How to cook the spring 1: Petasites japonicus "Fuki".

by Chiseko

Have you ever seen this kind of plants in Japan?
The academic name of the plant is Petasites japonicus and "Fuki" in Japanese. As the name shows it grows mainly in Japan. It can be seen in Korea, China and Sakhalin in Russia, too.
It grows in the area that has enough water such as the bank of creek or river, hillside of mountains and the perimeter of forest.   
 The flower of this plant fuki can be eaten and contains polyphenol in it.
After cutting fuki to adjust the length of it, it should be boiled for two minutes  to four minutes, according to the length and thickness of the stem.
After boiled up fuki, please take of the vein of the plant on the surface of the stem with care. If you fail to do this, many fibers of the stem will be left in your mouth after eating this plant.
The vein and strings of the stem can be taken off easily after boiled up. But it takes long time to take off all the veins and strings of the stem. Actually it took 50 minutes to boil up the stem and to take off the veins and strings of the stem this time.
Red stems are not appropreate to cook because red stems turned too soft and too watery after boiled up.
 Righthand side is the debris, the veins and strings of the stem.
After taking off the drain of the stem in the basket and cutiing the stem to pieces, fry the stems for minutes. 
 Japanese "MENTSUYU" is the all round player as well as soy sauce in Japan. It is made by adding broth to soysauce.
At the moment pouring mentsuyu in the pot, good smell that stimulate our appetite rises from the pot.  Salt and pepper are the "must" for me before adding mentsuyu. 
 For visual effect and drinking beer more comfortably, a little bit chile powder should be sprinkled on the cooked fuki.I like it!
The bitter taste of fuki shows the power of the plants that grow so fast in spring. The bitter taste is the proof it contains a kind of polyphenol. 
A kind of fuki called Akita-buki or Rawan-buki grows to the height, 2 or 3 meters high and the diameter of the stem is 10 to 15 cm. Along the river Rawan in Ashoro town, Tokachi sub-prefectural area, you can see the so huge type of fuki that can be used as a umbrella.
I will introduce another taste of spring next time.

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