Last February, I went to Jicca in Tokyo and had this seemingly unassuming dish. I've mainly had raw nagaimo (Chinese yam) julienned or grated in all its gooey glory.
But at Jicca, it was seasoned with some serious magic. Lightly grilling this nagaimo brought out a toasty, yammy aroma while retaining its natural saku-saku crunch factor. The magical taste that was in this nagaimo was thanks to a simple shio-koji marinade.
I couldn't leave without finding out the recipe for this method of preparation. Lucky for me, Tori-chan, owner and chef of Jicca was willing to share her recipe.
GRILLED SHIO-KOJI NAGAIMO
Equipment: Yaki-ami (stove top roaster) or grill
Cook time: 5 minutes
Serves 4 people
1 pound nagaimo
2 tbsp shio-koji
1 tbsp EVOO
1. Peel and cut nagaimo into one inch pieces.
Kayoko pretending she's on "Sanpun Cooking" (Three-Minute Cooking).
2. Mix with the shio-koji.
3. Place in a gallon ziplock back and express the air from the bag.
4. Marinate for 4 hours.
5. Grill lightly on yakiami or grill.
6. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.
It's an unexpected yet satisfying combination: shio-koji and grilling for flavor and nagaimo for texture. Thanks Tori-chan!