Ingredients, dishes and drinks from Japan by Ad Blankestijn

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Shungiku (Kikuna)

Edible chrysanthemum leaves. 春菊。(Chrysanthemum coronarium, garland chrysanthemum).

Originally from the Mediterranean, reached japan via China in the Muromachi period (1336-1573).

Lit. "spring chrysanthemum." Not the leaves of actual chrysanthemums, but a different type which is a real vegetable. Shungiku taste slightly bitter. The autumn variety is officially called kikuna.

Chrysanthemum leaves are in the first place used as a vegetable in nabemono, one-pot stews, such as sukiyaki, shabu-shabu, or torinabe. I also add them to yudofu. They are also used in ohitashi (parboiled chrysanthemum leaves with a mixture of dashi and soy sauce) and aemono (parboiled chrysanthemum leaves with a tofu or sesame dressing). Shungiku can also be added raw to Western salads.

Contains B-carotene and vitamin C.

Sources outside Japan: Japanese food stores.
Preservation: a few days in the refrigerator; longer if they are first boiled.

[Shungiku. Photo Ad Blankestijn]