While rummaging through my fridge the other day (fine, fine, my parent's fridge) I was delighted to find a hefty package of myoga. SCORE! It's so difficult to describe, this myoga. Vegetable? Herb? Spice?? They grow in the ground, so maybe it's just simply a bulb??
Colors: A gorgeous spectrum that moves from bone-white to blush-pink to greenish-brown.
Taste: I would say myoga is a cross between ginger, licorice and scallion. I know, licorice, bizarre- but it just has this very distinct taste that I can only attribute to licorice. The flavor goes straight to your nose, although it's not particularly spicy. Although it is sinus-clearing, I will say that. Am I making any sense? I'm being so cryptic, aren't I? Wiki is not really being helpful right now either.
Texture: Like green onions but a bit chalkier.
Where to buy: Japanese grocery stores. I have never seen myoga in Chinatown.
COLD UDON WITH MYOGA
Boil udon noodles.
Rinse udon with cold water in colander. Add ice to the noodles to keep them chilled and al dente. A cup of pre-made soup stock for noodle dipping. Chop scallions too, if you want to add with the myoga. Found white tuna sashimi in the fridge too- yes, I am the spoiled daughter of Sushi Kuni.
Like any herb or spice, you can't have too much myoga. It's meant to simply just sprinkle in your dishes raw as a garnish, or lightly fried in tempura batter would be lovely as well. I remember Sonja pickled them in vinegar, mirin and red chilis. In the Akabori household, we've been keeping up with a nuka-zuke pickling, so we added a few myoga bulbs in there too, which have turned out well.
Myoga reminds me of summer- probably because I've always only had them with cold noodles. Although I hear it's full-on autumn in NYC already, I'm in California now- where everyday is another shining summer day, so it just doesn't matter now, does it? Myoga and cold noodles EVERY DAY!
*Kayoko usually orders everything on the menu when dining out, which is why she is always broke.