Ika Sansai

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We just brought back Ika Sansai.

One of my favorite dishes from back in the Hideko and Taisan days is Ika Sansai which is a little salad made from squid and chewy vegetables supposedly found in the mountains but not cultivated. Things like edible mushrooms ,various leafs, the soft parts of bamboo, stems and fern shoots. The taste is savory with a hint of vinegar and the ocean. What I’m really focused on now is the mountain vegetables. In the novel I’m reading Miyamoto Mushasi has lived through the battle of Sekigahara. Unfortunately he had been fighting for the wrong side and is now trying not to get captured by Tokugawa’s samurai. He wanted to get back to his home town and tell his best friends mom that her son wasn’t dead. The son had hooked up with an older farmers widow after the battle and is to drunk and comfortable to want to return home. His decision to not return home has the consequence of jilting his betrothed and leaving his family with no male heir. The mom is hacked and blames Musashi for her sons indiscretions.Calling the guard she wants him dead and now he must flee into the mountains and lay low. He’s surviving on raw bird meat and mountain vegetables.

I borrowed this from wiki because I like to imagine his what his daily subsistence would be like.

 

Sansai (山菜) is a Japanese word literally meaning “mountain vegetables”, originally referring to vegetables that grew naturally, were foraged in the wild, and not grown and harvested from fields. However, in modern times, the distinction is somewhat blurred, as some sansai such as warabihave been successfully cultivated.[1] For example, some of the fern shoots such as bracken (Fiddlehead) and zenmai shipped to market are farm-grown.

They are often sold pre-cooked in water, and typically packaged in plastic packs in liquid. The fern shoots warabi (bracken), fuki stalks in sticks, and mixes which may contain the above-mentioned combined with baby bamboo shoots, mushrooms, etc., are available in retail supermarkets, and even in ethnic foodstores in the US.

Sansai are often used as ingredients in shōjin ryōri, or Buddhist vegetarian cuisine.

Sansai include:

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