Shungiku are the leaves of the Garland Chrysanthemum. They have a unique herbal flavor and are widely used all over eastern Asia. While they make a great addition to soups and stews, I love using them in place of spinach because they are similar in color and texture, but have a lot more flavor.
I’ve paired the chrysanthemum leaves with Maitake mushrooms and katsuobushi in this recipe. Katsuobushi is made by drying and smoking skipjack tuna, and then shaving it. Since it’s a lean fish and is unsalted, you end up with all the flavor of bacon minus most of the fat and sodium. This makes it perfect for making dashi (Japanese soup stock), but adding the flakes directly into food makes just about anything taste better!
The smoky aromas and umani in the mushrooms and katsuobushi play off of each other, softening the sharply green flavor of the shungiku. I seasoned this stir-fry with a little soy sauce and sugar, but it’s equally good with oyster sauce or even something as simple as salt and pepper.
If you don’t have a Japanese market near by, you can substitute the chrysanthemum for spinach or another green of your choice, and maitake mushrooms can sometimes be found at farmer’s markets under the name “hen of the woods”.
Shungiku and Maitake Stir-Fry
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 pack of Maitake (Hen of the Woods) mushrooms
- 1 bunch shungiku, roughly chopped (spinach will also work)
- 1 small pack of katsuobushi (about 1/4 cup)
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- Heat a frying pan over medium high heat until hot. Add the oil and mushrooms along with a pinch of salt and stir-fry until the edges of the mushrooms start to brown.
- Add the shungiku and katsuobushi and stir-fry until the leaves have wilted. Add the soy sauce and sugar and continue frying until there’s no liquid left in the pan. Serve immediately.
Yield: 1-2 recipes
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.