Japan Nagaimo, otherwise known as Japanese Yam, Huai Shan or Yamaimo, is made up of elongated cylindrical roots with rough textured skin.
It's pale earth tones conceal a snow white flesh that is crisp and nearly tasteless. Although crisp when whole, when grated, the flesh becomes glue-like due to its high mucilage content, which allows the root to store water. Its sticky texture and glutenous properties give this root its greater placement within the kitchen.
The nagaimo is sometimes referred to as "mountain medicine" and is used for medical purporses in Chinese medicine. It is also known to help reduce high blood pressure, regulate digestion and relieve fatigue. It may help lower cholesterol levels and acts as a tonic for general vitality.
Since the nagaimo contains high levels of amylase and other digestive enzymes, it can help to digest starchy foods, such as rice eaten with it. Here is a breakdown of various nutrients found in nagaimo and the health benefits they provide.
For Nagaimo recipes, click here.