November 10, 2012

Kakinomoto (Omoinohoka)/かきのもと(おもいのほか)

Niigata is one of the few prefectures in Japan where people eat edible chrysanthemum flowers.  These flowers are called Kakinomoto (lit. "Under persimmons") in the Kaetu region (which includes Niigata city) of Niigata and Omoinohoka (lit. "Contrary to expectations") in the Chuuetsu region (which includes my city, Minami Uonuma).  Another name is Mottenohoka (lit. Outrageous), meaning that it is outrageous to have the Imperial crest (chrysanthemum).

Today, I bought 300 g Kakinomoto for 298 yen.

今日は、かきのもと300 gを298円で買いました。 
It's rather time-consuming separating each and every flower into petals.
I regretted that I had bought Kakinomoto today...  Anyway, I had to complete the job.
Boil water and add some vinegar.  Add all the petals.  Each petal is hollow, which gives it a unique texture, so it floats on the water, and you have to use a pair of chopsticks to cook all petals thoroughly.  One recipe says to boil 150 g Kakinomoto for 20-30 seconds, but I had to boil them for more than 1 minute because of the volume (300 g).
お湯を沸かして、お酢を少し入れます。花を全部入れます。花弁は中空で(それが独特な食感を生む)、水に浮くので、箸を使って、ちゃんと茹でる必要があります。或るレシピーでは、150 gのかきのもとを20~30秒茹でると書いてありますが、量が多いので(300 g)、1分以上茹でました。 
Drain, and cool in cold water.  Some recipes say to drain and cool with a fan.
The sauce is a mixture of:
1 cup (200 ml) dashi
6 tbsp (90 ml) say sauce
6 tbsp (90 ml) mirin.
出汁を1カップ(200 ml)
しょう油を大さじ6(90 ml)
みりんを大さじ6(90 ml)


Sissi said...

Amazing and so beautiful! I have already heard and even tasted the chrysanthemum leaves, but the flowers... In European fancy restaurants edible flowers have been in fashion for some time, but it's still a novelty that people rarely try at home. I am surprised to see that chrysanthemum flowers are eaten in Japan. How do you serve them? I mean with which dishes/food products?

Hiroyuki said...

Sissi: Just put some in a serving bowl, pour some sauce, and sprinkle some katsuobushi. That's the most common way of serving it. You can also make a sunomono (vinegared dish) with it.

Fräulein Trude said...

This blossoms are looking beautiful. I like the colour. But how time consuming to pluck each petal! Hope you enjoyed the taste after so much work. I am always kind of puzzled about edible and not edible chrysanthemums. Guess I will leave my yellow/golden blossoming chrysanthemums in the garden alone.

Sissi said...

Thank you for the explanation. I hope I will find such chrysanthemums here.

Anonymous said...

Hiroyuki-san, I had no idea that people cook the chrysanthemum flowers. Is it possible to use the kakinomoto flower petals to make tea? The yellow Chrysanthemum is normally used for tea. It has a very mild taste and is quite fragrant. I love to drink it when I eat dim sum!

Hiroyuki said...

Kiki: I did the job in less than ten minutes (probably five minutes or so) because I did it in an easy way: Just hold the lower green part (calyx?) in one hand, hold the petals in the other, and remove the green part by twisting it. A proper way is to pluck the petals, but leave the central petals, un-plucked, which are bitter.
View the photo under 2 here:

What really bothered me was my daughter, who said, "Muri" (Impossible), meaning, "It's impossible (for me to have them).
My son, on the other hand, devoured them.

Anonymous: Sorry, I don't know. I did some googling, but failed to find appropriate information. I suppose yellow mum tea is popular in China and Korea(?), but not in Japan.

Besides, in Japan, yellow mum flowers, such as these:
are popular as a garnish to sashimi.

Hiroyuki said...

Sissi: Forgot to mention: Kakinomoto can also be tempura'ed, but if so, the beautiful color will be lost.

Someone uploaded kakinomoto tempura here:

Sissi said...

Thank you for the link and the idea!

Sissi said...

The color is different (I have just clicked on the link) but the tempura looks beautiful!
By the way, I have seen today several episodes of Kodoku no Gurume. I have really enjoyed it! I like the sense of humour. I wish I could read it one day in Japanese... There was however something I wanted to ask you. I think it was a translation mistake... but maybe it's a question of Japanised Chinese cuisine?
It was the third or fourth episode with a Chinese restaurant and Dan Dan Noodles. They are supposed to come from Sichuan, where sansho pepper is not used only Sichuan pepper. In the film they add sansho pepper to the dish and not Sichuan pepper, but they translate into English as Sichuan pepper.
I have both peppers and they are two different plants, although maybe they are related (not only the colour is different, but also the taste).
Does Sichuan pepper exist in Japan? Is it always substituted by sansho? Sansho is hot but Sichuan pepper is only numbing (I don't find it hot).

Hiroyuki said...

Sissi: It was the third:

The answer is simple. Sichuan pepper is used, not sansho. In Japanese, Sichuan pepper is called Shisen (= Sichuan) sansho (四川山椒) or Chuugoku (= Chinese) sansho (中国山椒). Throughout the TV drama, they (main character, server, and others) all referred to Sichuan pepper simply as sansho. It's also called kasho (かしょう), the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word for Sichuan pepper (花椒).

Sissi said...

Thank you so much, Hiroyuki. I have heard the word "sansho" too and thought Chinese restaurants in Japn used sansho instead of Sichuan pepper maybe...
I have a very good Sichuan cookery book and now I cannot stop thinking of dan dan noodles ;-) I must try making them soon.