Thursday, May 16, 2013

Veggies and a Soup from Tokyo

Lately, this vegetable has been on the menu quite a bit - bok choy, or chingensai as it's called in Japan. It's one of the cheaper green veggies available in supermarkets in Tokyo, and I love the mild, juicy flavor. This vegetable is a great source of vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, and many more vitamins and minerals. Back in college, I often used to cook it stir fried with mushrooms and meat, adding some seasoning such as oyster sauce. Lately though, I take a much simpler route and just boil it lightly for a few minutes, then dress it with ponzu sauce. The key is not to let it overcook and get too soft and mushy! The crunchy, juicy leaves are amazing.


 These bright yellow-orange, slimy mushrooms are called nameko, and nameko miso soup is one of my favorites to make. I must admit I had my doubts about these weird-looking mushrooms at first, even being the mushroom lover that I am! But now I can't get enough of them. Like natto, nameko might have a flavor that takes some getting used to for those unfamiliar with them, but they are quite healthy and so yummy! They sell smaller ones and large ones in Japanese supermarkets, but I have grown quite fond of the large nameko variety :) Try them out for yourself if you haven't! (I'm not sure if nameko are available overseas, but I sure hope they are!)