Saturday, April 14, 2012

Recipe: Sesame Stir-Fried Japanese Knotweed

Ingredients: 

  • japanese knotweed shoots (Fallopia japonica--which used to be known as Polygonum cuspidatum)
  • ginger
  • tamari
  • garlic
  • sesame oil
  • a high-heat cooking oil (like canola)
  • sesame seeds
I recommend having the ingredients on hand and then adjusting to taste. 
  1. Lightly heat the oils in a small pan or wok. 
  2. Press garlic in and fry until golden brown. 
  3. Add cleaned knotweed stalks (no taller than 7 inches), tamari, brown sugar, and ginger to taste.   The hardest part of this recipe is to refrain from cooking too long.  Knotweed shoots quickly loose their crunch.  I cooked mine for about 3.5 minutes, and they turned out reasonably crisp. 
  4. Remove from heat immediately when finished.
  5. Serve hot with a sesame seed garnish. 
I (Thag) enjoyed this side dish quite a bit.  Ooga was not as fond.  Tell us what you think. 

2 comments:

  1. So I tried this recipe, I used hot sesame oil mixed with vegetable oil, and after frying for a bit added some soy sauce, and a lot of sesame seeds and a kind of rock salt I'm testing lately (funny story that, I ended up going to a salt mine for work and picked up several pounds of 250 million year old salt. Am having LOTS of fun with it.)

    I cooked for perhaps 8 minutes and the stalks did turn soft, but the sesame seeds toasted nicely and I actually enjoyed this texture.

    However, no taller than 7 inches is serious business, I didn't follow that advice and cooked some sections I'd cut in half, for about 7 inches each. The top was good, the bottom, I didn't eat.

    Overall, a dish I quite enjoyed myself, but really wouldn't serve to someone who's new to wild foods. And perhaps would have been better as a small side rather than what kind of turned into half my meal.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jemand,
      Thanks for sharing the results of your experiment.
      Some folks will cook the taller shoots after peeling them, but I don't like knotweed enough to go through that work.

      I agree that this is a side dish. But I seldom find that any one shoot vegetable is satisfying as a full meal on its own. (Except asparagus . . . mmmmmm.)

      I love collecting knotweed because it is such an aggressive invasive crowding out our native streamside flora. Problem is I end up using it so sparingly because its flavor is unusual and strong. It's hard to feel like I am making any dent in this plants continuing spread when I only gather a few handfuls at once. (Truth is, it wouldn't really matter if I did gather buckets of the stuff. It is pernicious.)

      Thanks again Jemand. It's always good to read your comments.

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