Hanami Bento | Chef Daisuke Nomura

Bento Ideas for March

Sarah B. Hodge with Chef Daisuke Nomura of Restaurant Shojin Sougo

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Chef Daisuke Nomura(野村大輔), former executive chef of two-starred shojin restaurant Daigo and chef owner of Restaurant Shojin Sougo in Roppogi, is one of Plant Forward’s Global 50 . Chef Nomura has reimagined formal shojin kaiseki cuisine to incorporate international influences, unconventional ingredients, and a contemporary, playful sense of plating and tableware that makes this ancient vegetable-forward temple cuisine accessible while staying true to its roots. His take on shojin ryori has been featured on NHK and he has given shojin ryori workshops and lectures in New York and overseas.

For my March article, Chef Nomura kindly provided the following recipe and photograph to coincide with the arrival of cherry blossoms and spring, and has provided ideas for a vegan hanami bento featuring spring vegetables.

One of my favorite parts of spring in Japan is the arrival of sansai: wild vegetables like fuki (butterbur), fukinoto (butterbur buds), warabi, kogomi, shungiku, takenoko and other small edible shoots and ferns. Shojin ryori has many creative, delicious recipes for these seasonal veggies.  

Chef Nomura would like to share this easy fukimiso recipe at home. You can find fukinoto in the produce section of Japanese grocery stores and specialty shops.

Chef Daisuke Nomura’s recipe for Fukimiso:

1. Cut fukinoto in fine pieces and immediately saute with oil. 

2. Prepare saikyomiso (sweet miso) in a bowl, add the fukinoto and mix. 

3. Season the miso with sugar and mirin to taste.

Tips:

Fukinoto is a very bitter vegetable but the bitterness gets milder by heating with oil. 

You have to saute the fukimiso immediately after cutting otherwise it discolors very quickly.

The contrast between sweet miso and bitter fuki becomes a good harmony in taste. 

Once made, the miso can last for 2 weeks in the refrigerator. 

You can enjoy fukimiso with white rice, but it's already a good sake promotor as is.

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Serving suggestions for a spring-themed hanami bento:

Chirashizushi with kinome and assortment of spring vegetable dishes such as bamboo shoot, taranome tempura, kogomi no shiraae and fukimiso. For Hanami bento, dishes that you can enjoy spring flavors and pretty colors would be always great. Don't forget to add good sake promoting dishes as well!

Dan Pape