October 22, 2010

Komatsuna and Ohsakina Ohitashi/小松菜(コマツナ)と大崎菜のお浸し(おひたし)

On September 21, I planted three types of leaf vegetable seed, komatsuna, ohsakina, and spinach, in my rented farmland. On October 22, about one month later, they looked like this:

Unfortunately, I wasn't very successful with the spinach (bottom one ridge).

Ohsakina in two rows in one ridge:

Komatsuna in two rows each in two ridges:

As someone who was born and bred in Tokyo, I'm very familiar with komatsuna, and I like it. One of its great features is that it grows fast.
Ohsakina is a type of komatsuna that is very popular here in Niigata. Its cultivation dates back to 300 years ago, in the district called Ohsaki in the present Minami Uonuma city. Hence the name ohsakina. The same is true of komatsuna, whose cultivation is said to have started near Komatsugawa, Tokyo, in the early Edo period.

For me and many other Japanese, ohitashi is simply boiled leaf vegetable eaten with soy sauce (or ponzu) and katsuobushi (dried bonito shavings). Strictly speaking, however, ohitashi is leaf vegetable boiled and then soused in dashi/mirin/soy sauce.

Right: Boiled ohsakina
Left: Boiled komatsuna


Anonymous said...

Dear Hiroyuki san,

I could not find anything about ohsakina on the web. Guess it is some sort of Brassicaceae juncea, must be very local.
I like this kind of japanese style cooked leave vegatables very much. Therefore I grow japanese "greens" in my garden. for salad leaves or cooked dishes. Some have a very intense taste as a red vained sort of Brassica juncea.
Hope your spinach will recover soon. Here, in my region, the gardening seasons has come to its end. It is way too cold, first snow in the mountains. I will plant some new spring bulbs and harvest the last quinces (way too much this season) and that it was for this year.

Hiroyuki said...

Kiki: As I said in the post, it's a type of komatsuna, so I guess it's Brassica rapa something... And, yes, it's very local, and many local people here in Niigata love it. More on ohsakina later in another post.

I think I'll try an authentic ohitashi recipe in the near future, and I hope you compare it with your recipe.

Here in my area, the growing season lasts until late November. My father, who lives in Chiba prefecture, where snow seldom falls, grows vegetables all year round!