Beni imo may be my most favorite thing about living on Okinawa. Seriously, I love this ‘tater! It’s like a sweet potato, but has lovely vanilla notes. AND IT’S PURPLE! It’s really exciting to cut into one of these beauties. The color is just so intense and somehow unexpected every time.
Last thanksgiving, I turned these into a sweet potato soufflé, which is tradition in my family. I also got a little daring and made a side dish with beni imo, Okinawan brown sugar and pineapple bits. I’ve made a Thai-inspired beni imo soup. You can use it anyway that you would use a sweet potato. They occasionally find their way into a curry, but I really like to let the color shine alone, like in this recipe. Continue reading →
Yesterday, I would have traded a slice of chocolate cake for this bitter melon dish. Crazy, but true. I wouldn’t have traded a whole chocolate cake for it though, I’m not insane. I blame the heat. My body needed some cooling bitter taste.
Goya Chanpuru is an Okinawa classic. This knobby green bitter melon is useful during the hot, humid summers of Okinawa. Chanpuru means “to mix” and can be used with any number of vegetables. The usual recipe has goya, onion, egg and pork of some variety. I didn’t do anything fancy here. I just wanted the goya. I guess it was a teensy bit fancy since I bought both green and white goya. What’s the difference, you ask? Not a clue. Continue reading →
I was inspired this week to try some new Okinawan summer veggies. I saw this huge green vegetable, with a sticker price of around $1.75, and decided that I must learn to like this, based on the price alone. I stood there in the middle of the market, entering kana into my Japanese translation app to discover that yuugao is bottle gourd! Then I Google what the heck a bottle gourd is good for. Apparently, they make delightful liquid vessels once they’re dried. Also, people eat them. I’m off to a good start! Continue reading →
Well, it’s blazing hot here on Okinawa. Pair the heat with the high humidity and it’s like a non-stop sauna. Wahhh! My husband is REALLY enjoying this weather, but it’s making me a lot bit cranky. I’ve been looking for ways to keep cool and keep my pitta nature under control. Ding ding ding! Cooling, refreshing salad!
I went to the local farmers market and came back with a bunch of summer veggies that I wanted to experiment with. You’ll probably be seeing some of these in upcoming posts. I’ll be using Okinawa varieties of produce, but I’ll list substitutions next to the ingredients in case you don’t have access to the same produce. I’ve also included picture of these ingredients and the label in case you are in Japan. Continue reading →