Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Going traditional: The Japanese White Turnip

I'm sure that everyone has hankerings for a particular dishes when they are feeling tired.  For me, if it's not something sweet, then I feel as if my body calls out for Japanese food - and I'm not talking about your run of the mill teriyaki chicken or california roll.  I'm talking about the truly traditional - the delicate balance of flavor created by the holy trinity of ingredients used in Japanese cooking:  soy sauce, sake, and mirin (sweet rice wine).

The small round white Japanese turnip has a mild delicate flavor that works well in Japanese dishes, and is full of vitamins and fiber. This particular dish called "Kabu no Nijiru" is a warm comforting side dish that is cooked along with the turnip's greens as well as with Aburaage (which is essentially thinly sliced fried tofu).  The resulting dish is that delicate tradition Japanese flavor that stays true to its ingredients - for me, this is true comfort food. As for Cy, he likes it with some Shichimi (Japanese chili powder) for an extra kick ;)
I know that some of these ingredients may not be at your local grocery store, but if you are able to get ahold of these ingredients, I hope that you will have the chance to make it - it is truly delicious!

Served with some Shiso Hijiki(seaweed) riceballs ♥
Kabu no Nijiru Recipe

(serves 2)

2 Japanese turnips
1piece Aburaage (fried tofu)
1cup Dashi stock
3tbsp Mirin
1.5-2tbsp Soysauce
pinch of salt


1) Cut off the leaves of the turnips and peel.  Slice into thin half moons. Leave in some water.

2) Wash the leaves and boil for about 3-4min in a pot with some salt and water.  Then drain, and cut into 3-4cm pieces.

3) Prepare the aburaage by pouring boiling water on them and cut into small thin pieces.

4) In a pot, add Dashi stock, turnip and aburaage slices.  Once it reaches a boil bring stove down to  medium heat, add the mirin and soysauce and cook until the turnip softens.  Add the leaves and cook for a few minutes more (don't let the stems of the turnips get too soft - you want it crunchy).  Serve in a bowl.


  1. Eri, that looks so GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD. Hijiki onigiri! Oishi so~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ iina, kabu wa oiishiiyone! Nani nani jiru was oiishiiyone, ton jiru, shimashi jiru. Ni- nani nani mo oiishii, nizakana, nimono etc.

    1. Haha Thanks. It was really Oishii! 自分にもちょっとびっくり;p

  2. Looks really delicious! I thought the skin is edible? Do I need to have a certain variety if I want to keep the peel on? Thanks!

    1. That is a really great question! I've grown up always being told to peel the skin. But you made me curious so I did a little research. Turns out most of the time it's better to peel the skin so that it's easier for the flavors to sink in. However if you have really fresh small white turnips or if you're planning on cooking for either a long time, or not at all and having them as thin slices raw, then it's okay to leave the skin on if you prefer :)


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