Wash the konyaku and cut into easily edible lengths. Boil the noodles for a few minutes to remove the astringency.
Cut the onion into wedge slices. Crush the garlic well with the back of your knife.
Put oil and crushed garlic into a pot and cook over medium heat until the garlic is aromatic. Add the onions and stir until they become transparent around the edges.
Add water and seasoning ingredients. When the liquid begins to boil, add in the meat. Stir to separate the meat so it floats freely in the broth, and cook through.
When the meat is fully cooked, add the shirataki noodles. Continue to simmer for about 10 minutes, lower from medium and low heat. Remove the scum from the surface as it develops.
After 10 minutes, taste the dish and adjust the seasoning with soy sauce etc. to your liking. Turn off the heat and allow the pot to sit as it is for 30 minutes. This will allow the konyaku to soak up flavour.
Reheat the pot again before serving. The dish is delicious by itself, or you can serve it over rice and garnish with pickled ginger and green onions.
Story Behind this Recipe
We made this dish at home to extend the beef in a beef bowl (to economize). Surprisingly, the konyaku noodles disappeared, but the meat still remained. We increased the amount of konyaku noodles...and as a result, we now call it "ito-konnyaku noodle (or shirataki noodle) bowl" rather than beef bowl! If you want, you can add only enough meat to lend flavour to the broth. The konyaku thread will soak it up and be the star of the show. This is my mother's recipe.
Make sure not to simmer for the entire time. Instead, turn off the heat and allow it to rest for 30 minutes to absorb the flavours. Instead of pork, try thinly sliced beef. In this case, use the same amount of meat, but omit the garlic. Onions add sweetness to the dish, so I did not add sugar. You can try adding sugar if you prefer a sweeter flavour.