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Shiso

Shiso

A basil-like green shiso leaves (also called ohba) is a common Japanese herb. They are often sliced into thin ribbons to be used as a condiment of cold somen noodles or hiyamugi noodlesduring summer. The leaves have distinctive refreshing aroma. Other than used as condiments, a whole leaf can be lightly battered and fried as a […]

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Yuzu

Yuzu

Yuzu is Asian citrus fruit, widely used in Japanese cuisine. It’s also used for Chinese and Korean cuisine. You might have not seen it, but it’s getting popular in the United States, as high-end restaurants started to use the fruit in recent years. The characteristic of yuzu is in its rind. Unmistakable unique refreshing aroma […]

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Aonori

Aonori

Aonori is a type of seaweed. I used to think that when sheet type nori is crushed, it becomes confetti like green aonori flakes. But two seaweed actually belong to two different family. Aonori is often used as garnish, on top of okonomiyaki, yakisoba, yakiudon, takoyaki, etc. Sometimes, it’s mixed in tempura batter, so that […]

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Kuromame Beans and Black Turtle Beans

Kuromame Beans and Black Turtle Beans

Kuromame beans are one of the important osechi ryori, Japanese new years food items. Just like many other cooked beans in Japan, they are sweet. However, unlike adzuki beans, kuromame beans are handled more carefully. Properly cooked kuromame beans are big, plump, shiny, black, soft, unbroken without wrinkles. Americans may not be familiar with kuromame […]

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Lotus Roots

Lotus Roots

Lotus roots season is from fall to spring. It’s a common vegetable in Asian countries. When the root is cut, you will see many holes, usually eight or nine. It changes color quickly when it’s cut and the internal flesh is exposed to the air. In order to prevent the oxidization, sliced or cut lotus […]

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Kabocha Squash

Kabocha Squash

Kabocha squash is a winter squash which is widely eaten in Japan. A very good quality kabocha has a texture of potato that gives rich and sweet flavor when cooked. Unlike other winter squashes, kabocha squash has much lower water content, and hard green outer skin is edible. Many stewed Kabocha recipe intentionally leave the […]

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Negi

Negi

A negi is a type of  long onion, which is somewhat in between scallion and leek. It’s used for stewing, grilling and garnish. It is a common long onion in Japan, but some people refer to it as Kanto negi, because it’s widely eaten in Tokyo area. For some reason, it is one of the […]

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Nameko

Nameko

I usually write about food when I found, ate, or cooked. But I actually have never seen nameko in the United States. They are popular common mushrooms in Japan, as well as shiitake, shimeji, and enoki mushrooms. According to wiki and other sources, they are called butterscotch mushrooms in the U.S. They are usually sold […]

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Shimeji Mushrooms

Shimeji Mushrooms

Japan is a humid country and mushrooms grow well. Shiitake, shimeji, matsutake, enoki, nameko are the most popular and commercialized mushrooms in Japan. Shiitake, shimeji, and enoki can be found in the United States at Asian grocery stores. Shimeji can grow big like shiitake, but commercially available ones are always small and sold in a […]

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Pressed Barley

Pressed Barley

Pressed barley is called oshimugi in Japanese. It’s just like rolled oats. By flattening the barley, it can be cooked quicker. Until around the beginning of the 20th century, many Japanese ate rice only on special occasions. It was barley or millet that regular people ate everyday. As they even didn’t have pressed barley, it […]

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Satoimo (Eddoe or Taro)

Satoimo (Eddoe or Taro)

Taro or Eddoe is called satoimo in Japan. When the first time I saw them at my neighborhood grocery store, I was surprised. The root vegetable which I previously thought uniquely Japanese was actually eaten all over the world. It is one of the widely eaten taro in Eastern Asia, South Asia, India, West Indies, […]

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Fresh Shiitake Mushrooms

Fresh Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms can be harvested in spring, fall, and winter. Particularly spring harvested mushrooms have thicker meat, and are more fragrant. You don’t need to go through elaborate cooking process to enjoy shiitake mushrooms. Just cut the stamps off close to the cap (stamps are too tough to chew), simply grill them, and drop a […]

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