Vegetables facts and Tips (12): Sansai/Japanese Wild Mountain Plants

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Following the recent posting on the all-vegetable dinner at Tomii, Rich nicely asked me for more information, especially concerning the names of wild edible plants found in Japan as he rightly recognized it could come very handy to vegans and vegetarians everywhere!

Now, I titled this particular posting “Sansai/Wild Mountain Plants”, because they also include wild fruit that can be eaten both as vegetables and fruit with various preparations.
Some can be boiled, others fried, prepared as tempura, cooked in soup, prepared as pickles or jam, etc.

As it would become far too big (already massive, but inexhaustive) a posting if I wrote everything, please pick up one item at a time if you want more explanations and I will write an individual article for your pleasure!

Here we go:
(No particular order)

ainu-negi-alium-victorialis
AINU NEGI: ALIUM VICTORIALIS

akebi-chocolate-vine
AKEBI: CHOCOLATE VINE

amadokoro-polygonatum-odoratum
AMADOKORO: POLYGONATUM ODORATUM

azami-thistle
AZAMI: THISTLE

fukinoto-giant-butterbur
FUKINOTO: GIANT BUTTERBUR

hamaboufuu-glhnia-littoralis
HAMABOUFUU: GLEHNIA LITTORALIS

hangonsou-senecio-cannabifolius
HANGONSOU: SENECIO CANNABIFOLIUS

hasukappu-lonicera-caerulea
HASUKAPPU: LONICERA CAERULEA/HASCUP

hikagehego-flying-spider-monkey-tree-fern
HIKAGEHEGO: FLYING SPIDER MONKEY TREE FERN

irakusa-urtica-thunbergiana
IRAKUSA: URTICA THUNBERGIANA

itadori-japanese-knotweed
ITADORI: JAPANESE KNOTWEED

katakuri-dogtooth-violet
KATAKURI: DOGTOOTH VIOLET

kiboushi-plantain-lily-hosta-fortinei
KIBOUSHI: PLANTAIN LILY HOSTA FORTINEI ( a variety of Hosta Montana)

kogomi-ostrich-fern
KOGOMI: OSTRICH FERN (exists as green and red)

koshiabura-ascathopanax-sciadophylloides
KOSHIABURA : ASCATHOPANAX SCIADOPHYLLOIDES

kuko-chinese-wolfberry
KUKO: CHINESE WOLFBERRY

kusagi-harlequin-glory-bower-peanut-butter-shrub2
KUSAGI: HARLEQUIN GLORY BOWER PEANUT BUTTER SHRUB

matatabi-silver-vine
MATATABI: SILVER VINE

mitsuba-japanese-honeywort
MITSUBA: JAPANESE HONEYWORT

nirinsou-anemone-flaccida
NIRINSOU: ANEMONE FLACCIDA

nobiru-alium-macrostemon
NOBIRU: ALIUM MACROSTEMON

oyamabokuchi-synurus-pungens
OYAMABOKUCHI: SYNURUS PUNGENS

ryoubu-clrthra-barbinervis
RYOUBU: CLERTHRA BARBINERVIS

sarunashi-actinia-arguta
SARUNASHI: ACTINIA ARGUTA

seri-japanese-parsley
SERI: JAPANESE PARSLEY

suberiyu-common-purslane
SUBERIYU: COMMON PURSLANE

takenoko-bamboo-shoots
TAKENOKO: BAMBOO SHOOTS (SPROUTS)

tanpopo-dandelion
TANPOPO: DANDELION

tara-no-me-aralia-elata
TARA NO ME: ARALIA ELATA

tsukushi-horsetail
TSUKUSHI: HORSETAIL

tsuroganeninjin-adenophora-triphylla
TSUROGANENINJIN: ADENOPHORA TRIPHYLLA

udo-aralia-cordata
UDO: ARALIA CORDATA

yamaudo
YAMAUDO: same as UDO (above)

urui-hosta-montana
URUI: HOSTA MONTANA

warabi-pteridium-aquilinum
WARABI: PTERIDIUM AQUILINUM

yamabudo-crimson-glory-vine
YAMABUDO: CRIMSON GLORY VINE

yamawasabi-wild-horseradish
YAMAWASABI: WILD HORSERADISH

zenmai-osmunda-japonica
ZENMAI: OSMUNDA JAPONICA

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Still have to find the English names for the following ones!

aiko
AIKO

akamizu
AKAMIZU

aomizu
AOMIZU

inudouna
INUDOUNA

shidoke
SHIDOKE

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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’09/30)

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Yesterday was a National Holiday in Japan, and we took the pportunity to share dinner at Lojol‘s place. We certainly ate (and drank) a lot as usual.
As the Missus was busy today, she prepared me a healthy lunch box to help my body ease up a bit!

