Sansai. Japanese mountain vegetables in a meal

Here is the meal that completes the black tofu and agedashi taro in the previous post.

Let’s talk a little about 山菜 sansai mean litterally mountain vegetables. That’s a generic name for many plants wild or cultivated in small amounts that are used in Japan, but also in Korea and China. The hermit Buddhist monks were counting on them to diversify their dishes, and they are often used in the shojin ryori (monk fasting meals) and kaiseki ryori (refined meal before tea ceremony). You can go and gather yours if you live in the countryside. I’m not sure that what I’d pick up near Osaka would be edible particularly with the current level of air pollution. So I usually find mines in the store, and they are cultivated.
There is no complete list of the varieties of sansai. It’s whatever you can eat.  

I had a mix containing nameko (orange mushrooms), enoki (white long mushrooms), warabi (in green, it’s fern sprouts), zenmai (in brown), small takenoko (bamboo sprouts, slices), kikurage (in dark brown, wood ear mushrooms). And I had renkon (lotus root).

They were boiled. So I rinsed and reheated them with dashi (fish broth), a little mirin and soy sauce.

Grilled komochi shishamo fish, with yuzu-kosho citrus pepper condiment.

Pastel salad : cabbage, kabu turnip and vinegar pickled ginger.

And genmai (brown rice). Well, that makes a nice Japanese meal. That’s not so long to prepare as the tofu was made in advance, the rice is done in the cooker, the veggies were pre-cooked.

Kogomi (fiddleheads) and heart lettuce yakisoba

Têtes de violon.

Kogomi. Fiddleheads.

Another green Spring lunch.

That’s the season for this wood veggie. They are sprouts of ferns. Maybe they are good for health, maybe they are toxic. Well once a year, that shouldn’t kill me too fast.

They are not very bitter. I boiled a few minutes and refreshed in iced water.

For the sauce, I mixed (brown) miso, rice vinegar, a little sugar and hot mustard. Added a few minced negi leeks.

Yakisoba, sti-fried Chinese noodles.

With chicken hearts and lettuce.