from the
starch of a plant called "devil's tongue"."  Curiously, in this instance a
scientific name is not given, and I'm assuming that the "devil's tongue" in
question is Amorphophallus


Does anyone else know of any specific culinary uses of these plants? 


Jim McKenney

Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where I wonder if the name
"devil's tongue" comes from the appearance of the inflorescence or from the
effect the raw tuber presumably has on the unsuspecting tongue - assuming
that it's as chock full of oxalic acid crystals as our local

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