November 05, 2010

Monkey see monkey do

young ginger

My husband has been shopping at a Japanese food booth at our local farmers market. I call it Japanese because it's run by a Japanese couple, and they grow and sell mostly Japanese and other Asian vegetables. At this stand we get our kabocha pumpkin as well as other Japanese squashes whose names I can't remember, and Japanese greens such as mizuna, plus roots like daikon. Recently, my husband came home with young ginger. The vendors explained that the ginger root we buy at the store is last year's, while young ginger is this year's crop. It has a thin skin that doesn't need peeling, and is sweeter and more moist. Young ginger has a full ginger flavor but is not astringent or spicy. You can really use a lot without turning the dish harsh. And it's so plump and pretty with small areas of deep purplish color. Zoa has been trying new things every day for veganmofo, and here I am copying her good idea by telling you about a new thing of my own.

Now you might think I'm still copying her because she loves to make hotpots, but really, so do I. I was kind of copying myself by making Japanese stewed vegetables, then changing it up by adding yuba, mizuna and rice noodles, along with tons of young ginger. The yuba sticks were soaked, cut, and stir-fried with a spicy mixture of chili paste, tamari, sweetener and peanut butter, and added to the soup just before serving. I could eat this every night, it was so good.

When I saw Kiersten's recent mofo post about curried fried rice with tofu, I knew just what to do with the leftover rice in my refrigerator. I couldn't find any frozen peas but edamame worked just fine. She didn't print a recipe, but the inspiration of her beautiful photo was all I needed.

This last dish was my husband's doing. It's a stir-fry made with pea vines, zucchini, tofu, pepper and young ginger, and he found the recipe here. Don't ask me how he happened to find pea vines this time of year. That's a mystery.

Mofo is driving me a little crazy with all the wonderful things everyone is making and sharing. I want to make nearly everything I see, and keep getting distracted from the task of making my own things to share.

Happy cooking. See you again on Monday!


  1. The stir frys looks great. I always love some ginger in with my veggies. Now I'm going to have to find young ginger.

  2. Everything looks so delicious!

  3. I'm glad your fried rice turned out good! It sure looks pretty. I know what you mean...I've already saved at least a dozen recipes just since Vegan MoFo started. My recipe folder is going to be overflowing by the time this month is over.

  4. I think I never saw young ginger before. At first glance I thought it was a sunchoke.

  5. Awwwww baby ginger. CUUUTE. That stir fry looks delicious and so does the rice and tofu. I'm having a stir fry buzz at the moment 'cos they keep popping up all over the MoFo demanding that I make one. Who am I to argue.

  6. that ginger is beautiful! I just love all of the flavors you're working with.

  7. yum...everything looks so good. The curried rice with tofu sounds especially yummy to me! Young ginger...that is interesting information. You’re lucky to be able to buy all those Asian vegetables from the Japanese family at the farmers market. I've never seen half the things you named.

  8. Omgoshimvegan,
    Now that I've found young ginger, I don't want to use the old, woody, dried-out stuff anymore!

    Thank you.

    It tasted great. I kind of wish there was a mofo restaurant and we could just go in and order off the blog posts!

    I never noticed it before, either. I have to credit my husband with spotting it.

    Reading the mofo posts has me in a constant state of hunger. I want it all ...


    I do feel lucky to have access to so many interesting ingredients. There's an Asian market here that gets my heart pounding with excitement every time I go there.

  9. That is some beautiful ginger. Great info to have about fresh ginger. Those Japanese stewed vegetables are so beautiful. I would love to eat a big bowl of some.

  10. I saw that young ginger too. Didn't get any, but next time I want to.

    I too am overwhelmed with choices of things to make. It all looks so good!

  11. I know what you mean about MoFo driving you crazy with all the wonderful posts...I am wasting WAY too much time on the computer drooling over recipes--including yours. And I have no time to cook any of them as a result of it, lol! I just need to pick some and get going!


  12. The grocery store's ginger is SO last year! :P

    I love that hotpot! I know exactly what you mean, everybody has been blogging about the most delicious foods and it's hard to concentrate on our own MoFos! Luckily I'm doing foods from other blogs, so that helps a little.

  13. Dreaminitvegan,
    I LOVE the stewed veggies made with dashi and kabocha. It was so easy but really delicious.

    We got ours at the University market. It's much easier to work with than the normal ginger – not dried out or woody at all.

    I stayed away from my computer all day but now I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do. It's going to be a long month.

    Hot pots are my go to meal when I can't think of anything to make. In fact, I should go soak some dried mushrooms.

  14. Oh, Andrea, hot pots are just out there; I copied mine from somewhere else. However, I am totally copying your yuba for my next thing, it looks and sounds so awesome! And mizuna and young ginger are on my list, as are a few items *you* introduced me to!

  15. That is a gorgeous plate of food!

  16. Your Japanese stewed veggies look great. I love Asian food and don't make it often enough.


  17. Zoa,
    I know you didn't introduce hot pots to the western world (:D), but I was just referencing your great love of them, and the beautiful and inspirational collection you have on your blog. You can't deny you make them often. The yuba WAS awesome. I think cooking and spicing it separately gave it a whole new dimension. Though I still love it just simmered in soup, too.

    Thank you so much!

    I don't make it often enough either. I especially love Japanese food.

  18. OK, now I feel like I'm really missing out on the farmer's market...must go this weekend!

  19. Tofu!!! I love tofu! :-D You're making me hungry.

  20. I want to find some young ginger! I wonder if I can plant some in my vegetable garden next year? I need to look into that!
    You post is just filled with everything I love - can I come live at your house?

  21. Cami,
    The U District market can be pretty surprising. I can't believe how many stalls get fit into what seems like a small space.

    Hmmm. There is a lot of tofu in this post, isn't there.

    I just read a few articles about growing ginger, which is really a tropical plant. It seems that you can grow it, but it's not simply a matter of sticking it in the ground unless you live in a tropical climate. It takes 8 to 10 months for it to reach maturity, so it may need to come indoors for part of that time. I've grown lemon grass and stevia in my Wisconsin garden. You should look into growing ginger root!

    I'd say you can come live at my house, but yours is so much more picturesque. Maybe I could just come live at yours and cook. :D

  22. these all look delicious! what's mizuna like? i bought some seed to grow next year but i don't know much about how it tastes or how to use it.

  23. I liked Zoa's mofo theme; I think I commented there that I was going to do a post this month about trying something new, too. And I agree - it's all very distracting! I started making a shopping list and realized it was ENTIRELY too there was no way I'd be able to cook everything on my list this week. :)

  24. I'm with you - so much to read! So much to eat!

  25. Emily,
    Mizuna is a somewhat pungent green similar to mustard greens. You use it like you would any green — steamed, in stir-fries, in salad when it's young. It adds a nice spicy flavor to a veggie mix.

    It's better to have too many plans then too few.:D

    Keeping up with so many posts is really hard. I need a secretary.

  26. You're so lucky to find young ginger at your local farmers market. The hotpot looks delicious! :-)

  27. Chow vegan,
    I agree that the ginger is a great find. We got a little carried away and bought more than we could use, and just discovered it gets moldy. Note to self: use more ginger!


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