I absolutely love chrysanthemum greens, or Shungiku in Japanese, but they can be a bit overly vegetal tasting for some people which is understanding. My husband Chris says its like eating soap, so I can imagine it’s quite similar to how some people feel about cilantro. Still, you’re missing out! Shungiku goes great in soups, stir fries or even raw in a salad. Here is a quick recipe for Shungiku goma-ae, blanched shungiku in a sesame dressing. Super easy to make and goes great as a side dish!
Serves about 2 as a side
1 large bunch of Shungiku, leaves torn off and stems discarded, about 3-4 loose cups of leaves. We feed our stems to our chickens. They’re total Asian chickens.
1/4 Onion, Sliced very finely
4T roasted Sesame Seeds, Freshly dry roasted in a pan is best but pre-roasted is fine.
1T Soy Sauce
1T Oil, Sesame preferred but Canola or even Olive is ok!
Blanch your shungiku leaves in boiling water for about 30 seconds. They will instantly wilt and the total amount will significantly begin to reduce in size. Drain them, save the water for watering your plants, then plunge into cold water and let them sit there to cool.
While the shungiku is cooling, make your dressing. Put about half the sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle and grind until they are halfway to a paste. Then add the soy sauce, sugar, and the rest of the sesame seeds until well blended. The second batch of sesame seeds should only be half pulverized. You could use a small blender for this, but as with any spices or seeds, the full flavors are released when you grind, baby, grind.
Drain your cooled shungiku and, again, save the water for your plants. Aunties waste not want not. Squeeze as much water as you possibly can with your hands. You will be amazed (and perhaps disappointed) how much they have reduced down. You will likely only end up with the amount the size of a tennis ball at most. Carefully loosen up the ball of shungiku and place into a bowl. Add the slived raw onion and mix together roughly. Then little by little add the dressing to your taste, although you should use more than half the dressing you made. Its better to be sparing so you don’t overwhelm the shungiku or onion flavor. You can always add more. Use your hands to carefully mix the dressing in as it’s quite gloopy and you want to completely coat the onions and greens without tearing them. Shape the mixture into a cute little mound in a cute little plate and enjoy your cute little meal!