Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tsukushi-- Miso Soup for Spring

Tsukushi means Spring! (Field Horsetail)

If you happen to have any of this growing in the backyard or a nearby field... did you know you can eat it?  I'd never seen it before we moved down here to Yokohama, and at first I only saw the children playing with it, in mud pies, peeling off the little skirts and such.  It wasn't until a year or two later that I noticed H-kun's mama (Koshi's friend) picking it with her son.  I asked her what she was going to do with it, and she told me how to make Miso soup with it.


...oooh!  Cooking with weird stalks picked out back--exotic!

I immediately set about picking some myself, and enlisted the kids' help.  The first time we made this, we picked *way* more than we needed...


...which made the cleaning part rather tedious.  Breaking off the tip (which my friend told me she did) is easy enough, but the hakama ("skirt"--the dark-tipped leaves at each node, called such because of their resemblance to traditional Japanese formal wear)...those take rather more time to get off.

into the pot...
I made mine with tofu and aburage (fried bean curd, made--like tofu--from soybeans), but you could just as well put in naga-negi (long onion, like a leek) or wakame (edible seaweed).
Use your ladle to scoop out a tablespoon or so of miso paste (I'm not sure exactly how much I put in since I always just eyeball it.  My ladle had markings for 1T and 2T, and I scoop out what I imagine to be about 1T...)

*A note on adding the Miso paste...
I searched for some time on YouTube for something I'd seen on TV about how it can be dangerous to just dump a bunch of Miso into a pot and put the lid on.  The show I remember watching, in fact, experimented with why that was supposed to be the case... and showed the pot exploding.  Apparently heat and/or pressure or steam can become trapped below the miso, which then explodes outward all over the kitchen.  And since I forgot to have Koshi video me dissolving the miso into the hot water, I found a video of somebody else doing that.  Watch how she uses her ladle and o-hashi (at the 2:00 mark)to dissolve the miso--that's just how my mother-in-law showed me how to do it:-))

Itadakimaaa---su!-- Oishikatta! (It was delicious--a nice, light taste:-)
More on Tsukushi tomorrow--it's fascinating stuff...;-))

Mata asobou, ne!


  1. Sarah-- me, too! It's so simple, and healthy, and you can put so many different things in it. The weird thing is, I like it more than my husband does;-))

  2. Tim Harris here. You should talk to my wife about tsukushi. She's from Kyushu, where it's very much a delicacy, but people from the north, including Tokyo, often don't seem to know about it. So we have tsukushi-gathering expeditions in spring which I - I regret to say - try to avoid...