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The main dish was very Japanese in concept: “Chirashizushi/Decoration Sushi”:
The rice had been steamed with a piece of konbu/seaweed and later mixed with dickled Japanese cucumber and daikon as well as with “Tobikko/Flying Fish roe”.
She then placed lemon juice-seasoned smoked salmon, boiled shrimps, square cut tamagoyaki, sliced black olives, Italian parsely from the verandah and home-made wasabi pickles.

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As for the salad: on a bed of shredded veg, cut mini tomatoes, boiled white asparaguses, sweet peas in their pods, lettuce, lemon and shredded cheese on which I poured dressing kept in the fridge at work!

Very healthy indeed, but quite a lot in fact!

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French Gastronomy on Stamps (23): Rhone-Alpes

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France has issued many stamps on food (not foodstamps!) on her own gastronomy for quite some time.
A new series will be issued on April 25th and wil be printed in the form of mini-sheets dedicated to a particular region with stamps, pics and explanations.
With the twenty-second of these sheets I’d like to introduce is Rhone-Alpes.

Rhone-Alpes is an administrative regions in France whose history is both ancient and new.
Rhone stands for the Rhone River which flows through Switzerland before taking a 90 degree turn towards the Mediterranean Sea. This region with the Saone River valley is the true start of France with a 2,500 plus year old history.
On the other hand, part of the Alpes/Alps, including Mont Blance was still Italian until the French governement bought it in the second half of the XIXth century!

It is an extremely rich region and the present sheet does not do it justice.
You can see:
-Fondue which shares its origins with Switzerland and French Jura. Originally a poorman’s winter fare invented by shepherds, it has expanded behind the French borders as a culinary specialty.
-Boucho restaurants in Lyon were originally inns where the wife was cooking and the husband serving. There are only under 20 authentic ones left in Lyon.

Naturally the region is deservedly famous for its many wines, cheeses and spirits distilled by monks in mountain monasteries.
Withe bourgogne it accounts for half of the best restaurants in France.
It is also the land of winter sports with already two Olympic Games staged there!

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Vegan & Vegetarian Feast at Tomii: Sansai/Japanese Wild Mountain Vegetables

tomii-veg1

It seems I can’t away from Tomii these days!
The reason (s) is (are) pretty simple:
This Japanese restaurant not only offers the best value for food (although a little expensive), but they scrupulously serve only seasonal culinary marvels!

tomii-veg2
“Sanbo”

Its young (33) second-generation chef-owner, Kazuya Tomii, has always been surprised to hear that many expat vegans or vegetarians had a hard time to find appropriate food in restaurants or even markets.

tomii-veg4
Vegetables and fruit from Shizuoka Prefecture

Having spent 6 years learning his trade in Tokyo, Kyoto, Gifu and Shizuoka before taking over in 2004, he knows very well there is plenty to savour for non-meat eaters!

tomii-veg3
Sansai/Japanese Wild Mountain Plants from Yamagata Prefecture

When I went there for dinner last Friday, he had just received a whole batch of “Sansai” from a relative in Yamagata Prefecture who owns a mountain (no joke) awash with these succulent wild plants!
I don’t have to tell you that I went vegetarian on that particular night!
I asked him to just prepare them away as he deemed best with some great local Shizuoka Sake!

Here is what I was served (I keep all the items in Japanese in case you have the occasion to find them. Asking in English would be very complicated. If needed, I will send a glossary to any friend who asks for it!):

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Hors d’oeuvres/starter:
From top clockwise
-Ginbo
-Ukogi
-Ichiya Kogomi

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Top: Amadokoro with white miso sauce
Bottom: Aka Kogomi

tomii-veg7
A better view of the sansai from Yamagata Prefecture!

tomii-veg8
Nice ware to serve hot sake in!

tomii-veg9

Udo and konyaku kimpira!

tomii-veg10

Sansai Tempura!
From left to right:
-Aka kogomi
-Tara no me
-Udo leaf
-Amadokoro (long stem)
-Koshiabura

Note: vegans, when making tempura, should use cornstarch instead of egg whites!

tomii-veg11

Agedashi yasai with mochi!
Now, this particular dish is absolutely vegan and vegetarian. Very satisfying!

