Sunday, September 24, 2006

Secrets of the Yamaimo. This is my first participation in a food blogging event -- Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Kayln. I bought some yamaimo (mountain or long potato) as I had planned to make some handmade soba noodles using it as the binder instead of wheat, but that's quite a project so I decided to use it in other ways. I haven't experimented with this yet, but I also suspect that vegans might enjoy using yamaimo as a subsitute binding agent for eggs in some recipes.

Yamaimo was first cultivated in China, but made its way to Japan where it has been cultivated and appreciated ever since. Handling it can cause itchy hands (not to mention itchy lips!), but that can be overcome by using gloves when peeling the bumpy light brown skin off it and either liquefying it by grating, or slicing much like jicima. Yamaimo is also used in Chinese herbal medicine for several indications, one of the more interesting being anti-aging. This probably arises from the fact that the root contains 0.012% of diosgenin (a natural DHEA), and antioxidants as well.

I made two preparations for your viewing pleasure this afternoon ( and for my lunch!) One is a very plain soup. The recipe is to grate about 4" of peeled yamaimo, liquefying it, then adding a packet of iriko (dried anchovy) dashi (soup stock) mix and 1/3 cup boiling water. Chill, garnish as you like and sip (taking care not to get too much on the outside of your lips or you will itch!). Garnishes may include decorations like thinly sliced raw okra or green onion, or may be more substantial like tekka (raw tuna) chunks. Here's what the plain soup looks like:

This yamaimo soup may also be used to make tororo soba, that is cool soba noodles with this as a dipping/slurping sauce. So although I didn't get to making the soba noodles with it, I'm still incorporating soba into the dish! It's popular and healthy, and my results looked like this:

Ohhh! I was trying to get this written under the gun and didn't use my gloves =scratch-scratch=!

I have not been able to get the comment function to work properly on this blog, but if you would like to contact me, my e-mail address is anna at annalou dot com.

Tagged with Weekend Herb Blogging: WHB

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