10 Recipes with Myoga: The Japanese Ginger

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Myoga recipes

Myoga (ミョウガ, みょうが, 茗荷), or Japanese ginger is a species of ginger with edible flower buds and shoots. The flavor is mild and delicate, gingery, floral and slightly oniony.

It is very commonly used in Japanese cuisine. The best recipes that use myoga are salads, sushi, as a raw garnish, and often pickled in vinegar to make the flavor come out even more.

There are many ways to use myoga, but below are my 10 favorite recipes.

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1. Myoga Amazuzuke

Amazuzuke is a quick pickle, meaning that the pickled vegetables can be eaten within a few hours or days. Myoga amazuzuke is made by heating sweetened rice vinegar with salt and pouring it over whole myoga flower buds.

It is a very refreshing pickle, being tangy and sweet, with a gingery and slightly oniony flavor.

2. Cucumber and Myoga Amazazuke

Myoga can be added to an amazuzuke of pickled cucumbers, along with kombu (dried seaweed) and chili, to create a side dish or palate cleanser. Again, sweetened rice vinegar is heated with salt and poured over the cucumbers, myoga, kombu and chili.

Pickled cucumbers with myoga are fresh and crunchy, with an aromatic gingery top note.

3. Myoga Nigiri Sushi

Nigiri sushi is a hand-formed cube of sushi rice, with another ingredient set on it. Myoga nigiri uses sliced myoga as the topping, either fresh myoga or myoga amazuzuke. Shape the sushi rice into a small, bite-sized cube, and place a slice of fresh or pickled myoga on top of it.

It is sweet and flavorful, with the slight acidity of the sushi rice combining pleasantly with the ginger taste of the myoga.

4. Myoga tomato salad

Tomatoes are abundant in Japanese summers and pair very well with myoga when used in a salad along with sesame and soy sauce. Slice the tomatoes and finely shred the myoga. Mix together with toasted sesame seeds, and a dressing made with soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil.

The fresh umami taste of the tomato is sharpened by the myoga, with its gingery, onion flavor.

5. Eggplant myoga salad

This unusual salad mixes raw salted eggplant with myoga, shiso and katsuobushi (bonito flakes). The eggplant is thinly sliced and marinated in a soy dressing after being salted and softened. The shiso and myoga are shredded and mixed in, and the katsuobushi sprinkled over the top.

The bonito brings smoky flavor which mixes with the mild ginger of the myoga and the tender eggplant.

6. Mizuna myoga salad

Mizuna is a peppery mustard green salad leaf that is frequently shredded and used in Japanese salads. It can be mixed with finely chopped myoga and a ponzu dressing for a refreshing salad.

The flavor is hot and mustardy, with aromas of onions and ginger and citrus from the dressing.

7. Mazegohan with Myoga

Mazegohan means Japanese mixed rice. Rice and other ingredients are prepared separately and then mixed together at the end. Myoga can be used in mazegohan by finely chopping myoga and mixing it with hot steamed rice, plus other flavors. You can try shiso, soy sauce and sesame to go with it.

Mazegohan with myoga is very light and aromatic, with a gingery taste. It can be eaten alone or served as side dish.

8. Tempura Myoga

Tempura is a batter in which different vegetables, or seafood are dipped and then deep fried. It is often served as a mixed platter, with lots of different fillings. Tempura batter is made by mixing flour, egg and iced water; then just dip the myoga in, and deep-fry at 170°C, until golden-brown and crispy.

Tempura myoga brings all the aromatic and gingery flavors together with a light, crunchy coating.

9. Somen noodles with Myoga

Somen noodles are thin, white wheat-flour noodles made with oil and water. They are often served chilled, with a cold dipping sauce as a refreshing meal in hot summers. Simply boil the noodles for about a minute, and rinse under cold water. Serve chilled, as a refreshing meal in hot summers, with an iced dipping sauce along with a mixed platter of chopped vegetables, including myoga, to use as garnish.

Myoga adds a flavor to cold somen noodles that is at once refreshing and warming, due to its herbaceous and gingery taste.

10. Myoga onigiri

Onigiri are Japanese rice balls, usually stuffed with a flavoring, or with ingredients mixed into the rice. Myoga is a popular addition to onigiri. Cook sushi rice, mix with salt, shredded myoga, some toasted sesame seeds and optionally a little cooked diced salmon. Form the rice into balls with your hands, or use a mold.

The slightly oniony flavor of myoga goes very well with the seasoned rice, and the mild ginger provides an aromatic note.

How do you eat myoga?

Myoga can be eaten either raw or cooked in several different ways.

The flower buds can be pickled either alone or with other vegetables and eaten as a refreshing side dish or palate cleanser.

Other ways of cooking with myoga include shredding it and using in salads or mazegohan, eating it with sushi, or deep frying in tempura.

What does myoga pair with?

Myoga pairs well with a lot of different savory dishes. It is a very good garnish for seafood dishes, especially sashimi, and can also be used in sushi. It is used as a seasoning for rice, in mazegohan, often together with miso, sesame and shiso.

What flavors go well with myoga?

Sumiso sauce, made from sweetened miso, vinegar, and sansho leaves (from the Japanese mountain pepper plant), goes well with myoga. The peppery flavor of the sansha and the umami of the miso combine very pleasingly with the gingery onion notes of myoga.

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Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

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Caroline first opened the doors to her own apartment in Berlin to guests, which was soon sold out. She then became the head chef of Muse Berlin, Prenzlauer Berg, for eight years, renowned for “international comfort food.”