Pickled myoga

At times, I have a certain compulsion around food: when I read about an ingredient enough, I eventually have to try it, no matter the cost. (OK, within reason.)

In this case, it was myoga, a Japanese ingredient related to ginger. Nearly every Japanese cookbook I have mentions it, but I had never seen it for sale until last weekend, when I stopped by Sanko and they had some. I had to buy it.

Of course, then I had to figure out how to make the best use of it. Fresh, it would only keep for a couple of days, so I immediately sliced some and put it in miso soup. (Any time you want to know the role a given ingredient plays in Japanese cuisine, you can do a lot worse than throw it into a bowl of miso soup.) It tastes pretty much like ginger, perhaps a little more floral, but has the texture of a member of the allium family. It’s pretty cool.

The rest of the bunch needed to be preserved somehow, so they got pickled.

How to make pickled myoga

1/2 cup rice vinegar
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
A 1-by-1 inch piece of kombu

Combine vinegar, sugar, salt and kombu in a small saucepan and let stand at least 20 minutes. Meanwhile, trim and clean myoga and slice them in half. Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch myoga briefly, 1-2 minutes. Bring the vinegar-sugar mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve. Transfer the hot blanched myoga to a glass jar, then pour the hot vinegar over them. Allow to stand, uncovered, until cooled to room temperature, then cover and store in the fridge.

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