Ohitashi Spinach

As the word Ohitashi means “soaked” translated from Japanese, Ohitashi refers to the culinary art of soaking ingredients in soup stock, which is applied to give foods a juicy texture. In its simplicity, Ohitashi spinach is symbolic of what makes the Japanese cuisine so iconic. In Japan, it is often served as an appetizer. 

Spinach is amongst the most common spring delicacies. As spring is the season of light foods and fresh vegetables, we introduce this recipe to show how well light shoyu can harmonise with the flavours of the spring time. With only a few additional ingredients, the spinach is transformed into an exquisite dish while its natural flavor is highlighted. 

Ingredients

  • 300 g Spinach 
  • 10 g Usukuchi
  • 5 g Mirin
  • 1 piece of Kombu/dried Seaweed 
  • A few drops of Sesame Oil 
  • Roasted Sesame Seeds 
  • Pinch of salt 

Preparation

First, put 120 ml of water into a small saucepan with the kombu (optionally, use dry seaweed) and slowly bring it to a boiling temperature until the dry kombu or seaweed has totally expanded. Turn the heat down and add the mirin and the usukuchi to it and mix everything well.

Then, boil a pot of water for the spinach and add a pinch of salt . After rinsing the spinach, place it in the pot with the stem side facing the bottom of the pot. Cook the spinach until it is tender and soft. Once it is cooked, quickly place the spinach into a bowl with cold water (ideally, add ice cubes to the water) and let it suddenly cool down. This ensures a crisp and elastic texture. 

As soon as it is cool, take the spinach out of the bowl and squeeze out the water. This will remove the bitterness of the spinach. Cut the spinach into 4 cm long pieces. Before placing the spinach bunches in a casserole dish, squeeze the water out one more time. Pour the sauce over the spinach, place it in the fridge for one hour to let it soak. 

After soaking, drizzle the sesame oil over the spinach and garnish everything with the roasted sesame seeds. 

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