Shooting forth

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 May, 2012, 12:00am

Myoga is often called ginger flower or ginger shoots, but it doesn't come from the same plant as the pale tan-coloured, spicy-sweet rhizome used in Asian cuisines. Myoga, or zingiber mioga, is botanically related to the ginger-root plant, but the parts eaten are the shoots and unopened flower buds, both of which are often pickled and sliced (or shredded). Occasionally, a whole flower will be used to garnish a dish, but you're not really expected to eat it - it would be a large, rather tough mouthful.

The myoga plant is said to be easy to grow, even in a pot on a windowsill. Myoga has a delicately crisp texture. When sliced open, the flower bud looks similar to endive, although with a purple-reddish hue, rather than white and pale green.

Myoga shoots are served with Japanese noodles and miso soup, and they can be rolled with rice, seaweed and other ingredients to make maki sushi. The shoots and whole flower buds can be pickled with Japanese rice vinegar, sugar and rice wine.

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