Get the Life Force of Wild Plants 山菜の生命力をいただく

by Pen Name Mr. Chemical (Kenji Sakamoto)

About 4 months passed since December, the season of budding comes to Yamano of Shimokita where was closed by thick snow.


In the past, during the winter that buried under the snow, vegetables were taken in the form of preservable food as pickles.


Therefore, Na + (sodium ion) was increased in the body and it tended to be hypertensive.

そのため体内には、Na+(sodium ion)が多くなり、高血圧になりがちでした。

When it comes to spring, people start taking sprout wrapped vegetables. K + (potassium ion) contained in the wild vegetables excrete extra Na +.

春になって、芽吹き始めた山菜を摂るようになると、山菜に含まれるk+(potassium ion)が、余分なNa+を排泄してくれます。

People in northern countries have gotten this nature conscience without knowing it, and have repeated it from generation to generation.


My wife likes harvesting wild vegetables, she remembers when and where, what kind of wild plants are.


I was exclusively dedicated for cooking, so when I go to the mountain I just follow my wife.


Recently, frequent appearing of bears has been broadcasted on news, so I do not deeply enter in the mountains. I am fine for places about 10 minutes away by car, but it doesn’t seem that my wife is satisfied.


Well, when around this time comes, since various wild plants are on the shop at local supermarkets, I look forward to going from shop to shop. So that, this time we will introduce wild plant cuisine.


From the left in the photo, Fuki (Giant Butterbur), Udo (oudo or spikenard), Sidoke, Princess Bamboo Shoot (boiled) Coasiabra.


Scald it and put it into cold water.
Some are soaked in dashi soup.
Some are suitable for tempura.
Some are peered the skin and boiled then mixed with vinegar miso.
Some are cooked with rice… etc., So exciting when I think about the recipes and then adrenaline will be overflowing.


The first thing to do is to prepare dashi (Japanese soup stock). Usually kelp from Ohma or Shiriya and grilled-dry sardine from Wakinosawa-mura are used for taking umami.
This soup stock will be the basis of Oihitashi (boiled vegitables), cooked rice, and Tempra-tsuyu (soy sauce seasoning).


Prepare rice cooked with Hime bamboo shoots, carrot, deep-fried tofu.


Add mirin (sweet sake), sake, soy sauce and dashi(Japanese soup stock) to the rice and cook normally.


Wash rice and bring out to a basket.
Drain it for 30 minutes.
Put in a saucepan.
Add an appropriate amount of dashi and scatter ingredients on the surface of rice.


The important thing is not to mix ingredients with rice.
Be sure to stir the whole rice after cooking.


The photo on the right, from the upper left, Udo sprouts, Coasiapla long eggplants, seasoned roots of Moso bamboo (thick-stemmed bamboo).


Japanese sake or white wine would be nice for Tempura.


Moso bamboo ‘s heads were used for another dish.
The remaining hard roots were boiled in dashi and noodle soup until the taste soaked. Drained the water off. Covered it with flour and deep fried in oil.


Because the material has a taste, you can just leave it.


The lower left of Tempura is Udo mixed with vinegar miso soup. The middle lower is Hime Bamboo Shoots, carrot and boiled fried-tofu. The last dish is Tempura dipping sauce.


Generally speaking, plants cannot walk away from UV (Ultraviolet). So that it contains a variety of phytochemicals (functional ingredients of plants) on the surface of plants to protect the body from UV.


As my opinion, we start eating wild vegetables in spring, it is because to incorporate this functional ingredient that the plant possesses into our bodies and try to fight against the UV that will become stronger from now on.



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