Friday, February 19, 2010

Kogomi コゴミ

I'm on a roll so why not post another recipe lol.

Kogomi are the tender sprouts of the ostrich fern or fiddlehead fern.  It might weird you out to think of eating a fern but these are one of the most delicious plants you can sink your teeth into in the spring!  But you can usually only get them for about 3-4 weeks once you see them start popping up in the supermarket so make sure you grab them when you do see them!

They taste like a cross between asparagus and brussel sprouts, making them an easy addition to pastas, sautes, and so on (as my students would say).  In Japan they tend to be included in salads, tempura, and stewed dishes.

How to Prepare
With kogomi you want to cut off the bottom inch of the stem where it has hardened and then give them a quick rinse.  From there you can fry, saute, stew, basically any way you would prepare asparagus you can also prepare kogomi.

Easy Kogomi Recipe

Garlic sprouts are easy to include in just about any recipe.  This stir-fry recipe is super easy and only takes about 45 minutes to make including marinating time.

Kogomi Pasta
Makes 2 servings

Prep Time: About 45 minutes

  • 8-10 kogomi heads
  • enough pasta for 2 people (about 150 grams)
  • 5-6 small shiitake mushrooms, destemmed and sliced, or maitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1.     Add kogomi to a large pot of boiling salted water. Cook until just crisp-tender. Transfer to bowl of cold water using slotted spoon. Cool kogomi slightly to stop it from cooking and drain. 
2.     Add pasta to same pot of water and boil until just tender but still firm to bite.  Drain well.
3.    Heat olive oil over medium heat in a saucepan.  Add onions and saute until starting to brown.
4.    Add garlic and saute 1 minute.
5.   Add mushrooms and lemon juice and saute until just starting to become tender.
6.  Add kogomi and pasta.  Stir well.
7.  Add cheese and stir until full incorporated.
8. Finished!

Ninniku no Me にんにくの芽

Ninniku no me is the Japanese name for garlic sprouts.  These greens are super tasty with a light garlic flavor.  They are usually sold in packs in the refrigerated section and are a versatile vegetable.
How to Prepare
Garlic sprouts are similar to asparagus in texture and can be used in the same ways.  Simply cut them down to whatever size you want and start cooking.  Garlic sprouts can be a little tough when raw so it’s best to cook them first, though if chopped finely they can be thrown in with salad or fresh spring rolls.  I most often use them in stir fries and sautés cut into bite sized pieces.

Easy Garlic Sprouts Recipe

Garlic sprouts are easy to include in just about any recipe.  This stir-fry recipe is super easy and only takes about 45 minutes to make including marinating time.

Garlic Sprouts Stir-fry
Makes 2-3 servings

Prep Time: About 45 minutes

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar 米酢
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil ゴマ油
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper とうがらし
  • about 200 grams chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch コーンスターチ
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps quartered
  • 1 colored bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1/2 package garlic sprouts, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup matchstick sized carrot strips
  • 1/2 cup broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces

1.     Whisk first 5 ingredients in medium bowl to blend.
2.     Add chicken and stir to coat; let marinate 30 minutes.
3.     Drain, reserving marinade in small bowl. Whisk 1/4 cup water and cornstarch into marinade.
4.     Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
5.     Add chicken and sauté until golden, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer chicken to plate.
6.     Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet.
7.     Add mushrooms and stir-fry until tender, about 3 minutes.
8.     Add carrots, broccoli and garlic greens; stir-fry 2 minutes.
9.     Add bell peppers; stir-fry 2 minutes.
10.  Add garlic and ginger; stir-fry 30 seconds.
11.  Return chicken to skillet; drizzle reserved marinade mixture over everything.
12.  Stir-fry until marinade thickens slightly, about 30 seconds. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
13.  Finished! 

Gobo ごぼう

Sorry I haven't posted in ages!  Things have been pretty hectic here with the end of the school year coming up.  To make up for it I'll do two posts tonight :)

Gobo is Japanese burdock and the big, dirt-covered root things you see in the supermarket.  It has a nice crunch and almost nutty flavor.  You'll often see it in school lunch and in Japanese restaraunts in various forms.  My personal favorite is fried gobo you will sometimes find in izakayas.  If you are lazy like me, you can find gobo that has already been cleaned and julienned in bags near the bean sprouts and bamboo shoots.  But it's kind of expensive to buy it that way so it's really better to buy it fresh and prepare it yourself.
How to Prepare
It's important to thoroughly clean gobo before you use it.  Scrub the gobo with hot water until you have gotten most of the dirt off of it.  Then you want to take a knife and scrap off the outer skin of the gobo to remove any remaining dirt.  Usually gobo is cut into matchstick sized pieces but you can also chop, dice, etc.  It will just take longer to cook done that way.

After you have cut your gobo up into matchstick sized pieces, it's important to allow the gobo to soak in water for at least 10 minutes.  If you don't do this, the gobo will have an overwhelmingly strong taste.  10 minutes should do the trick but it's okay to allow it to soak for longer.

Easy Gobo Recipe

There are tons of ways to use gobo, though you will usually find it in soups, stir-fries, and Japanese-style salads.  Here is a simple vegetable soup that can be made with gobo.   From start to finish, this soup takes about 25 minutes to prepare.

Kenchin Soup
Makes 4 servings

Prep Time: About 1 hour

  • 1 block tofu
  • 6cm length of daikon radish
  • 1/2 a carrot
  • 3 shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/3 stalk gobo
  • 1/2 block konnyaku こんにゃく
  • 1 sheet fried tofu 油揚げ
  • 3 taro roots 里芋 (can substitute baby sized potatoes)
  • 1/2 bundle Japanese mustard spinach 小松菜
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 teaspoons dashi (fish stock)
  • 1.5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sake
1.     Drain water from the tofu.
2.     Cut daikon and carrot into thin half moon shaped slices.   
3.     Destem the mushrooms and cut caps into quarters.
4.     Cut gobo into thin, round slices and place in water for 10 minutes. Drain water.
5.     Peel the skin from the taro roots, salt the outside of the taro, allow to sit for a minute and then wash the taro.
6.     Cut the konnyaku into large bite-sized pieces.  Wash thoroughly.
7.     Place the fried tofu into boiling water until most of the oil has been removed from the tofu.  Remove from the water and cut into bite-sized pieces.
8.     Heat oil in the soup pot over medium-high.  Add daikon, carrots, mushrooms, gobo, taro, konnyaku, and fried tofu to the pot.  Stir fry for about two minutes.
9.     Add dashi and water to the pot.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat so the water is simmering.  Skim the top of the soup once every couple of minutes to remove any scum that rises to the top. 
10.  While soup is simmering, cut the drained tofu into 4cm blocks.  Separate out the bunch of Japanese mustard spinach.
11.  Add tofu and spinach to the pot.  Add soy sauce, salt, and pepper to the pot. 
12.  Remove pot from heat once tofu has heated through.
13.  Finished!