Designing a Sustainable and Stretchable “Fox Testicle” Ice Cream
Salep dondurma is a Turkish ice cream known for its stretchiness and chewiness. It is traditionally made with sweetened goat's milk and salep flour, a powder ground from the roots of the Orchis mascula (an orchid indigenous to Anatolia, Turkey). The roots of the plantare called salep, a name derived from the Turkish word for “fox testicle,” alluding to their appearance and putative aphrodisiac and virility-enhancing qualities. Salep dondurma literally means “fox testicle ice cream.” Today, it is nearly impossible to obtain, outside of Turkey, authentic salep flour after the Turkish government restricted its export due to reports of declining orchid populations. In response, researchers tested konjac flour as a substitute for salep flour. Konjac flour is commonly used in Japanese cuisine to produce a kind of gel called konnyaku, which can be made into noodles called shirataki. Side-by-side comparisons revealed that konjac dondurma matched the taste, chewiness, and stretchiness of salep dondurma. Testers familiar with dondurma as produced in Turkey confirmed that the stretchiness and chewiness of konjac dondurma resembled the Turkish original.
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