I guarantee you I was full!

TOMII
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-cho, 1-2-7, Tomii Bldg, 1F
Tel.: 054-274-0666
Business hours: 17:00~22:00
Closed on Sundays
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

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French Gastronomy on Stamps (22): Pyrenees

timbres-gastronomie-pyrenees

France has issued many stamps on food (not foodstamps!) on her own gastronomy for quite some time.
A new series will be issued on April 25th and wil be printed in the form of mini-sheets dedicated to a particular region with stamps, pics and explanations.
With the twenty-first of these sheets I’d like to introduce is Pyrenees.

The Pyrenees is the area bordering the mountains separating France from Spain. My own mother came from the Gers near Auch.
In this particular case we talk about the area stretching from the south of the Central mountains to the Basque shores.
A rugged land with rugeed people, it is the land of rugby players.
No wonder people have some of the biggest appetites in France!

This sheet shows an interesting specialty: Gateau a la Broche, a soft cake cooked around a spit over a hot fire. Only takes a few hours to make!
Cheese, especially ewe cheese has to be tasted. In Basque country, they serve it in thin slices with cherry jam!
There are many succulent almost wines to be discovered along with foie gras.
Chocolate was first introduced to France by Basque sailors as well as chili peppers which are presently known as Espellettes.
Cassoulet is another specialty for big appetites. It takes at least four hours to cook the beans with tomatoes and pork (or duck, or goose)!

It is also the land of the Cathares which were wiped out during the Albigeois Crusade. Innumerable castles are still there to be seen along the mountains. Artists will be interested to know that Toulouse-Lautrec was born in Albi, not far from Toulouse!

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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’09/29)

bento-09-04-28-a1

I had a little argument with the Missus this morning when she refused to tell me what was included in one of the nigiri/rice balls.
-Secret! In any case, you should be able to find out when you eat it!
-Kudaranai!/Silly answer!, I replied.
-I’m silly! Fine, you can make your own bento next time!
-No problem!, I replied knowing fully well this was the best way to provoke her into making the next one. LOL

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The main part consisted of three nigiri: one containing seaweed, the second one umeboshi/pckled Japanese plum and pickled cherry blossom, the last one takuan/pickled daikon.

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The Missus had included a small pack of nori/dry seaweed.

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This way, the nori would be dry and crispy when eaten. The idea is either to wrap around the nigiri, or just hold it as a “sandwich”.

As for the garnish, the Missus prepared a small salad of lightly fried pimento and goya, mini chicken patties from last night dinner, tomato, lettuce and French pickles.

bento-09-04-28-c

As for the salad I got Japanese-style mimosa eggs on a bed of greens and Shizuoka “Beni Hoppe/red cheeks” strawberies for dessert.

Don’t to have another argument! LOL

My good friend Elin nicely asked me to include some pictures of flowers as it is Spring in Japan:

flower-tree3

That flowering tree is an “Ippei” originating from Brazil!

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French Gastronomy on Stamps (21): Provence-Cote d’Azur

timbres-gastronomie-provence-alpes-cotedazur1

France has issued many stamps on food (not foodstamps!) on her own gastronomy for quite some time.
A new series will be issued on April 25th and wil be printed in the form of mini-sheets dedicated to a particular region with stamps, pics and explanations.
With the twenty-first of these sheets I’d like to introduce is Provence-Cote d’Azur.

Provence is called such because it was the first “provincia/colony” officially recognized by the Roman Empire. Cote d’Azur is called such for its blue skies altough Italy claims the same with justification. After all Nice was still Italian until the second half of the XIXthe Century!

On this sheet you can see culinary specialties univesally known:
-Bouillabaisse, although the original one was only fish soup served with toasts (and mayonnaise if your were lucky, as this was a poor man’s food!).
-Herbs of Provence both used for food and perfume.

Other produce include olive oils, lavender, thyme and other herbs, and wine of course.
This particular land was fought over the ages not so much for its wealth, but for its harbours and wood. The Roman in fact cut the whole forest extending all over it 2,500 years to build their ships.
Reforestation was only begun in very late XIXth century!

had it not been for its tourist industry that was launchd after WWII, it could have stayed one of the poorest regions of France!

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