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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Stems, Stems, Stems: Broccoli, Kohlrabi, Kale Stem Kinpira

Stems, Stems, Stems: Broccoli, Kohlrabi, Kale Stem Kinpira satueed Japanese vegetarian


After the Burdock Kinpira not too long ago, I've been itching for more of that special Japanese sauté and simmer style plate of wholesome goodies.

Since I don't usually throw away edible stems and stalks of greens and veggies knowing I can find a nice way to incorporate them in my cooking, I had this huge pile of kohlrabi stems, kale stems, broccoli stems, chard stems, even bok choy stems. To a casual observer, it is just a pile of compost, but to me, it was heaven beckoning.


Stems, Stems, Stems: Broccoli, Kohlrabi, Kale Stem Kinpira satueed Japanese vegetarian


Simply chop into uniform size to facilitate even cooking. In a cast iron skillet, heat some sesame oil and sauté the stems; add in the chosen flavoring condiments, some braising liquid, cook till all the liquid is absorbed and the stems are cooked to satisfaction.


Stems, Stems, Stems: Broccoli, Kohlrabi, Kale Stem Kinpira satueed Japanese vegetarian



For flavoring, I went with Ponzu, apple cider vinegar, mirin, a touch of sambal oelek, and a generous sprinkling of smoked paprika for that bright color and cozy warmth. Just a splash of water as needed, enough to get the veggies softened and juices flowing. That's it.

Another batch got a slightly different flavoring: Worcestershire sauce, white vinegar, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, adjusted to taste. Since I make this kinpira-style dish often enough -- whenever there is a pile of stems to use up -- it's nice to change up the flavors to see if there is a new favorite in the horizon.


Stems, Stems, Stems: Broccoli, Kohlrabi, Kale Stem Kinpira satueed Japanese vegetarian


A bunch of mustard greens are growing in the garden. Tender baby mustard greens are a fantastic addition to salads. I love to pop a leaf in my mouth and wait for the sharp wasabi-like burst when munching it down. It starts off surprisingly sweet and then just explodes. Delicious!

Topped with some caramelized sweet onions and green chilies, garnished with some fresh baby mustard greens, this plate of stems got a boost from some carrot sticks I threw in for contrast while sautéing. Not a super-fancy dish or anything, but, quite satisfying to use up edible stems and stalks.

To make a feast of it, I serve some veggie pot stickers and a cleansing cucumber salad along with the kinpira.

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