April 14, 2010

Fukinoto (Butterbur Sprout) Tempura/フキノトウの天ぷら

Yesterday, my wife's sister gave us these fukinoto (butterbur sprouts). She said that her husband, who had retired from his company at the age of 60, picked them up while taking a walk that morning.

I had almost given up having fukinoto tempura in this season. My wife used about the half of them to make tempura.


tama Matsuoka said...

do you know that chef masa (the most expensive restaurant in NYC) is serving these along with agedashi tofu. had some for lunch yesterday at Bar Masa in NYC and it was really delicious.

Hiroyuki said...

tama Matsuoka: Chef masa? No, I didn't. It's interesting to know that, especially because fukinoto are a cheap delicacy here in my rural area around this time of year and agedashi dofu (or tofu) is an inexpensive menu item at izakaya.
Some people may think that fukinoto are bitter and are not particulary tasty. What these people neglect is that fukinoto herald the coming of spring and many people feel that they just have to have some while they are in season.

Amato said...

I have some fuki boiled down in shoyu(already made, did order in Japan) I never had this vegetable before( didnt eat yet). I have read, you can substitute it with green celery stalks, is this true?
It looks very interesting.

Hiroyuki said...

Amato: You mean you have kyarabuki or something?
See the photo here:
Celery?? Hmmmm.... If you like the flavor, but I really don't think there can be a good substitute for fuki.

tama Matsuoka said...

chef masa is not interested in making itadori BUT Eddy Leroux, Daniel Boulud's chef de cuisine in New York City, is very interested. He may make some type of dessert....if there is a recipe I will send to you.

Hiroyuki said...

tama Matsuoka: You are in a position to talk to Chef Masa and other famous chefs??!! I'd appreciate it if you could send me a recipe!

tama Matsuoka said...

ok....what would you like a recipe on? itadori, fiddlehead.....

Hiroyuki said...

tama Matsuoka: I'd like to have recipes on both (laugh), but you if you ask me, I think I'll prefer a fiddlehead recipe because fiddleheads are one of my most favorite sansai.

Unknown said...

Hiroyuki-san, Eddy Leroux chef at Daniel in NYC makes the fiddlehead same way as you, lightly steamed, but he does slice it thinly and add it to salad. He also likes the tempura of yomogi (mugwort/artemisia). I will post photos of his yomogi dishes on my meadowsandmore.com website since I cannot post them to your blog.

Hiroyuki said...

forum: Thanks for your comment. Now I know who you are!
forum = tama Matsuoka

Hiroyuki said...

tama Matsuoka: I'm terribly sorry that I didn't visit your website the first time you mentioned it in my blog! Now I know who you are.
I did some googling and found some sites referring to you, such as
Meadows rather than lawns... That IS a great idea! I hope I can solve my problem with my small yard by applying your idea!

tama matsuoka said...

Hi Hiroyuki san. Yomogi is now going to be on the menu at restaurant Daniel. I also read that it is used in daifuku and yokan. Do you have any good recipes? There is a LOT of yomogi in the US.

tama Matsuoka said...

the other question I have is about [only know the latin name) berberis thunbergii..we call it Japanese barberry....do you have any recipes or knowledge about it?

Hiroyuki said...

tama Matsuoka: That's great!

Yomogi daifuku and yokan: The former is quite popular, while the latter is, I think, is much less popular. I may be wrong, but I personally haven't eaten yomogi yokan.
There may be hundreds of recipes for yomogi daifuku, and here is just one example (Japanese only):
I hope your relatives in Osaka will help you with translation.
I found one recipe for yomogi yokan (again, Japanese only):

In Japan, young leaves of yomogi are picked up only in spring. I wonder if you can collect young leaves in fall.

berberis thunbergii: I knew nothing about this plant, but I can goggle (laugh).

It's called megi in Japanese.
megi = me (= eye) + gi (< ki = tree)

According to this site

It was infused to make eye lotion.

The site also says:
In Japan, megi stems are called shoubaku, and are used as bitter stomachic.
Also, leaves and stems are infused to make eye location to heal bloodshot eyes and inflammation.

I can't find any information about its culinary uses.

tama Matsuoka said...

thank you. I will ask my relatives on the daifuku. if you mow the yomogi so that it does not flower and get old...it is great until late fall. in europe people eat the leaves until after frost.

the european barberry (berberis vulgaris) is used a lot...pickled dried etc. the japanese barberry...people are starting to eat here in the US to make in to jam and jelly...it has a tart taste. too bad no one in Japan is eating it!!