Holiday Gift Guide

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.


Boil udon noodles.

Slice myoga.

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.