Nanohana Ohitashi: Seasoned Rapini
I have a vivid memory of the instant I realized that Nanohana Ohitashi – a dish made by seasoning the young green shoots of the plant we get Canola oil from – is one of the most delicious and refined side dishes in the Japanese repertoire. I was still a university student. That day, I went to a restaurant in Kyoto with my parents, but without my sisters. I remember it clearly, perhaps because it was rare for us to go out without them. It was a classic Japanese restaurant: very sober, very refined.
The Nanohana Ohitashi was served to us in a big bowl to be shared. We were a little taken a back, at first, by the size of the portion. It was really a lot; actually, it seemed a little bit too much for three people. But as we started in on it, we quickly understood that finishing it wouldn’t be a problem: it was just so fragrant, so elegant, so stylish. Slightly piquant due to the mustard, and bitter but also sweet thanks to the contribution of the rapini. It was perfection in a side dish.
By the end, there was none left.
Ingredients: (for four)
For the sauce
- Water – 100 ml
- Dashi – 1/2 tea-spoon
- Mirin – 1/2 table spoon
- Soy sauce – 2 table spoons
- Musutard – as much you like (If you use Japanese mustard, one teaspoon)
- Microwave 100 ml of water until boiling hot
- Dissolve the dashi in the hot water
- Add the soy sauce and mirin
Prepare the rapini
- Wash the rapini without taking them apart and bring a quart of water to a boil
- Dunk the rapini in the boiling water, base first, leaves on top
- Mix in and boil for about 1.5~2 minutes.
- Drain and run under cold water to cool.
- Squeeze out the excess moisture with your hands and cut the greens into 4 cm. long segments.
- Dissolve the mustard in the sauce.
- Place in a bowl, add the sauce and mix a little bit.
Serve as side dish.
Even if this is a side dish, I like to eat a lot of nanohana ohitashi. So I prepared a very simple lunch with takikomi gohan and nanohana ohitashi.