We’re now well into spring, and there are plenty of new arrivals in the produce section of the supermarket. Here are a couple of my favorites, along with a few recipe suggestions for those who feel like trying out something new in the kitchen…
This is pretty much the star of the Japanese spring. So far this year I’ve made 3 pots of bamboo rice and roasted several nice-sized chunks of fresh bamboo shoot on our fish grill. Of course, fresh bamboo takes a bit of work. It tends to get bitter after sitting on the shelves for a few days. That’s why it’s typically sold alongside a bag of rice bran, the idea being you can boil the two together to sweeten up the shoot. But I just use leftover rice-washing water for the boiling to save a few yen.
Bamboo rice recipe from Kyoto Foodie
Image from randomidea’s Flickr photostream
These bitter little morsels – the sprouts of the Japanese butterbur plant – are a bit of a tough sell. No wonder that they are usually served as tempura… a little bit of deep frying and some salt will bring out the best from pretty much any vegetable. And speaking of tempura, why not pick up some asparagus and new potatoes for a perfect trifecta of fried spring treats?
This one is a bit of a cheat, since Japanese like to pull out the strawberries around Christmas. But spring is when they’re really in season (ie, affordable). So if you want to take on the considerable challenge of Japanese sweet making with the delicious strawberry daifuku, now’s the time.
Ichigo daifuku recipe from Cooking with Dog
Have any favorite spring foods you’d like to share? And do you happen to know a good recipe for fiddlehead fern sprouts? They have them at my local store but I don’t know what to do with them… Leave a comment and let me know!