Bekana

Minos is obsessed with Japanese food.  I mean, i like it fairly well, but she has spent time and effort learning how to prepare it.  She has an impressive stock of Japanese cooking utensils and seasonings.

A few weeks back at the Decatur Organic Farmer’s Market i found a vendor with a green i had never seen before.  The vendor enthusiastically talked about this green, called Tokyo Bekana, and how she had grown to love it while in Japan doing missionary work.  Given Minos’s obsession, it seemed logical to pick up a bunch.

Raw, Bekana reminds me of Bibb lettuce.  It has a creamy texture and a light flavor.

Minos found me a simple recipe for an easy Japanese preparation of this green.  This is a very Japanese dish — the flavors are simple, and crisp.  It’s a very different cooking style than the Indian food that i love, but it is still tasty.

Ingredients
4 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
4 teaspoons peeled, minced ginger root
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch Tokyo Bekana, chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons Sake

Directions
1.  In the wok, heat the oil over medium heat.

2. Add the sesame seeds and stir fry until the start popping and become fragrant.

3. Add the ginger and garlic and stir fry for about a minute, until the just start to soften.

4. Add the greens and the soy sauce and sake, and simmer in the open wok for about a minute. Bekana is a tender green, so it doesn’t need a lot of cooking time.  Be careful not to let it wilt too much.

5.  Serve over steamed Japanese sticky rice.

I enjoyed mine with green tea and assorted pickles.

This was a delicious light meal.  The soy, sake, ginger, garlic, and sesame flavors all blend together very well.  None of them overpowered the light taste of the Bekana.

Plus, as an added bonus, it was quick and easy to make — probably less than 15 minutes cooking time.  That makes it great for a quick lunch, or a simple dinner on a busy day.

However, that is the only time i have ever seen Bekana.  None of the markets around here carry it, not even the Asian ones.  However, i think this would be good with a mustard green, or maybe bok choy.

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