This past Friday, Erica from Kizzling Around gave you an amazing rundown of kale in Tokyo. As her photos showed, kale can be found, but like Paris is now, it takes effort and probably some travel time around the city to find it. I was lucky to stumble across kale during my trip there in January 2012.
Here are some Japanese-style kale recipes to get you started!
Mentsuyu Concentrate (can also be purchased)
1 cup soy sauce
¾ cup mirin
1 cup sake
1 dashi pack (kelp and bonito flake) – there are many recipes available online for this
3 Tablespoons water
1 bunch kale
1. Make mentsuyu concentrate by adding all ingredients to a small pot and let simmer for approx. 5 minutes (Time may vary depending on the dashi you are using. Please refer to the packaging.)
2. Remove stems, tear into 1 inch strips.
3. Use a medium size pot to steam kale in approx. 3 Tablespoons of water for approx. 4 minutes on medium heat.
4. Turn off heat, let sit for approx. 5 minutes without opening the lid.
5. Take the kale out of the pot, squeeze excess water out, without squeezing too hard. Enough where it stays together in a small bundle, not so much that it flakes.
6. Pour the mentsuyu concentrate on top to taste.
So what can you do with the stems?
approx. ½ onion
Other hard vegetables as desired (such as carrots and burdock root)
1 egg yolk
½ cup + 3 Tablespoons water
½ cup flour
Oil (for frying)
Prepared sticky rice (or a grain of your choice. I used quinoa)
1. Cut the kale stems in a diagonal way into bite size pieces.
2. Cut onions into thick half slices.
3. Cut other vegetables into pieces that are about 2 inches by ¼ inch.
4. Prepare pot and oil for frying. About 2 inches of oil should do the trick.
5. Mix the egg yolk, water and flour in a medium sized bowl to make the batter.
6. Put the cut vegetables into the batter and mix.
7. Pour a little bit of the vegetable and batter mix into heated oil at one time to fry into circles that are about 3.5 inches in diameter. Fry until golden brown.
8. Mix approximately 3T mentsuyu concentrate and 3T water.
9. Place the fried vegetable patty on top of the rice (or other grain of your choice), pour the mentsuyu (made in the step above) on top as desired.
Erica Jordan is a Seattleite, currently recovering from living in Tokyo, Japan for 3 years. Finally back in a place where you can buy kale at grocery stores, you can find her walking around New York City with bunches of kale in her arms. When she’s not eating kale, you can find her documenting her adventures at Kizzling Around.