Saturday, April 14, 2012

Recipe: Sesame Stir-Fried Japanese Knotweed


  • 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. 


  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.

    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.