• image

Here’s an excerpt from The Japanese Food Report about Kabu (we call them Tokyo Turnips)

Turnips, daikon, beets and radishes aren’t only about the tasty bulbous root — the leaves are just as important. I’m always a little amazed (incredulous) to see these delicious greens trimmed at my local New York City farmers market, at a shopper’s request. C’mon. In Japanese cooking, where the credo motainai, don’t waste, reigns, the leaves are integral. But why, you ask, the leafy soliloquy? Well, my wife and I planted a bunch of lovely kabu (Japanese turnips) this spring which we’re now happily harvesting (along with a bounty of crunchy Japanese cukes — but our eggplant seeds never sprouted, too bad!). So we’re cooking a ton of kabu, leaves, roots and all. Kabu miso soup is fantastic (simmer the stems and sliced root in dashi until tender, along with thinly sliced abura age (deep fried tofu), add the chopped leaves to just cook through, kill the fire, dissolve miso of choice (Hatcho is amazing with kabu, but so is a nice rustic red miso), and serve). And so are lightly cured kabu pickles. Here are three easy, super-fast methods:

Yuzu Kosho/Lemon Kabu Pickles
2 kabu, leaves and roots
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon yuzu kosho

Thinly slice the kabu root, and chop the stems and leaves into bite-sized pieces. Mix together with the salt, lemon juice and yuzu kosho. Yuzu kosho, in case you don’t know, is one of my favorite Japanese ingredients, an incredibly aromatic mingling of fiery chilies and tangy yuzu citrus peel. I can’t live without it. If you want more heat, add more yuzu kosho (I went easy). Also, taste and adjust proportions for all ingredients depending on the size of your kabu. (Use your judgment, which I know is fine!) Let the kabu sit for at least an hour, then serve (overnight in the fridge cures it further).

Shio Kombu Kabu Pickles
2 kabu, leaves and roots
2 pinches shio kombu
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar

Thinly slice the kabu root, and chop the stems and leaves into bite-sized pieces. Shio kombu is dried slivers of salted kombu, an intensely umami-rich condiment (great to mix with steaming rice, too). Mix together all the ingredients. If you want a bigger umami blast add more kombu. Also, taste and adjust proportions for all ingredients depending on the size of your kabu. (Use your judgment, which I know is fine!) Let the kabu sit for at least an hour, then serve (overnight in the fridge cures it further).

Shio Kombu-Shoyu-Mirin Kabu Pickles
2 kabu, leaves and roots
1/2 Japanese cucumber, sliced as thinly as possible (optional) 2 pinches shio kombu
3 drips shoyu (Japanese soy sauce)
1 teaspoon mirin

Thinly slice the kabu root, and chop the stems and leaves into bite-sized pieces. Mix together all the ingredients. Taste and adjust proportions for all ingredients depending on the size of your kabu. (Use your judgment, which I know is fine!) The idea here, by the way, isn’t to overwhelm with shoyu. But if the three trips don’t seem do to the trick, drip in a little bit more, I won’t tell anyone… Let the kabu sit for at least an hour, then serve (overnight in the fridge cures it further).

 Related Posts