Japanese Vegetables 6: Leeks


Leeks, or “negi/葱” in Japanese, are an almost universal vegetable.
It is used in cuisine at restaurants and homes on all continents and have been recognized for ages as very beneficial plant.

Recent research has demonstrated that they are an effective cure against colds in particular, not only for humans, but for many animals, too.
Some people do not appreciate them because of their pungent smell and taste, but this can be taken care of with a couple of simple steps.

Back home in France, we boil the central part of fat leeks and eat them under the name of “poor man’s asparaguses”!

-Season: leeks can be bought all year round, but the best season is from November to February in the Northern Hemisphere.

-Analytic data (as per 100g):

Energy: 28 kcal
Water: 91.7 g
Carbohydrates: 7.2 g

Inorganic qualities:
Potassium: 180 mg
Calcium: 31 mg
Manganese: 0.10 mg
Phosphorus: 26 mg
Iron: 0.2 mg
Zinc: 0.3 mg

B1: 0.04 mg
B2: 0.04 mg
B6: 0.11 mg
C: 11 mg
Folic acid: 56 microg.

Dietary fibers: 2.2 g

-Fatter specimens will have more taste.
-Choose specimens with a “wet” bottom cut.
-If you use large specimens raw in salads, first cut 5~8 cm long sections, then cut them thin lengthwise and leave them some time in clean cold water. The pungency will greatly diminish.
-To chop leeks for cooking, cut them first in 5~10 cm sections, then cut them thin lengthwise, and only then, chop them crosswise.


-Combined with Judas’ Ear Mushrooms, or sardine, or mackerel, or seaweed, holps lower blood cholesterol and high blood pressure, and prevents blood vessels hardening.

-Combined with umeboshi/Japanese pickled plums, or Japanese sake, or ginger, or shiso/perilla, helps prevent and cure colds, combats ageing and helps recovery from diseases.

-Combined with onion, or cucumber, or garlic, or Judas’ Ear mushrooms, helps blood flow and combats blood clotting.

-Combined with seaweed/wakame, or sweet potato, or lotus root, helps combat constipation and obesity.

There are innemurable varieties in the World, but I will introduce here the main varieties encountered in Japan:

The most common and popular variety. Also called “Nefukanegi”

“Hakata Manno”:
A choice specimen raised in Kyushu Island

“Me” or “Hime”:
Could be called leek sprouts,too.
Eaten raw in salads, sushi, finger foods.

“Ito” or Thread Leek, used in the same way as “Me/Hime”.

“Koshizu”, another common and popular variety.

A choice specimen originting from Kyoto.

“Kujo Hoso”. Same as above, but a lot thinner.

A short fat specimen popular for “nabe” and soups.

A fat variety with a short stem and long leaves. Popular with soups and “nabe” (Japanese-style pot-au-feu)

“Sakutonosama Negi”
A variety of the above. Turne sweet upon beig cooked.

“Aka Negi”
Red Leeks in Japanese, soft with little pungency. Considered as a delicacy.

Spring onion, a cross between onion and leek. Very popular in salad and as sesaoning.


From Tochigi Prefecture. Fat and short, their scent and taste are different. Turn sweet with frost.

“Sendai magari Negi”
From Miyagi Prefecture. These leeks bend naturally as they grow!

“Kannon Negi”
From Hiroshima City.

From Yamagata and Akita Prefectures. Very popular cooked with eggs or meat.

Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Chrisoscope, Agrigraph, The Agriculture Portal to shizuoka!

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4 thoughts on “Japanese Vegetables 6: Leeks”

  1. Thank you so much for the answer and for the suggestion. In fact, I tried chives flowers tempura last weekend (I tried several things, since I had a bit too much batter) and somehow it was weird: dry flowers dripping with fat, not crunchy at all. Maybe I should try once more with a thicker batter… I will keep on making experiments, it’s a pity to use them only as a decoration. (By the way, thank you for your visit on my humble blog, I always appreciate new visitors, especially such experts as you 🙂 )


    1. Dear Sissy!
      Upon checking I found out that the Japanese growers do not sell chives with their flowers as the chives themselves become too hard for their taste.
      Now, an idea would be to stew them with meat as they would still contribute taste!


  2. And when I think I was boasting I had two types of chives growing on my balcony… This list is incredible. The last one looks very mysterious and crunchy. Do you happen to know what to do with chives’ flowers? (not the buds)


    1. Dear Sissy!
      I would think that the chive flowers could be edible. Why not try tempura?
      In Japan people eat zucchini and okra (yes!) flowers as tempura!


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